Rutgers student designs RooPouch cell phone wallet
The ubiquity of online resources has made it easier than ever for aspiring entrepreneurs to start a web business. Student startups have become synonymous with coding.
But Nick DeNuzzo, a senior majoring in human resources, took a different approach. He founded RooPouch Wallet, which actually sells — believe it or not — a tangible, physical product: A slim adhesive wallet that sticks to the back of your smartphone.
“I hated carrying around my George Costanza-looking wallet and iPhone in a big, bulky case. It was like carrying two big bricks in my pockets.” DeNuzzo said. “Instead of carrying around a wallet, you can just take this.”
The RooPouch uses 3M-type adhesive to stick to the back of any phone. Once applied, the RooPouch isn’t going anywhere unless you want it to. DeNuzzo demonstrated the wallet’s durability by holding his phone by the back of the RooPouch, aggressively bouncing it up and down.
The wallet, which is currently available in black and white, is made to hold up to four cards but it’s capable of holding up to eight. DeNuzzo’s personal RooPouch had at least six cards in it.
Despite the capacity for multiple cards, DeNuzzo stressed that carrying fewer cards doesn’t mean they’ll fall out. Even one card stayed in the wallet despite his (and our) best attempts to shake it out.
In its current form, the RooPouch is made out of nylon. Earlier versions used a silicon-based material that, DeNuzzo said, was significantly less durable and reliable.
DeNuzzo is confident that his current iteration is more reliable than the previous one.
“The first model was glued together on the inside, so even though it looked okay at first, after using it for a while the glue would start to stick to the cards,” DeNuzzo said.
A common rumor DeNuzzo has combated is that smartphones ruin the magnetic strips on credit cards. DeNuzzo assures customers that this hasn’t been an issue.
“I haven’t had a single problem with that, honestly. I’ve experienced no problems in my testing,” he said. Nevertheless, DeNuzzo offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for any unsatisfied customers.
Competition is fierce and there are many products similar to RooPouch, according to DeNuzzo.
“But for the same convenience, other products will cost upward of $20,” said DeNuzzo. “RooPouch is a flat $10, and you can even get a 15 percent discount, which equates to free shipping, if you share it on social media like Facebook or Twitter.”
DeNuzzo currently ships all of his orders from the local UPS store, which has led to some interesting encounters.
“I bring in several packages of the same size every day so it’s a little awkward when the workers ask me what I’m doing,” said DeNuzzo, grinning as he spoke. “Especially when I recently fulfilled orders from Canada and Norway.”
Competition and shipping did not compare to the other challenges that DeNuzzo faced getting his product manufactured. Language barriers and quality control were just two of the numerous issues.
“Finding the right manufacturer is important,” said DeNuzzo, who learned the hard way after originally receiving shipments from suppliers where 40 percent of the products had defects.
“I realized that as long as you’re patient and take the time, you can find someone good.”
DeNuzzo currently sells his wallets through an online store at RooPouchWallet.com.
He has already sold more than 30 in less than a month since launching, but stresses that at the end of the day RooPouch is a hobby.
“This is not a get rich quick scheme,” said DeNuzzo. “Right now this is profitable and equates to a monthly car payment.”
The RooPouch Wallet founder encourages other aspiring entrepreneurs not to be fearful of manufacturing tangible products.
“At first I was afraid of physical products, but what I realized is that demonstrating a physical product is much simpler. People can hold it in their hands and know what it is they’re getting into,” DeNuzzo said. “Now that the product is finished, all I need to focus on is shipping.”