In this edition of our Entrepreneur Spotlight, we’re thrilled to showcase one of our remarkable Outsourced CFO clients, Simple Cell, and highlight its co-founder, Nick Skelly. As a pioneering re-commerce company, Simple Cell has forged strong partnerships with manufacturers, national distributors, and big-box retailers. Their mission is to maximize the value and extend the life cycle of customer returns, overstock items, and end-of-life products. With its cutting-edge e-commerce and logistics platforms, Simple Cell is revolutionizing how products find their way into the hands of those who genuinely need them.
1. What inspired you to start Simple Cell?
In 2011, while working at Verizon, I saw tons of waste generated from consumers upgrading their cell phones every 1-2 years. The waste typically came from the old phone, extra charger, cable, battery, and headset that typically came with a new device. Back in 2011, online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon were beginning to grow rapidly, and I saw a demand for preowned cell phones and the accessories that came with the devices. This combination of excess supply and online demand inspired the start of Simple Cell and help reduce waste while fulfilling a need in the market for more affordable cell phones and accessories.
2. Can you tell us about the journey of founding and building the company?
It has been quite the ride. What started as a 2-person operation out of my basement quickly grew year over year. By 2012 we had outgrown my home and moved into our first office space. We had to learn everything on the fly, from staffing, logistics, customer service, eCommerce, purchasing, etc. There were many late nights and long weekends. Over the years, we have grown steadily year over year by providing a value add to many national retailers, distributors, and manufacturers for returns and overstock that would traditionally be discarded or disposed of. Today we employ a team of over 70 people who are responsible for getting over 3,000 orders out daily to our customers.
3. The re-commerce Market continues to Rise – what is behind this boom?
Consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of buying new products and are looking for ways to reduce their impact. That, combined with the rise of online shopping, has made buying and selling used goods easier than ever. It has made it more convenient for consumers to find the products they are looking for and has also helped to drive down prices.
4. Why should one consider re-commerce first when purchasing?
The re-commerce market is a growing and vibrant industry. It offers several benefits to both consumers and the environment. If you are looking for a way to save money, reduce your environmental impact or find quality, affordable products, the re-commerce market is a great place to start.
5. How did you come up with the vision, “Bringing Savings to Customers”?
We consider all the partners we work with customers, not just the 3,000+ customers we ship orders to daily. While we are focused on bringing a lower-cost option to purchasers of our product, we also are focused on maximizing the recovery value for our vendors by combining excellent products with fast shipping, generous return and warranty options, and top-of-the-industry customer service.
6. What do you love most about your team?
Our adaptability over the years, we have had to adapt and change many times. Our industry is fast-paced, and you will get left behind if you don’t adapt. Our team has always been able to adjust and make the changes needed to continue our growth.
7. What’s the best advice you have received as a founder?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a part of the entrepreneurial journey. Don’t let it discourage you. Learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward.
About Evergreen Advisors CFO Practice:
Evergreen Advisors’ CFO Practice specializes in managing the accounting and financial reporting needs of emerging and fast-growth companies throughout their life cycle. We work with emerging growth companies to build infrastructure through to later-stage companies that need a subject matter expert and capital market expertise. Evergreen Advisors’ CFO team works as a senior member of your management team to provide strategic guidance and oversee day-to-day operations.