Leaping Into The Unknown
I never really liked bulky cases. When Steve Jobs announced the iPhone, I was in complete awe. It wasn’t until the 3rd generation I finally got my hands on the iPhone, and I never looked back.
Phones are very personal to us, they help us maintain our modern day social connections. We store our secrets, thoughts, ideas, stories, laughs, cries, friends, selfies, first steps, first snow of the winter, poop emoji, and that angry email saved in draft that we never dared to send. It’s an extension of ourselves, it’s part of us.
The iPhone is a pretty beautiful device, but it’s a pretty expensive beautiful device. One of the reasons I never did use any case is because I found them to be bulky and heavy. If I could feel the phone in my jeans, it wasn’t for me.
I’m one of those people who gets the 2 years contract and only upgrades to the S version. You can imagine by end of the 2nd year the iPhone would look terrible. I wanted to avoid this when I got the brand new iPhone 6s 64GB version, it’s a beautiful thing.
Otterbox type of cases were never in my list, I mean, I’m not Bear Grylls or Indiana Jones, I probably won’t start taking lessons in free running or skateboarding any time soon! Bulky cases weren’t for me, I wanted to feel the iPhone’s form factor, but I wanted something that would protect it from everyday use.
Searching For The Right Case
I started looking for a thin case that would protect my iPhone. The cases I was finding on eBay and Amazon weren’t for me. If I found a thin case it would have the manufacturer’s logo slapped on it. I just didn’t like that, I wanted something that was thin and unbranded, minimal.
The eBay Experience
I bought a cheap thin case from eBay and an expensive one from another website. The case I bought from eBay, after a week I realised it came from China, although the product was listed in eBay UK. My mistake was not checking where the seller was located. EBay tries really hard to hide this fact, just try to use their mobile app, and you will understand what I mean. In the end I had to wait somewhere around 3 weeks for the case to arrive in the UK from China.
The expensive one took even longer as they followed a complicated process (signing a thank you card, and they had a terrible backlog of orders as they listed cases that weren’t in stock). It was a complete nightmare.
When both cases arrived I realised I forgot something; I forgot to buy a screen protector. Sometimes I tend to place the iPhone in my pocket with my keys, not great for the screen!
My search started again to find a good screen protector. There were three main types of screen protectors; plastic, tempered glass, and full cover tempered glass, you also have the 4th option that had curved edges covering the entire iPhone screen, which was made out of tempered glass. It was mind boggling to find the right screen protector because of the huge price discrepancies between each type. In the end I bought the plastic and tempered glass screen protector.
My three weeks of frustration led me to where I am today. Surely there must be an easier solution.
The brands just want to take the money without solving the actual problem. They are there to maximise on profit, because they are funded by a VC, and the eBay sellers don’t really care at all, and hope for you not to complain because the case you bought was cheaper than chips!
I wanted to created something different, providing a complete solution without breaking the bank was the goal. Our cases are not cheap, but you’ll get value for your money, because testing, checking, improving design takes time and money. We are not here to make a quick buck and disappear tomorrow. We are here to make a great company that provides a complete solution for your phone at an affordable price.
You can read more about the eBay scam from real people from this discussion board here.
When I was in school I used to sell things on eBay, which made me familiar with buying from China. One thing about China is that the suppliers will promise you the world! It’s extremely difficult to find a good supplier and control the quality, as well as your IP.
During the process of getting the cases made, I must have ordered 25+ different cases, each costing me an average of $20, and of course the waiting time. There were some early morning starts at 4am. This didn’t faze me much, as having a young child forces a person to learn to appreciate short interval sleep very quickly!
Leftover ink from the printer.
There were lots of samples! Yet the process was very necessary and important. The product had to be right.
In the end I had to hold back on selling sublimation type cases and custom printed cases, because the quality couldn’t be guaranteed. Later on in the year we hope to set up the manufacturing process here in the UK, so that the print and sublimation process can be controlled.
But for now, we are only selling the PaperCase, SandCase, ClearShell Case and NionCase. Four different cases for four different needs. All unbranded, providing varying levels of protection for your iPhone.
Creating The Website
It was very difficult to set up the website. Getting security and customer experience correct was crucial.
Having bootstrapped the entire project, we had no money left in order to get the website done. I had to become a part time developer! P.S. big shout out to the users over at Stackoverflow, this website couldn’t have been done without their help. I did use someone from Nepal, a big thanks to him and his team.
There are lots of features yet be released, for example the referral program and better designed emails. These are some of the areas we will be correcting in the coming months.
Our goal is to provide you with the best type of cases. We won’t sell you something we wouldn’t personally use, period.
Processing and Shipping Time
If you read our FAQ page, you would have figured out that we process all orders the next day between 5-7am. That’s very early! We do this because we want to get your case to you as soon as we can. That’s BS! It’s because our son is fast asleep, and we wake up really early (plus I have to leave for my full time job around 7:15am).
For our international orders (we are UK based), we try to use the Signed & Tracked service by Royal Mail. If the service is not offered in your country by Royal Mail, we will try to use the next fastest service available. For international orders we absorb the shipping cost, as it costs £9.65 per order which is far more than the flat shipping fee ($7) we charge for all international orders. Here’s the secret; we hope you buy two cases! You’ll get 30% off if you buy 2 cases. We can discount because we save on shipping fees.
To protect the case during shipping, we use three layers of protection. Your case will be placed in a plastic bubble sleeve, then inserted into a mini cardboard box, made out of 0.5mm thick rigid cardboard paper, which will finally be inserted into a strong cardboard based 0.5mm thick paper envelope. In short, it’s extremely unlikely that your case will get damaged during shipping.
This is a Family Business, This is a Startup
We saw a problem, and we are attempting to provide a solution. We’ve faced lots of obstacles already from not finding a packaging partner (our packaging will change in few months), to struggling to find a good manufacturer for our cases. However, we are giving it a go.
We will be sharing more stories in the coming months on our blog about our continuous struggles, and hopefully some victories too!