There’s never been a better time to start a phone case business.
Currently, the US market for mobile phone accessories (like cases and screen protectors) is rising to hit a value of $75.62 billion by 2026. So find your share of that market segment, and you could create an incredibly valuable company with a minimal initial investment.
Smartphones have taken the world by storm. Most of us take our devices with us wherever we go, including to the bathroom. However, as devices become increasingly valuable, consumers need a reliable way of protecting their investment.
A phone case simultaneously offers peace of mind and a chance for consumers to showcase their unique personalities. For business owners, these products also represent a fantastic avenue for profits. After all, you can sell phone cases online or offline, customize them through print on demand services, and even dropship cases without spending a fortune.
Let’s explore the simple steps involved in starting your case business.
What Do You Need to Start a Phone Case Business?
The main thing any business owner needs when starting a phone case business is a good plan of action. There are many different kinds of cases out there for various types of phones. Make sure you know your options before you start designing. If you’re planning on printing on or customizing your cases, it’s best to look at options like:
- Gel cases: Slim gel cases are easy to customize with a range of designs. Come with additional grip sections, so it’s easier to keep hold of your phone. Gel cases are affordable and versatile – perfect for a range of designs.
- Bumper cases: Bumper cases usually come with extra protection for the edges and sides of your phone. They may have a full gel section for covering the back of the device or simply wrap around the phone in certain spaces to prevent damage.
- Wallet cases: For sophisticated customers looking to protect their phone and screen simultaneously, wallet cases cover every part of the phone and defend against scratches. Most come in leather-style materials which can be customized.
- Hard cases: Hard cases snap onto the phone and help to protect against damage. They’re great for keeping your phone in good condition, and they can last longer than some gel and rubber options. Hard cases can also be customized.
- Special cases: Special cases have unique features, like extra shock protection, built-in charging systems, and even hand-carved wood designs. Most of these cases cost a little more, but they can be very appealing to customers.
Don’t forget to think about the kind of phones you want to design for too. There are a huge number of phone models on the market today. As a result, it may not be possible to create cases to fit every option straight away. Ideally, you’ll want to start with the top-selling phones for your target audience.
Tools like Keywords Everywhere can help you track the search volume for specific kinds of phones so you know where to begin.
How to Make a Phone Case Business: 7 Steps to Launch
Once you know what kind of cases you’re going to be designing and which phone types you’ll be targeting, it’s time to start mapping your path to launch. Though starting your own business can seem daunting at first, the evolving digital world makes it much easier to jump in than you’d think. Here’s what you need to make a phone case business:
1. Find a Gap in The Market
The best businesses come from discovering a market gap and building a strategy to fill that space. There are tons of phone case companies out there. Finding a specific niche to cater to will help you to build a memorable and competitive brand.
Remember, a specific niche means that you’ll have fewer companies to fight against when it comes to making your company stand out. Focusing on a niche like “eco-friendly” customers will also help direct your business processes by determining which kinds of materials you’re going to use and which suppliers you can work with.
Focusing on a single niche will even help you rank higher with Google because you can target specific terms that make the most sense to your audience. So, how do you find a gap?
- Looking at Google Trends: Tools like Google Trends will help you find trending products in your industry, like “wooden” phone cases or “personalized” phone cases. You can also use this tool to determine which phones your customers are most interested in.
- Conducting competitor analysis: Checking out your competition will help you see which audiences are already being targeted and which groups still need more options. For instance, you might notice that none of your competitors are offering phone cases specifically for moms, teachers, or professionals.
- Speak to your customers: Try speaking to people in your potential target audience. Running surveys on forums and social media groups might help you collect valuable information about your potential niche.
- Check out influencers: Visit social media and see what kinds of cases are getting the most attention. Platforms like Instagram are a great place to check out some of the most attractive phone cases on the market today.
2. Design Some Phone Cases
With your business plan ready, it’s time to create some stunning phone cases. This is the fun part, where you get to experiment with different designs. You can create your own mockups in Photoshop or check out the mockup generators offered by print on demand (POD) companies. These allow you to see what your design would look like on multiple types of phones.
