As many of you know, I’m the Creative Director of a business called ExchangeMyPhone. Jeremy is the CEO. The business buys old phones from people throughout America and gives them a second life. We founded ExchangeMyPhone together back in May 2011. Today we have a team of fantastic people working with us and we have big dreams for where we want to take the business moving forward. But how did it all begin? Why did we decide to start a phone buyback business?
It is not easy to pinpoint the genesis for anything. Jeremy had always been interested in reuse (he grew up in the bookshelves of his father’s used book business) and he’s been entrepreneurial for as long as he has been walking.
When I first met Jeremy, he told me how he saw tech reuse as the way forward. Everyone we knew had a drawer full of our cell phones that they didn’t know what to do with. He saw a solution and was excited to take all that he had learnt from the family business and put it to good use in a new field. I was pulled magnetically into his orbit.
In many ways, that was the catalyst that started ExchangeMyPhone, but there was something far more personal that kept us growing the business and kept us moving forward when times were tough.
On either side of the Atlantic, we had grown up hating the phone. On the phone our stutters were up against some pretty powerful odds. On the phone all our communication rested on our voices, and sometimes that wasn’t easy. We faced hang ups and were accused of being prank callers as we blocked on our names and sent hot, desperate breaths down the line.
When we met, we were changing the way we saw our stutters and we wanted to change the way we saw the dreaded phone. ExchangeMyPhone became a way for us to celebrate phones and turn them into vehicles for good.
Not only could customers keep their old phones out of the landfill, but they could be paid for something they no longer wanted or needed. We could turn trash into treasure and find a new home for each old cell phone.
But we wanted those old phones to do more, to really make a positive difference, so we launched our ‘checkout for charity’ option. Anyone who sold their phone through ExchangeMyPhone could choose to keep the money or donate their payout to any of the 765,000 registered non-profits in America.
Today, the phones that we once hated are being transformed into donations for charities across the country, they are arriving in new homes and making new faces smile, they are giving people a little money in their pocket to be spent on something wonderful and they are being kept out of the landfill.