CASETiFY Case Study – Are Phone Cases the Next Luxury Accessory?

CASETiFY Case Study – Are Phone Cases the Next Luxury Accessory?

At first, phone cases were plain because everyone bought them just for the sole purpose of protecting their phone from getting damaged. People only had 1 or 2 cases they used and that was it. Now, phone cases come in different colors, designs, and styles. With all the different phone cases out there, people don’t have to settle for a boring phone case. They can buy one that suits them and go as far as having multiple they can rotate between. In this way, phone cases can now protect phones while also making a personal fashion statement. This article explores CASETiFY, a phone case brand, and how they added fun and personality to the phone case.

How did CASETiFY come to be?

CASETiFY is based in Hong Kong and was founded by Ronald Yeung and Wesley Ng on October 1, 2011. Formerly known as Casetagram, CASETiFY started off as an app that let people make custom phone cases out of their Instagram photos, hence the former name. It was not in Yeung’s and Ng’s plans to start a business around this idea, but it worked out that Ng was not a fan of the bulky and ugly look of phone cases at the time and was also an Instagram user. Two and two came together to give Ng the idea that custom phone cases using Instagram photos would be a great concept for a start-up, so he recruited his school friend Yeung to work with him. Thus, CASETiFY was born.

Early Start-Up Success

CASETiFY was one of those lucky start-ups that experienced immediate success. At the time, there was no other app or service that let people do what CASETiFY did, and Instagram, which was founded a year prior, was gaining popularity. Everyone who loved Instagram was fascinated by CASETiFY’s concept and thought they were very innovative. Global news platforms, The New York Times, TechCrunch, and Mashable, noticed this and wrote pieces about CASETiFY. This press coverage helped get the word about CASETiFY out there, but it wasn’t enough to convince the two founders to quit their full-time jobs just yet. 

The turning point was when British chef, Jamie Oliver, posted about CASETiFY on his Instagram and Twitter accounts just 3 weeks after CASETiFY was founded. Jamie Oliver posted a photo of the custom phone case design he made using CASETiFY onto his Instagram that he also shared on his Twitter. His caption reads, “Hi guys i think this is a Cool web site if you keep dropping your phone like me then these are quite cool and may save your screens made straight from your instargram feed!! Cool go to” Jamie Oliver’s mention of CASETiFY, then-Casetagram, caused massive traffic on CASETiFY’s website and eventually broke their server. When Ng and Yeung realized what had happened, Ng said to Yeung, “Hey, maybe we should quit our day jobs.” No longer was CASETiFY a post-work side hustle but now a full-blown business. 

From Casetagram to CASETiFY

CASETiFY experienced rapid growth in its first two years. When people see an idea doing well, they want a piece of the pie too. Companies were popping up with a similar concept to CASETiFY, which was one of the reasons why CASETiFY moved away from their original concept. Although they still incorporate Instagram photos into their phone cases today, they thought it was a better idea to create phone case designs that customers can then further customize according to their preferences. This not only allowed people to represent and express themselves beyond their photos, but it also helped differentiate CASETiFY from the copycats. This is when Casetagram changed its name to CASETiFY. 

CASETiFY’s Customization Processes

CASETiFY believes in self-expression, individuality, and creativity. Ng says that he sees phone cases as “a canvas for creativity, a design challenge” and as “personal billboards.” These values are brought to life in the two customization processes that CASETiFY offers to all its customers. 

CASETiFY’s Pre-Designed Cases

Here is the step-by-step process of customizing a phone case using designs CASETiFY has created:

  1. Select your device
  2. Choose your print/design
  3. Select your case type
  4. Pick your case color
  5. If your chosen phone case print/design is labeled “custom,” then add your text
  6. Create a bundle by adding phone accessories
  7. Add to cart

Through this process, CASETiFY takes away some of the work customers would have to put in if designing a phone case completely from scratch. This is perfect for those who want a custom phone case but don’t want a custom phone case.

Step 1: Select your device

CASETiFY cases are usually modeled on iPhones as they are the most popular phone. They sell cases for iPhones starting from iPhone 7 all the way to the iPhone 13. This includes all of the various models of each phone. CASETiFY started making cases for Androids starting in 2020. They have phone cases for the Galaxy S20, S21, S22, and the Galaxy Z Flip3. Whenever a new phone model drops, CASETiFY is quick to make cases for them.

Step 2: Choose your print/design

CASETiFY has thousands of designs to choose from. Their most popular prints are stars, nature, butterflies, and clouds. One could spend forever scrolling through all the options CASETiFY has and will most likely find ones they like.

