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The last year has been one of the most challenging and wonderful years of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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JC Holmes understands what is special about cracking open an old book.  He also has caught on to the new days of electronic readers, and with his wife and business partner Maha, has made the two complement each other.  Introducing: Reauthored.com,  a website that sells beautifully hand-made electronic reader and tablet cases made from real books.  They currently sell online and are going to be entering a few brick and mortar stores in the near future.  What makes the Reauthored.com cases different than other tablet cases? They are not made to look like books, they ARE real books.

JC learned the importance of quality and integrity when he ventured into a business called Vintage Prime LLC selling high-end designer bags on ebay.  He went from there to working for VAMortgageCenter.com with Maha and credits them with giving him the support and experience to go out on his own.  Now JC and Maha are working hard to get the word out about Reauthored.com and trying to get the cases in the hands of as many customers as possible.

We met with JC just over a year ago and it’s our pleasure to have the opportunity to do a follow up interview and find out how his entrepreneurial journey is progressing.

MO: Congratulations on your first year in business! Can you talk about the last year and how ReAuthored has evolved during this time?

JC: Thank you. It’s weird to think we’ve been doing this for over a year now, time really does fly. The last year has been one of the most challenging and wonderful years of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. When we first started we thought we would be making cases exclusively for the Kindle Keyboard, that they would be easy to make, and that we were ready to go to market with them. We were wrong. We’ve spent the past year listening to our customers, learning how to make them, and making improvements everywhere we can.

MO: What some of the new products that you’ve added over the last year?

JC: Since our first interview, almost everything we create and sell has changed. We still make cases for the Kindle Keyboard, but we quickly learned that we needed to offer cases for a much wider variety of devices. Our first addition was for the ipad 2 and to-date is our most popular case; from there we slowly started designing cases for the Nook, Xoom, Thrive, and all the Kindle models and now we are now going as far as designing cases before the devices are released and doing pre-orders.

MO: In our last interview it seemed that most of your initial marketing was based on a grassroots approach. Has your marketing strategy changed at all? Also, can you let us know what efforts turned out to be your most successful?

JC: Marketing strategy? I wish I were joking, but we haven’t really had what I would call a “strategy” yet. We have our cases listed for sale on reauthored.com, Etsy, and eBay, but that pretty well sums up the reach of our marketing plan to-date. For the past year we have been running almost exclusively on word-of-mouth for our sales and I believe it will almost be our most successful strategy. We know that there are a million venues and opportunities to market our cases, but our customers have done a pretty good job for us so far. We want our cases to be so unique, functional, and high-quality that they are their own billboards. Our best marketing comes from our customers though; we do our absolute best to go above and beyond for every customer and that has made all of the difference. Maybe next year we will have started advertising and I can give you an update then about our “strategy” but I think it’s going to be tough to beat the ROI of a happy customer.

MO: What has been the biggest challenge that you’ve faced during your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome it?

JC: It never crossed our minds that we would have issues making them. How hard is it to cut out a book, right? It’s nearly impossible to do accurately and the worst part was nobody had ever done it before, so we had to create ways to make them. I’m pretty sure we tried every saw ever made to cut them and every adhesive we could find to glue them before we started finding real solutions and we found most of those by good old-fashioned luck. It’s taken a year, but we think we’ve finally worked most of the bugs out of the system so that we can keep up with our orders.

MO: Have you ever used any of your customer feedback to improve or change the design of your cases?

JC: “Please help us do better” should be the tagline for ReAuthored. We make a completely different product than we did originally because of the feedback from our customers and we get that feedback because we ask for it. We don’t have a plan of how or when and we don’t survey random people, we just ask our customers and they tell us. Because of that feedback we’ve added our pull-tabs, changed how snug the device fits in the case, how we position them in the case, changed fabrics, adhesives, tools, added interior elastic straps, reworked the closure strap, and if you ask again next year, I’m confident there will be more.

MO: If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what business related advice would you give yourself?

JC: I would give myself a tutorial on how to make these things and a contact list of all of the random people that have helped us put it all together. Since I don’t have a time machine though, I can safely say that the past year has been a learning experience that I wouldn’t trade. It’s a constant struggle and we are far from our destination, but our journey is what defines us and for that reason we keep pushing forward with blind faith.

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