With collabs with Oscar-winning masterpiece Parasite to VETEMENTS, here’s how CASETiFY’s founder turned it into the buzziest tech accessories brand around.
Founder of CASETiFY, Wes Ng
Founder of CASETiFY, Wes Ng
With technology’s undeniably ubiquitous presence in our lives, just like a hologram nail, copping a hype trainer collab, or wearing this season’s most Instagrammable trends, our phones are now pretty much an extension of our own hands – saying as much about us as the clothes we choose to wear. And one boundary-pushing brand that has been at the forefront of this movement is CASETiFY.
The brainchild of founder and CEO Wes Ng, CASETiFY started in 2011 in Hong Kong and has swiftly become the world’s fastest growing tech accessories brand – with a focus on personalisation and a seamless aptitude for tapping into millennial trends and the coolest collaborations. iPhones stamped with the brutalist visual aesthetic of Oscar-winning masterpiece Parasite. Exclusive luxe vegan cases emblazoned with kitsch designs by VETEMENTS. Delicious accessories with HEINZ. And the latest innovative industry advancements with the world’s first 100% biodegradable custom phone cases.
We caught up with Wes Ng and talked about changing narratives, bettering the planet, and the power of the brand’s 1.7 million Instagram followers…
(LEFT) Parasite x CASETiFY
(RIGHT) VETEMENTS x CASETiFY
Parasite x CASETiFY
VETEMENTS x CASETiFY
Hi Wes, how is lockdown for you? How is it influencing your creativity?
Things over here are going well. I’m based out of Hong Kong, so we’ve actually been quarantining since January to flatten the curve, while we ease back to normalcy. It’s been an unpredictable time, but the grind hasn’t stopped. If anything, we’ve had to become even more creative to work through these circumstances, and I’m proud of my team for rising to the challenge.
How did you start CASETiFY?
I started CASETiFY in 2011. At the time, I was fascinated with the new social platform Instagram, and my design experience got the wheels turning in my head. I figured, why not marry the two (social media + technology)? I quit my corporate job, and I introduced the world to the first customisable phone case.
The brand has nearly been around for a decade now – how have you had to change and adapt in order to grow?
CASETiFY saw overnight success. People loved the idea of creating an everyday accessory with the addition of something personal. But I knew we had the potential for so much more. Over the years we’ve invited artists and top creatives from all over the world to bring their own customisation to our cases. Lately, we’ve been really into brand collaborations, growing our own creative program called CASETiFY Co-Lab, where we release special editions cases every month.
It feels like CASETiFY was the first tech accessories brand to prioritise personality and cool as well as quality (in a space that hasn’t always felt like that) – is this CASETiFY’s aim first and foremost?
Protection and style will always be our brand’s DNA. First, we make sure everything is drop-tested and quality assured before we bring it to the CASETiFY Studio. Once we perfect the engineering, we turn to our in-house designers to create something unique and totally new to the tech accessory world. CASETiFY is a leader in its space because we promise to only deliver creative, innovative, and hype accessories for our fans.
(LEFT) HEINZ x CASETiFY
(RIGHT) CASETiFY’s 100% biodegradable phone cases
HEINZ x CASETiFY
CASETiFY’s 100% biodegradable phone cases
You’ve spoken before about how you see phone cases as “a canvas for creativity, a design challenge” – is this what you would attribute to CASETiFY’s success?
It wasn’t always easy to convince people of the canvas for creativity. Which makes sense, because phone cases USED to be a commodity product, with its only purpose being to protect your device. CASETiFY rewrites this narrative, and that’s why our community continues to grow stronger and more inclusive everyday. Customers see their phones as an extension of self, something really personal to them. It only makes sense that they’d want to dress their phone in something equally as expressive and personalised.
Your collaborations have been so cool, like the film Parasite, to BAPE, DHL, VETEMENTS – how do you go about choosing who you partner with?
Every partner joining CASETiFY Co-Lab has its own story. With Parasite, we saw a natural fit because of our large (and growing) fanbase out of Korea. We knew sharing our platform with a film that broke records and made history would extend the excitement to both of our global communities in a new way. With any brand partnership, whether it be with BAPE, DHL, VETEMENTS, or our recent collab with HEINZ, we design our collections to bring something unexpected and fun.
You also collaborate with a lot of cool up-and-coming designers and illustrators – how much is this championing of “newness” important to the brand’s DNA?
That’s something that will always be important to me. I look back at CASETiFY’s inception, from a small startup back in 2011, to its place today as a globally recognised brand with millions of customers. There is so much talent and undiscovered creativity out there deserving of the spotlight. We’re not only about bringing something new to the table, but we want to share the heart behind it.
And the brand is incredibly boundary-pushing – recently dropping the world’s first 100% biodegradable custom phone cases – why is this environmental focus key to what you are trying to achieve too?
At CASETiFY, we talk a lot about making an impact. Both inherently speaking (with our ultra tough Impact Cases) and in the naming of our charitable collections, like our celebratory Women’s Day collection called “Her Impact Matters.” We don’t want it to just stop there. CASETiFY has millions of customers from all over the world, and we’re determined to make an impact in all of their lives. When you shop CASETiFY CONSCiOUS, you’re not only customising a new accessory, but you’re also taking a step to better the planet for yourself and your community.
It’s phenomenal to see a tech accessories brand with 1.7M followers – how do you think social media has been instrumental in the brand’s success and global name?
Instagram was a major inspiration for CASETiFY’s start, so I view our social channels as the lifeblood of the business. It’s a gateway to connecting directly with our community, a constant source for inspiration, and without a doubt the best marketing tool. Sure the number of followers is impressive, especially as a tech accessory brand, but the key to keeping people around is staying authentic.
What advice would you give to any entrepreneur looking to do what you have achieved?
Focus on identifying your mission. Your values should be the foundation for everything your brand does. Once you have that figured out, everything else should fall into place.
What’s next for you?
Right now, we have a few ongoing conversations with upcoming brand partners – which we know our community will be excited to see. We’re also exploring brand new products, inviting our fans to make CASETiFY even more a part of their lifestyle.