Step 3: Select your case type

CASETiFY has a total of 8 types of cases. Not all 8 options are available for every print CASETiFY offers, but there are at least two case types to choose from. CASETiFY also lets customers know each case’s protection level and weight. They categorize protection as basic, strong, and ultimate. For weight, the categories are light, mid, and heavy. On top of this information, each case type has its own features that make it unique. The 8 case types are:

  • Liquid
    • The liquid cases are also called the Neon Sand Cases. They are two-toned and glow in the dark. They are also the heaviest due to the sand/liquid inside.
  • Compostable
    • Compostable cases are made out of a blend of biopolymers, starch, and bamboo. The cases are biodegradable and break down into carbon dioxide, water, and other naturally occurring minerals making them much better for the environment. They also have a 4 feet (1.2 meters) drop protection.
  • Ultra Compostable
    • The Ultra Compostable case is made out of the same materials as the Compostable case but has a 6.6 feet (~2 meters) drop protection.
  • MagSafe
    • In October 2020, Apple announced they would release an accessory system called MagSafe. In response, CASETiFY created MagSafe cases that have built-in magnets for the MagSafe chargers that wirelessly charge phones. As MagSafe was announced with the release of the iPhone 12, MagSafe cases are only available starting from that model onwards.
  • Impact
    • The Impact case is what one would consider a “standard” phone case. The Impact case is a military-grade protective case that is double-layered and is drop-test approved from a height of 6.6 (~2 meters) feet. 
  • Impact Crush
    • The Impact Crush case has the same features as the Impact case but is made out of used phone cases, bioplastics, and manufacturing scraps. These materials are crushed down to create Crush cases, hence the name. Crush cases have a speckled design since the materials used are all of different colors and properties. These cases reduce CASETiFY’s carbon footprint by 20% because in making them, the company processes less crushed plastic.
  • Ultra Impact
    • The Ultra Impact case is the same as the Impact case but has a higher drop-test approval height of 9.8 feet (3 meters).
  • Ultra Impact Crush
    • The Ultra Impact Crush case is made using the same process as the Impact Crush case but has the drop-test approval height of 9.8 feet (3 meters).

Step 4: Pick your case color

A majority of CASETiFY cases have color options as well. Their colors are also separated into categories: clear, sheer, and matte. These categories differ in the transparency of the color chosen. Depending on the print, the color chosen may only modify the borders of the case and not the print itself. Their color options are also not limited to the basic primary and complementary rainbow colors. They have a variety of colors, shades, and tones.

Step 5: For custom phone cases, add your text

For cases that are labeled “custom,” customers can add text to their case. They can choose the layout, font, and color of their text. Depending on the layout chosen, customers can add either 3 characters or 8 characters. Typically, people will write their initials or first name.

Step 6: Create a bundle by adding phone accessories

CASETiFY doesn’t only sell phone cases; they also sell phone accessories. For example, customers can add screen protectors, camera lens protectors, phone straps, AirPod cases, and many more to their orders. By adding accessories to a phone case, the price of the accessories alone decreases. This way, one can pay less for an accessory and have a whole phone accessories bundle.

Step 7: Add to cart

CASETiFY offers free worldwide shipping for orders over $40. As phone cases are priced as low as $40, CASETiFY ensures that customers will get free shipping as long as they buy a phone case. CASETiFY also has a rewards program called CASETiFY Club that is free to sign up. Customers get special privileges and rewards depending on their tier level. These privileges and rewards can be applied to their orders at checkout.

Photo Grid Phone Cases

Even though CASETiFY moved away from the Instagram photos phone case concept, they do still offer customization using photos. They call these cases their photo grid cases or Tik Tok cases because they are popular on the platform. To make a photo grid case, one has to select their device, case type, and case color. The additional steps that differ from CASETiFY’s pre-designed cases are choosing a layout/template, uploading photos, and adding text if desired.

CASETiFY has 16 different layouts that include anywhere from 1 to 27 photos on one phone case. The photos can be put into either square, rectangular, or circular shapes. Sticking to the custom phone case but not a custom phone case idea, they also offer 21 different templates that come with backgrounds, text, and accents already pre-prepared. One would just need to change the photo and text to have what they want. Photos can be uploaded from your device, Instagram, or Facebook account. For customers who don’t want personal photos on their case, they can choose photos from CASETiFY’s image library. They have 8 themes with 9 photos included in each theme. Once everything is picked out and set, designs can be saved and then purchased. 

Answering the Question: Are Phone Cases the Next Luxury Accessory?

Phone cases can be considered the next luxury accessory because of how they can now be used as a way to accessorize an outfit or look. People take mirror selfies that show off their phone cases and in general, always have their phones out. Overall, it is easier for people to flex their phone case and also see the phone cases of others. With this in mind, people want to have a phone case that represents them and also attracts the attention of others. CASETiFY contributes to phone cases becoming the next luxury accessory because of their customization processes. Customization is always considered a luxury because it means that everyone will not have the exact same item. Giving customers the ability to customize their phone case really makes it feel like their phone case that they can then show off to the world.

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