Personalized iPhone cases handmade in Brooklyn, heading to Berlin

caseablecover
caseablecover

Caseable is a customizable design platform that will print an image (photograph or pattern) of your choice on the back of your device (iPads, Kindles, etc.) for about 20-50 euros a piece.  “Everybody has a laptop and everyone’s different, so why are all the laptop cases looking the same?” Ann asks me over scones at The Barn in Mitte, where eccentric duos walk in and out, fur-clad and speaking Williamsburgian. “We are giving people the ability to put their personalities on the objects the carry around most. Next up is iPhones.”

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#36 on her bucket list: Build a brand from scratch

Ann is Caseable’s Marketing Manager. She was born near Hannover in a small town called Gehrden. After finishing her A levels she “took a breath for a year,” traveled through Europe, and settled in London where she spent time interning. Eventually she moved to Munich, where she studied Media Management and took a night to write her bucket list: 50 things she wanted to do in her life before she died.

And #5 was: Live in New York

Ann began working at Caseable as an intern in the company’s Brooklyn office—located on Dean Street, in the same area where the city’s currently building a baseball stadium. “A friend of mine (a mutual friend of the co-founder Marvin) told me there was a startup looking for interns,” she tells me. “A couple weeks later I was there. It was a dream. Isn’t it everyone’s dream to live in New York at some point?”

width="516"A photo of the team’s designer in Caseable’s Brooklyn office

While both founders are German, the company’s first investor (Klaus’s uncle) happens to live in Brooklyn. At their earliest stage, he offered the team space to work. That’s how they ended up on Dean Street. The space was the size of a”football field,” Ann describes it. “One day there was a fire in the building and we got to walk around looking at the other flats. There was one guy who was living in half his apartment with a tiny double bed and his gallery on the other side. It looked like a true artist.”

In May 2011, Caseable launched in Berlin. Ann came along.

Now Ann lives in Kreuzberg. She’s helping to curate capsule collections for the brand, in addition to taking care of the marketing. Currently, there’s a collection with Tom Christopher, an artist in New York. There’s an upcoming collection with an undisclosed New York fashion blogger and another with Caitlin Parker, an artist who’s recently moved to Berlin.

“I’m trying to showcase how these cases can be fashion objects, not just functional,” she tells me. “We had one fashion blogger who took her case to a blogger party on the red carpet. She used it just like a clutch. She had printed, ‘legalized blogger’ on it.”

And what’s the difference between American and German design?

Ann tells me to look on the site and try and guess. The team has patterns both from German and American designers. “The design in America is more childish,” she explains, suddenly sounding like an expert.  “It’s kitschy. There’s a trend for very bright colors.”

“Here in Berlin, it’s more urban. Subdued, darker colors.”

Maybe that’s why we moved her. But production remains in Brooklyn.

For more design-related articles this week, read:

Startups, this is how design works.