Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

August 25, 2013

Mid-Michigan teen's invention takes off

DELTA TOWNSHIP — A year ago, Max Fata, of Delta Township, was about to be a 15-year-old sophomore at Lansing Catholic Central High School with an idea for a customizable case for a smartphone.

The resulting product, the Erase Case, made from a special hard plastic, is used with permanent markers to allow the owner to create an individual design and a solvent that returns the case to its original white color when the owner tires of the design.

Using seed money he earned from an eight slot pop can vending machine, he found a manufacturer and developed a Website. Initially working from his parents’ garage, Fata packaged and sold the phone case, making his first sale in late August 2012.

“When I got my first big sale of 200 units, that’s when I realized this is really going to work,” he said.

Today, Fata is about to be a 16-year-old junior at Catholic Central with an office in Delta Township, two part-time employees, two lawyers to advise him, tax filings to worry about and gross sales adding up to thousands of dollars each week.

“We had one week we did $9,000,” he said. “It was a really good week.”

He has expanded his line, which originally only sold cases for the iPhone 4, to include cases for the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy phone, the iPad, the iPad mini and the iPod Touch.

Fata is hoping to have his Erase Case on the shelves in Wal-Mart, and is entered in a competition to choose new products.

Fans of the Erase Case can vote for him at getontheshelf.walmart.com

The cases themselves are manufactured in China, and the packaging for the cases, markers and solvent is made in California.

“We bring it here, and have guys come in and assemble it,” he said. “Put them together, and then we ship them out.”

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