'We never simply slap a logo on a case': An inside look at iPhone accessory fashionistas CASETiFY

CASETiFY cases
(Image credit: CASETiFY)

CASETiFY accessories are popular with iMore staff: we’ve previously included them in many accessory roundups and reviewed CASETiFY iPhone cases, such as their Impact Case, Leather Case, and Mirror Case. Bold and colorful, they help an iPhone stick out from the crowd — often flying in the face of Apple's own demure handset stylings. So what makes the company, as at home with glitter-filled cases as it is cult anime collaborations, tick?

I recently had the opportunity to meet some of the CASETiFY team at their office in LA and learn more about the company, and to find out more about what makes CASETiFY products stand out in a crowded market.

"We really go out of our way to provide a canvas for self-expression," explains Beatrix Wong, the head of New Markets and E-commerce at CASETiFY. 

"That means a lot of different things, such as partnering with hundreds of artists that come up with unique designs. It also means providing customization options as well as different colors. We’re like a candy shop where consumers can find anything they could imagine. Most other tech accessory brands limit themselves to easier, monocolor offerings that facilitate their operations.”

CASETiFY cases

(Image credit: CASETiFY)

I asked about how they conjure up so many different designs, whether they outsource all of the designs to artists or utilize an in-house design team. 

“It’s a combination of both," says Wong. "On the one hand, we have a very strong team of talented designers that come up with a lot of the choices and customization options that you see in our platform. 

"We also invite hundreds of recognized artists and creatives such as David Shrigley, Krink, and many others, to contribute their own designs to our platform in exchange for a commission. It’s a great way of supporting their art too. We also work alongside the creative teams from the hundreds of IPs we collaborate with in the CASETiFY Co-Lab program for the drops that have become so popular!”

The Co-Lab program, which is a partnership with artists, is a big part of CASETiFY’s appeal. Your iPhone case can basically be an art print you carry around with you. Wong explained how the artists are paid for their work. 

“Co-Labs at CASETiFY can be thought of as IPs. We have our own business agreements with the likes of Lucasfilm, Warner Bros., Disney, and others. When it comes to artists that are interested in contributing their designs to our platform, we have a program called 'CASETiFY Artists' where they can provide their designs in exchange for a set commission per purchase. This has become a new stream of income for some of the artists, as well as a sign of recognition for being a part of our creative platform of self-expression.”

CASETiFY cases

(Image credit: CASETiFY)

One of our earliest and most successful Co-Labs was with DHL!

Beatrix Wong, CASETiFY

Branded partnerships that CASETiFY has with popular IPs like Disney, Marvel, Barbie, One Piece, and many more, make up a huge part of the business. But though the sheer number of branded cases may make getting the licenses seem easy, it's anything but.

“Our yearly calendar for the Co-Lab program is absolutely bustling," says Wong. 

"We receive requests from our fans to collaborate with so many different IPs that we look at it with at least one or two years' perspective. It’s a very complex process that involves business negotiations, but at the forefront, an intense detailed creative vision and execution that is able to truly bring a storyline to life that fans care about. 

"We mostly collaborate with fashion houses, movie celebrities, big franchises such as Star Wars, animation, and basically any organization you can think of that is part of popular culture. One of our earliest and most successful Co-Labs was with DHL!”

So, what makes a CASETiFY design a CASETify design? 

“When it comes to our Co-Labs, we never simply ‘slap a logo on a case’. Every drop is carefully brainstormed from a creative perspective with the authors of the IP and we take the approach of ‘bringing a story to life’ through all of our designs that fans can fully resonate with. 

"At the end of the day, we are doing something very serious, which is bringing to actual life (in the sense of physical products) stories that mean the world to many people out there. We want to make sure we deliver justice to the awesomeness of the plots, songs, and content each story represents, blowing our fans minds and even challenging the notion of how a tech accessory should or could look like when made in collaboration with shows, movies, and pop culture,” she responded.

CASETiFY cases

(Image credit: CASETiFY)

Wong told me about current trends CASETiFY is seeing, as well as what they predict is going to be big in the future. 

“When it comes to collaborations, this year we have seen the strongest interest in our Evangelion drop. We know how iconic this anime is and we went above and beyond to make the collection truly special," enthuses Wong. 

"There are character accessories, Eva robot cases in the original colors represented in the series, as well as the masterpiece of the collection, the AirPods case in the shape of an EVA-01. We see it as a limited edition collectible accessory, not necessarily something that would be used every day, but more for special occasions or as a fan display. 

"We even built a 5-foot tall version of it and displayed it in one of the most iconic districts in Tokyo. It was truly special for fans and tremendously popular amongst all of our consumers. Big anime collaborations are for sure a strong trend we are seeing this year, but it’s far from being the only one. With the launch of our accessories for the Galaxy Z Flip5, we have seen consumers starting to have a strong preference for sleek cases in bright colors. The trend of foldable phones is here to stay and we’ll keep investing in the best protective, but also stylish solutions for them.”

Obviously a case needs to be more than just attractive. I asked Wong to tell me about how CASETiFY cases are tested for durability. 

“We take testing very seriously," reassures Wong. "There are three metrics that are especially important. One of them, for example, is the Military Grade Standard level test. 

"There are a series of predefined tests that end up resulting in a certain level, which we follow in our phone cases. They involve withstanding a high number of falls from different angles and altitudes. For instance, our Bounce Case, one of our most protective cases, was tested to withstand over 156 drops on all angles and falls from up to 21.3 feet in a single drop. The test results determined a 6x Military Grade Standard.”

CASETiFY cases

(Image credit: CASETiFY)

I recently wrote about the accessories you’ll be able to buy for Apple’s upcoming Vision Pro. CASETiFY is amongst the companies that have announced accessories for this as yet unreleased product. I asked Wong how CASETiFY’s accessories might improve upon the Apple Vision Pro experience. 

“The accessories we have planned for the Apple Vision Pro will improve the product in two ways," Wong predicts. 

"For instance, as one of the most premium products from Apple and its apparent weight, we do see the need for protection from any and all falls. As with most tech accessories, we are confident that consumers will also be on the lookout for accessories that make it look great and premium, which we feel our upcoming collection will definitely be able to deliver.”

The one major criticism that I have about CASETiFY’s cases is that they are quite expensive. While certain models are cheaper on Amazon, if you want the full selection of CASETiFY cases, you’ll have to order directly from CASETiFY. Wong defends the company's pricing model, discussing how it ensures fair pay for its artist collaborators.

“There are cheaper alternatives in the market, but the price that CASETiFY has considers everything that goes into making a great product that consumers will definitely be satisfied with," says Wong. "We work with artists, we collaborate with great IPs, we develop proprietary materials that the case is made out of, we also upcycle plastic from old phone cases donated by our users and make new ones, which can be fully customized and are made to order. 

"While we know it has a premium positioning in the market, the general feedback we get is that it’s a worthwhile purchase. As per Amazon, all prices in our Amazon store are consistent with the ones in our website. That being said, we have a small and seasonal amount of Amazon-exclusive products that have their own unique price.” 

Note that there are some CASETiFY knockoffs out there — I’ve seen them in the wild. But genuine CASETiFY products come with a QR code in the packaging for verification.

With the iPhone 15 lineup and new Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 styles coming out this month, we’re looking forward to what CASETiFY is releasing to protect and enhance Apple’s latest designs. At the very least, we know they won't be boring.

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.