Interview with Riki Baker, from mendmyi.

mendmyi’s Managing Director, Riki Baker, talks to TeckComesFirst about the inspiration behind starting the company, how ColourLab smartphones are coloured, outsourcing reapirs to individuals and more.




1)    Can you introduce yourself and say what you exactly do at mendmyi every day?

I am the Managing Director here at mendmyi. Day to day I oversee the repair queue which includes all repairs and Colour lab’s which are booked in at our physical stores, mailed in from orders online and / or received through our many business contract customers. I also handle all business contracts and am here throughout most days to help the team and any customers that need help.

2)    What is the meaning behind the brand name “mendmyi”?

The meaning is quite simple. ‘mend’ is to fix. ‘my’ is that it belongs to you and the term ‘i’ initially stood for ‘iPhone’ but has since evolved to iPod, iPad and any other manufacturer / model of technology.

3)    What made you want to start the company? – Alistair Lowe

In 2007 when I first got an iPhone and jailbroke it so that it could be used in the UK I was hooked. I was the only person I knew with one. I searched high and low through friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends but couldn’t find another person with one. I felt that this little device was so special it was like a ‘once in a generation’ type of thing and I didn’t want to miss my seat on the train. I looked into learning to develop but could see quickly than new developers were springing up constantly, it would be an over saturated market. I am a qualified electronic engineer by trade, fixing electronic things is in my blood and it was this angle I decided to take. After fixing devices for friends and family I got frustrated at the level of ‘junk’ out there parts wise. I decided to fix this and give people a friendly, trustworthy company to send their devices to if they were not interested in repairing themselves.
Riki Baker of mendmyi with Stephen Fry and his customised iphone (Image Credit: EADT)

Riki Baker of mendmyi with Stephen Fry and his customised iphone (Image Credit: EADT)

4)    What is/are your biggest accomplishments?

Visiting Stephen Fry at the BBC studios to hand him a Norwich styled Colour Lab was good. Appearing on The Gadget Show for the last 2 years has been great. Exhibiting at the Gadget Show Live for the first time was my most proud achievement, seeing the company there alongside some of the industries biggest brands. The amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to exhibit at these live shows is immense.
mendmyi stand at Gadget Show Live 2012 (Image Credit: WhiteRoomMedia)

mendmyi stand at Gadget Show Live 2012 (Image Credit: WhiteRoomMedia)

5)    Where did the decision to focus on Apple products come from? – Ryan Goodman

A mixture of my own love for Apple products which has come about since my purchase of the first iPhone, before then I didn’t really like computers and I strongly believe that there is a big enough market of Apple devices to target. We have recently began taking on other manufacturers and models for repair purely because we were getting asked on a daily basis for them! We haven’t had a problem yet and look to continue to expand to many more models.

6)    How exactly do you colour smartphones in ColourLab? – Satya

The iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S are anodised. In this process the phone is stripped down to the bare aluminium shell and then placed into a titanium custom made jig. It is then run through a lengthy chemical and electrical procedure before being dyed the chosen colour. Each phone takes between around 3 hours to anodise from start to finish and then 32 hours to seal after being completed. It is a real custom procedure and we take a lot of care with each and every one of them. The service retails for £80+VAT but for the work and care that goes into it it is priced really cheaply. We are one of only 2 companies in the world that use the same anodisation technique that Apple use, other companies use chinese parts which are either electroplated (affect signal) or painted (paint wears off quicker than normal). We test these parts from time to time, i’ve got a dark blue chinese housing on my personal 5S at the moment and paint started wearing off after a few hours.

7)    What makes mendmyi stand out from other similar sites within the UK? – Ayobami Gabriel

Care, quality and trust. I have instilled values into each and every one of our engineers that they pass onto the next. if a home button is slightly misaligned or if a screw has been missed out each engineer knows they will go through the whole lengthy repair again to do it properly. If a customer calls for help and/or support someone will always be there to give them our total attention and care, no matter what the problem. Every email that lands in our inbox is replied to, no matter how small / pointless it may seem. Our customers appreciate the time and care we put into the day to day running of the company. The quality of our repairs are the highest you will receive here in the UK and from what i’ve been told the world. I know exactly where each and every one of our parts come from and I know the grade of quality that they are. Many other companies source low quality parts and try and pass them off as high quality. Many get away with it because, to be honest, it is very hard to tell with some of them! We settle for nothing but the highest quality. Every 3 months I order parts and repairs from our competitors to see the quality and service we are up against. This helps keep us ahead of the competition.
mendmyi Exhibition Stand at Gadget Show Live 2012

mendmyi Exhibition Stand at Gadget Show Live 2012

8)    How easy do you reckon Apple’s upcoming iWatch will be to repair?

We’ve seen more and more double sided adhesive/glue in recent Apple products. I have no evidence and don’t generally like to speculate but my personal opinion is that the final iWatch will be competitively priced and will be a replaceable product rather than a repairable product with lots of glue.

9)    What is the strangest piece of ‘customisation’ you’ve ever been asked for? – Gareth Bayard

We’ve been asked many strange ones but the one that always sticks out was a gentleman who had an odd orange shaded Lamborghini and wanted his macbook and iPhone to be the exact same shade of orange. The attention to detail was amazing.

10)    What’s the most difficult repair you’ve ever had to do and how long did it take?

I’ve done many complicated repairs that have taken many many hours to do but the one that is fresh to mind is researching and fixing the U2 IC. The IC is right next to the CPU. If the CPU gets too hot then the logic board becomes toast which means no more iPhone. We’ve found a way to safely replace the U2 IC without damaging the CPU now but it is a time consuming, tricky repair.

11)    Could you see yourselves producing custom logos and designs for clients in the future? – Jordan Ash

It’s something we already offer and have supplied to business clients but it’s not something that we will be offering to our retail/online customers any time soon unless the demand was very high. The process is very custom, too custom for us to do it through the website. The Colour lab is complicated enough already! I’d love for the team to share more photos of these but it wouldn’t be fair to generate interest in a product that may potentially never be available.

12)    Would you ever consider outsourcing your business to individuals that would perhaps be trained by you and complete repairs on behalf of your company in a local area?

Of course, there are lots of avenues for us to expand. I am very interested at the prospect of training engineers to work independently and remotely.  I am also excited about expanding our physical store presence. 2014 and 2015 are going to be very exciting years for us 🙂
Riki Baker, Managing Director of mendmyi (Image Credit: Twitter)

Riki Baker, Managing Director of mendmyi (Image Credit: Twitter)

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Thanks to Riki Baker for participating in this interview. Questions were chosen by both co-founders of TeckComesFirst; Purav and Usman, unless otherwise stated. Thanks to Alistair, Ryan, Satya, Ayobami, Gareth and Jordan for contributing some of the questions for this interview.

Feel free to share in the comments below what you thought of this interview as well as anything new or interesting you learnt about the company and their services.

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I’m a 23 year old Maths Graduate, who has a great passion for technology and in my spare time I make videos on YouTube to show my passion. I'm also co-admin here at TeckComesFirst and I joined this site back in January 2012.
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