Juliana is back with another Book Craft feature. Today is she talking with Rich Neeley from Rich Neeley Designs.
FVBR: Welcome to Fiction Vixen. Tell us a little about yourselves and what it is that you do.
RND: My name is Rich Neeley, and my wife Brenna and I live in Southern California where we grew up. I’ve always desired to start something and make it my own. Less than a year after we got married we started a small business making iPhone and iPod charging docks from new and vintage books. It’s called Rich Neeley Designs, and I recently made the move to full time.
FVBR: How did you come up with the idea for “handmade book chargers”? Did it start with you wanting to make something with books, or with you wanting to find a creative way for people to dock their iPhone/iPod/etc.?
RND: Last year we got married and Brenna’s books took over the decoration. Then, in the aftermath, she had piles of leftover books that didn’t make the cut. This inspired me to create the product. I had a version of the idea for a long time, but I didn’t do anything with it. After the wedding I had the time to think and stacks of books to work on. We both had iPhones – it just sort of happened.
FVBR: Why *book* chargers? Do you both read a lot?
RND: Brenna graduated with a degree in Comparative Literature and has had a passion for books since she learned to read. She reads anything, and loves it. I usually stick to non-fiction, like Tim Ferris, or Malcolm Gladwell. Most recently I read the Steve Jobs biography, which was great.
FVBR: How do you decide which books to use? Are there certain prerequisites – size, cover design, etc?
RND: (Brenna) I do all the book hunting. It’s hands down my favorite part. They need to be hardcover, but after that, anything goes. I usually pick new books I personally love, like Pride and Prejudice and The Hobbit. Vintage are even more fun to look for – old cookbooks, novels, non-fiction – I just sort of grab whatever catches my eye. My goal is to keep adding titles all the time.
FVBR: Technically-speaking, how does it work?
RND: A standard charging cable is securely (and permanently) installed into the book cover, and the cord emerges from the back. The book is sealed up to create a stable base for the device. You just plug the USB into your wall adapter or straight into the computer, and charge and sync away!
FVBR: What are some of your favorite books? Favorite authors?
Rich: One of my favorite authors is Ernest Hemingway.
Brenna… well, Brenna likes a lot of authors. Tolkien, Austen, Cynthia Voight, Steven R. Lawhead, Patrick Rothfuss, Jules Verne, A.A. Milne, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, and John Milton. Those were off the top of her head, I’m sure the list goes on and on (and on).
FVBR: Favorite quote or saying?
RND: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde
FVBR: If you could go on an all-expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why, what attracts you or “calls to you” about that place?
RND: The Amalfi Coast in Italy. Villas, pasta, sunshine, wine, and the ocean. A-mazing.
FVBR: What are other things you’ve made using books?
RND: Our wedding centerpieces were made from books, as well as the altar decorations. We’ve had a few more ideas, but have been too busy to work them out just yet. At home for ourselves we did a succulent planter out of a book, and used some spines on the fronts of storage bins to make them super-secret bins.
FVBR: What are some ideas, tips, or “tricks of the trade” you can give our readers about reusing old books in a creative way?
RND: Think about something you already have, and try to “re-see” it, but with bookness in mind. Or, alternatively, hit up a garage sale (or your own garage) for books, get out an Exacto knife,start cutting and see what happens.
FVBR: Have you ever read a romance book?
RND: I hesitate to say it, but no, I haven’t. I’d love to hear some of your reader’s suggestion for a romance title we could add to our collection of new books.
FVBR: Thank you so much for chatting with us today!
Images posted with permission.