Thursday, August 14, 2014

Introducing GoneReading a philanthropic ecommerce site + interview with founder Brad Wirz

The Reading Frenzy is proud to Partner with GoneReading a philanthropic
e-commerce site please read on to learn more about this fantastic site, the cause and how it all came to be.
Click HERE for the article from Huffington Post about GoneReading.

I’m as you know a reading fanatic my blog’s name tells it like it is, which means that many of my friends also fall into this category. Now one of the many dilemmas facing readers is gift giving. And I have the perfect solution, an ecommerce shop called Gone Reading. What’s better is that it’s a philanthropic venture they have pledged 100% after tax profits to fund reading related charities. It's a win win!

It's my pleasure to introduce to my readers the founder of GoneReading Brad Wirz who has generously agreed to answer a few questions and has given my readers their very own coupon code so be sure and use the coupon code DEBROCKS10 at the checkout for a 10% discount.
Click HERE for a link to the site, or simply click on the sidebar ad dedicated to GoneReading.

I’d also like to announce that I will dedicate one post per month to Brad to spread the Gone Reading Word and to bring my readers fabulous reading accessory choices. And every post from now on will end with one GoneReading Item showcased.

Without further ado I’d like to introduce my readers to the founder of Gone Reading, Brad Wirz.

Brad, Hi welcome to The Reading Frenzy.
Please tell my readers how Gone Reading came about.

Thanks for having me Debbie! I can actually remember the exact day that things were put into motion. I spent 20+ years in an exhausting, whirlwind of a career as a marketing executive that had me flying around the country 3-4 days each week, every week of the year. One day in February of 2010, I ended up curled in the fetal position in a hotel room in New York City. I’ll spare you the details on exactly how I got there, but needless to say I was ready for a career change. I called my wife and told her I was “done” with the industry and that within a year I would be doing something completely different, something philanthropic.

By a total coincidence I had previously committed to going on a volunteer trip to Central America. So a few weeks after my breakdown in New York, I found myself in the middle of the Honduran jungle, several hours drive from anything remotely resembling civilization. I spent close to a week working with other volunteers to help build a small library. Nothing fancy, about the size of typical Starbucks location, large enough for a few thousand books.

We learned that this would be the first library for hundreds of miles, the only such resource for hundreds of villages – most of whom had basically zero access to books, That really got me thinking about books, my own personal love of reading, and just how I could spread the magic of reading across the developing world.

It took about nine more months to formulate the plan (and to build up the nerve to actually quit my job), but that’s how GoneReading came into being.

How long has Gone Reading been around?
We launched our first e-commerce site in 2011, but looking back on it now that was really an early, early beta-test to dip our toe into the business and start experimenting. I’ve always been clear in stating that I’ve never done this before, so we made a lot of mistakes early on. I would say that GoneReading as you see it now came into being in 2012.

What are some of the projects you’re contributing to now?
We donate to two primary charitable partners in READ Global and Ethiopia Reads. I urge your readers to check them out and support them with their own charitable giving. At the end of last year we funded our first children’s library in Ethiopia (read about it here), and I anticipate we will fund a similar, if not larger, project towards the end of this year. Like a lot of retailers, we earn almost 2/3 of our annual revenue in the weeks leading up to Christmas, so we won’t know the exact scale of our 2014 giving until then, but I would anticipate it will be larger this year than last.

Brad with some friends in Honduras 

What most surprises you about your life now vs. when you were in the corporate jungle?
It’s probably the range of emotions that I now experience, even within any given day. I do miss having an IT department that I could call to swoop in and fix my technical problems. That’s one of the few things I really miss, and technology issues can be unbelievably frustrating when you run your own business. But on the other hand, GoneReading is immensely rewarding; both the donations we’re able to contribute, but also the heartfelt support we receive from people like you, Debbie, helping to spread the word, warm my heart on a daily basis. Those uplifting emotions were not daily experiences in my old career!

Tell me where you’d like Gone Reading to be in 5 years?
Our long-term goal is to earn $10 million+ in annual revenue, donating more than $1 million each year to our charitable partners. That’s where we would like to be in five years. We’re growing quickly, and our market – the 30% of adults in the U.S. that identify reading as their #1 hobby or personal interest – is thriving. Avid readers tend to do really well in their life and careers (surprise, surprise!). If we can continue to find and create great products that they want and need, I have no doubt we will get there.

Brad thank you for being my guest today.
Thank you Debbie!

Huffington Post link-

I'm also pleased to bring you my review of a couple of the GoneReading items on offer on the site.

The Jane Austen bandages at $5.99 are the perfect gift for the Austen-addict in your life click HERE for Gone Reading's entire Jane Austen gift collection.

The BookChair is reminiscent of the vintage beach chairs I used as a child, it adjusts to three different heights that makes hands free reading for either paper or e-books comfortable. At $25.99 it makes a wonderful gift for any reader or the perfect gift for yourself. It's also available in a larger size.

Please share this post and spread the word!
Thank You!