by Mackenzie Hurlbert
Jeff Roth started iTech361, a phone and tablet accessory brand, in El Paso, Texas, five years ago. Since then, Roth’s hard work, strategic marketing, and constant networking have fostered iTech361’s growth into a successful and nationwide brand. Roth, president and CEO of iTech361, started out in the closeout business. His first company, RC70, sells health and beauty products such as hairdryers and flatirons at prices below closeout.
Through the relationships he built in China, Roth was able to start his second company, iTech361, about five years ago. “I have always been lucky and worked hard. At the right time, things just seemed to come together for me,” he said. iTech361’s products include a range of iPhone, iPad, and other Apple-compatible chargers as well as accessories for Androids. “We pretty much carry the whole range,” Roth said. “We have the newest, micro USB 3.0, which is for the Galaxy Notes. We stay on top of what is new.”
While Roth imports his products from China, he refuses to settle on quality. “I could go to China and save pennies on cords or in the manufacturing process. Nobody sees what is inside of the product. Nobody can tell the quality when looking at it from the outside. We just try to be honest,” Roth said. “It is not much more expensive, so we put in the resources to make a quality product and sell it at very much the same price that a lot of the guys who make a lower quality product sell theirs.” This focus on quality has been one of the integral factors in iTech361’s success. “We have gotten into quite a few of the convenience stores because the guys before us had a lower quality product,” Roth said. “There were a lot of returns and the stores got tired of it. They tested my product against their current product and were happy with the results. They realized I was not just saying it was quality. We were really following through with what we said.”
“We are in Giant, Gabriel Brothers, 7-11, Kent Kwik, Circle K, Walgreens on a store-by-store basis, and we have been in Toys R Us,” said Roth. “We just keep putting our name out there, meeting the right people who have the right connections, and growing the business.” iTech361’s marketing also spurred growth and a nationwide reputation for the brand. “Initially when I started, to be one hundred percent honest, I was one of the guys who went over to China for very inexpensive products with not-so-nice packaging,” Roth said. “I learned to build a brand, spend money on research, and listen to people who know more in that area. We have been able to grow from there.” Roth admitted that iTech361 struggled to find initial funding. “It was tough to have the money to get started,” Roth said, adding that financial stability was necessary if the company was going to make mistakes, as every startup does, and recover. “We were lucky to get a little investment from friends and family to get started, and we have been lucky to have had the good problem of growing too fast.”
Roth described his challenge of finding funding from the bank, and explained that banks want a track record or similar proof of growth and success. “They want to know that you are capable of running a business, not just for a minute, but that you can keep going.” While iTech361 is currently based in Sunland Park, New Mexico, Roth hopes to move the company into San Diego next year. His advice for other startups is to be persistent: “Do not give up or rush through anything. Nobody makes it on a clean shot without any issues. You just have to take it and keep on going.”
240 Derby Ave Sunland Park, NM 88063