Fashion is arguably the purest form of self-expression – but Smartphones are the only accessory we can’t live without. Yet, there remains a perceived notion around how best to “dress” Smartphones that ranges from preferring utilitarian protective cases, or penchants for patterned pieces of plastic. For the creative team at CASETiFY, a Hong-Kong and Los Angeles based phone case company, its designers take an anthropological approach to product, creating totems with a tailor-made touch.
CASETiFY distinguishes itself in the market through high-touch personalized products that are protective, and personalized – and through notable partnerships. “CASETiFY began as an immediate solution to a lack of both protective and stylish phone cases on the market,” the brand said. “In 2011, we created a platform to display your favorite IG photos directly on your phone. CASETiFY has since evolved into a global brand known for our high-quality product, artist partnerships, exclusive Co-labs, and customizable accessories—but at our core we are a vehicle for self-expression and creativity.”
Offering a large variety of products for “every personality” with thousands of cases to choose from, it follows that CASETiFY cites individualism and self-expression as the DNA of the brand. Wes Ng, Founder, Chief Executive Officer at CASETiFY, is particularly passionate about bridging design and the tech accessory space as his background in design informs the aesthetic direction for the brand.
“I’m a designer by trade, and although I never set out to be an entrepreneur, it’s a role I feel comfortable in,” Ng said. “I was born and raised in Hong Kong and studied in Australia. I started my career as a designer, but I quickly realized I didn’t fit the mold of a corporate professional, so I wanted to start something new.”
Ng added that its commitment to artists and creatives is inherent to who CASETiFY is as a company. “When you shop our prints, you are directly supporting an artist’s work,” he noted. “We feature prints created by over 200 artists from around the world and are adding new ones all the time. They are all individual one-of-a-kind creations.” CASETiFY aims to be an incubator for artists and creators, and to that end offers a profit sharing program to every artist it works with that often allows them to turn their passion into a full time job.
And while some brands may only offer cases for a specific style or protection, CASETiFY recognizes the need for both, Ng explained. “We realize that your phone is a natural extension of you and how you protect and decorate it is highly personal. CASETiFY customers are getting exceptionally protective cases without sacrificing design or self-expression.”
That’s where the lowercase “i” in the company’s name hails from: Intended to look like a person, the “i” is symbolic of the originality and individualism CASETiFY promotes. As the fastest growing global tech accessories brand, reaching 1 in 7 Millennials, CASETiFY counts Pharrell, Saint Laurent, Thom Browne and artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Hajime Sorayama as collaborators, with retail partnerships spanning Nordstrom, Revolve.com, Shopbop.com, Anthropologie, and Amazon.
Modernizing Second Skins
The brand explained that CASETiFY is wholly unique in its industry as its offerings that blend art and culture have positioned them as more of a lifestyle accessory. “Our focus on design and innovative materials has changed the way phone cases are purchased and utilized by the consumer. We partner with hundreds of artists from around the world, creating thousands of unique prints, as well as offering Co-labs with brands like the NBA, Netflix, and Champion.”
“We are constantly evolving – learning and building upon the past to innovate and elevate our products,” Ng said, which includes a new focus on sustainable design and emerging technologies.
Last year, CASETiFY launched into sustainable design with its Re/CASETiFY program, an initiative that uses old phone cases, manufacturing scraps, and plant-derived bioplastics to make phone case material that is equally as durable as other plastics, as it recognized “the need to protect your phone but more importantly the planet.” Or its newest first-to-market platform, NFT Your Case, that allows collectors to authenticate their NFTs and display them on their phone cases.
Also of note is its branded Camera Ring, a simple utilitarian feature that not only protects the camera lens but physically differentiates its product from multiple competitors in the market.
Of late, its collaborations and launches are wide-ranging but targeted, specifically for its Co-lab initiative. “Our Co-lab inspiration lies in bringing various cultures to our audience. Some are current popular culture; some are from the past and some are experimental. We believe the juxtaposition of ancient and modern; young and old; and East and West are what makes our brand so interesting and relevant to the Internet savvy Gen Z,” Ng said.
The brand noted that its Co-Lab studio has grown beyond its expectations and that in the last year alone, it has worked with 40-plus brands and talent. CASETiFY signed Olivia Rodrigo as its first brand ambassador, and launched partnerships with BlackPink, The Met, and Harry Potter, among many others.
Ng added that “We aim to bring a new creative lens to every partner we collaborate with, marrying product quality, innovation, and elevated design to create new products that feel genuine to each collection. We explore, elevate, and add character to the products. We play with textiles, add textures, use interesting fabrics, and aim to tell a story.”
Calling on Culture
CASETiFY prides itself on “having our finger on the pulse of what’s trending in today’s culture” – and much of that keen focus means reacting quickly to cultural events. For example, CASETiFY was one of the first brands to respond to the Squid Games phenomenon and launched its collection only a few weeks after the show’s release. “On top of that, we brought customers a genuine fan experience, constructing a 2.7 meter tall Young-hee doll in our Hong Kong flagship store,” they added.
Through its Co-lab last year with The Louvre, the museum partnered with CASETiFY to expand its reach to Gen Z. “We were given unprecedented access to shoot the campaign inside the museum. The authenticity of this campaign, with images among some of the world’s best-known pieces of art and outside the iconic pyramid, led to an overwhelming response from our customers who felt transported to Paris, experiencing the renowned museum for themselves. We are thrilled to be launching a new campaign with them later this year.”
Further, CASETiFY also seeks to bring cultural relevance to mass brands while always putting our own unique spin. “When we launched Disney Princess, we debuted a ‘Be Your Own Princess’ campaign inspired by the whimsical spirit and unwavering strength of Disney Princess characters. The campaign featured up and coming Gen Z influencers shot as their inspired, modern interpretation
of the princesses.”
Customers were also encouraged to make their case truly one-of-a-kind by selecting their favorite Disney Princess from the lineup and adding their name or monogram to the custom creation.
Customization is at the core of everything CASETiFY does. “We believe phone case prints can stand for even more than individuality and self-expression. They can also be used to champion a social cause,” Ng said. Their CASETiFY collections for Pride, Mental Health Awareness, Stop Asian Hate, Black Artist Collective, and International Women’s Day, among others, have given the CASETiFY consumer a platform to advocate and support communities.
CASETiFY said that 2022 will yield significant growth as it plans to expand into a broader category of lifestyle products, inclusive of the NFT market. CASETiFY currently has 15 stores globally and is expecting to have 100 locations by 2025. “We are also extremely excited to be expanding our retail footprint into the U.S. in the coming months,”Ng said.
“Our current CASETiFY Studio locations, which offer an IRL experience and the ability to personalize and receive your case in 15 minutes, are a testament to what an engaging client experience can look like in the modern age of e-commerce. We have seen that retail can be a powerful tool, bringing our customers closer to the cultures that they are passionate about. The U.S. is our fastest-growing market – and we plan to match that growth with new retail locations inviting customers to engage with the brand in an experiential way.”