Mad Town Phone Sales

Austin White-Pentony Owner of Mad Town Phone Sales Purpose Mad Town Phone Sales was founded with the purpose of increasing consumer confidence while shopping online for used cell phones by providing the customers in the U.S. and all around the world with an unmatched level of service. (2011, Origin In mid-2010, after being quoted $200 by Apple to fix the cracked screen on my iPhone, I decided to take on the screen repair myself. With a suction cup, screwdriver, and the help of a YouTube video, I was able to replace the screen within an hour. A few months later, I realized that I would need to find a way to pay for college given the harsh economic times and my parents’ jobs in state government and real estate. So, I started purchasing beat up iPhones with the hope of turning a profit. With a fair amount of success, I gained some confidence, and since then, my business has purchased hundreds of cell phones locally, repaired them if needed, and sold them worldwide through eBay. Innovation I’ve shown innovation in three key areas. First, from the beginning, I’ve developed several ways to verify that I am not purchasing stolen phones. I require all people that I buy from to sign a legal contract saying that the property is not lost or stolen. Second, I have made it my number one priority to instill confidence in my customers. Buyers want fast and free shipping, generous return policies, and brutally honest descriptions. By offering a 14-day return policy, a promise to ship goods in less than 24 hours, and by providing the most detailed descriptions with well-lit, close-up photos, I have received higher buyer feedback ratings and fewer returns. All in all, my buyers are happier, I’ve sold more phones, and my reputation on eBay has remained strong. The final core of innovation is in my packaging. I have long been a fan of the exquisite, stress-free packaging that Apple uses for their products. I thought to myself, a huge part of the buyer experience is when they open up the packaging and hold the device for the very first time. Why not improve this experience? I’ve worked hard to make the unboxing process simple and enjoyable. Buyers have rejoiced. Strategy My strategy is simple. Buy phones, fix phones, sell phones, and ship phones. I purchase the phones locally in Madison, Wisconsin because the market is smaller and prices are lower. I buy all types of phone from Androids to iPhones. If the phone has a problem, I will fix it. I post the phones with the most detailed descriptions and close-up photos on my eBay store where millions of customers shop. I price the phones aggressively and offer to ship them around the globe at a very low price. Free shipping is offered to bring in more customers. One-Day shipping is offered for $9.99, a price that you will not find elsewhere. Moreover, I respond to most customer emails in less than one hour. Once my items sell, I immediately provide tracking information and always ship within 24 hours. Finally, if the customer isn’t happy, I send them a prepaid return label to eliminate stress. I’ve learned that if the buyer isn’t happy, there is no way for me to be happy. Once the buyer is happy, I can say I’ve accomplished something. Company's growth since inception Since its start in January 2011, I have conducted over $52,000 in sales. My profits have soared to $17,000. I’ve seen monthly sales increase by 28%. I’ve reached over 200 customers largely around the USA and increasingly around the globe. Successes One of my biggest accomplishments has been achieving a top-rated seller status on eBay. This is an achievement that less than 1% of eBay sellers reach and the requirements to achieve this status are very stringent. I’ve maintained a 3.95 GPA all while running a $52,000 business at the age of 17. Finally, I have developed a valuable set of cell phone repair skills and I improved upon them after seeking out a professional mentor at a local cell phone repair company. Obstacles It’s a fact of business; you are bound to encounter struggles. My main obstacle is dealing with unhappy buyers. I always make it a priority to help out my unsatisfied customers, even if I am not at fault. If someone is not happy with a product, I’ll take it back. It’s not worth it to let one angry buyer shatter my online reputation for excellent service. Future Looking forward, I hope to continue to expand my business as I continue to study in college. I’ve set a goal of $300,000 in sales for 2012. The cell phone market looks strong and I hope to grasp even more of it. Expansion plan With college coming, many of my friends will be going to universities out of state. After training them, I will have an established network with people buying phones for me in multiple states. I am going to test this plan in early 2012 with a friend currently attending school in Minnesota before I roll it out on multiple college campuses. I also plan on designing a website where people make cash by sending me their used phones from across the nation. This needs to be something that I research heavily for I would need to build an extreme amount of online trust and there are other legal aspects, as well. Company's long-term vision In the long term, I will move away from eBay and towards my own online marketplace. I also see most of my inventory coming from people around the nation. They will use my website to get instant quotes, they’ll ship their phones to me and get paid right away. Other relevant information This business was 100% my idea, started with my money, run on my time, with no parent involvement, whatsoever.

  • Industry: Retail
  • Year Started: 2010
  • Organization Type: For-Profit
  • # of Employees: 1 ( as of Jan 1, 2012)

Austin White-Pentony

2012 Wisconsin Young Entrepreneur of the Year. $300,000 projected 2012 revenue.

  • Age: 23
  • Ethnicity: Caucasian