Double-check your options before you start printing, as some companies will only print using certain techniques or only cover a certain percentage of the case. You can also design your phone cases by:
- Using customer-generated designs: Have a social media following? Let your audience upload photos and designs for you to print onto a personalized phone case.
- Working with freelancers: There are tons of freelance artists online who can create phone case designs on your behalf. Many of these professionals are very affordable and can work on cases for many different customers.
- Reaching out to a designer: Find designers on creative forums and sites like Dribbble. See who’s willing to work with you on a more long-term basis. You could even hire designers on contracts or ask them to design entire collections for you.
It helps to have a decent selection of options for your customers to choose from before launching your phone case brand. Don’t start a company with just one or two cases. Range matters to smartphone owners.
3. Build Your Brand
A brand refers to your identity or personality as a business. You can convey this through everything from unique logos and color choices for your company, as well as a well-designed website, packaging strategy, and more. Branding makes your company more memorable to your target audience and helps to set you apart from the competition. Make sure you have:
- A unique logo to set your brand apart from the competition
- Attractive visuals like brand photography, animations, videos, and illustrations.
- A color pallet to convey a specific identity and personality for your company – make sure you understand the psychology of colors before creating a palette.
- Content and copywriting to showcase your unique tone of voice.
- A brand name and mission statement that customers can remember
- A mission or set of brand values to help identify you to customers
It helps to research some of your competitors to see the kind of branding they’ve been trying to build. Make notes of what you like and dislike about similar brands and use the available resources online to start creating. Shopify, for instance, has its own video and logo maker.
4. Choose a Sourcing Strategy
Now it’s time to find a source to supply inventory to your business. There are a few options available here, such as:
Working with a manufacturer
It’s easy enough to find an affordable wholesale manufacturer with platforms like Handshake and other online marketplaces. Here, you can search for all kinds of phone case types for different devices. You will need to buy in bulk, which means storing hundreds of cases at once, but you can save a lot of cash this way.
Using print on demand
Print on demand companies are ideal if you want to easily add your own designs to products and send them straight to customers. With print on demand, you choose a supplier to add your designs to your chosen phone cases, and those companies will create the pieces for you.
Dropshipping is one of the most affordable ways to source phone cases for your business. You choose a manufacturer who makes the kind of product you want, and they’ll ship your phone cases direct to your customers for you. Dropshipping tools like Oberlo give you countless phone accessories to choose from, and you can avoid having to look after your own stock.
Confused between the last two? Learn how print on demand compares to dropshipping to pick the right sourcing strategy for your business.
5. Price Your Cases
Choosing the right price point for a product can be one of the toughest parts of building your phone case business. If your price is too high, it will drive customers to your competitors. However, an extremely low price can indicate that you’re using lower-quality materials.
The pricing you choose needs to convey the high quality of your designs while still being affordable for your target market. Look at your competitors for an initial starting point to see what kind of prices they’re offering. Then, think about the factors that might affect your pricing, such as how long it takes to make the items you want to sell and how many resources you’ll need to hire.
Once you recoup the costs of making the product with your pricing, you’ll need to think about how much of a profit you want to make. Check out these pricing strategy options for more guidance.
6. Build Your Online Store
Outside of designing your phone cases, building your online store is one of the most exciting things you’ll do when creating a new business. There are tons of great ways to start selling online, but it makes sense to start with a store builder that’s well-known and easy to use, like Shopify.
As you’re working on your site, make sure to put up all the things that impact people’s perceptions of your business. Write engaging product descriptions, upload beautiful product images, and create noteworthy landing pages. Other things to consider include:
- About and contact us pages to build site credibility
- Checkout pages with multiple payment options
- Legal information like privacy policies and terms and conditions
- A blog or news page for content marketing
- Pop-ups and slide-ins for sharing offers with customers
Shopify comes with a range of excellent features so you can dive straight into your site development process. You can even choose from a set of beautiful ecommerce themes to apply, so you know your site is going to look great.
7. Promote Your Phone Case Brand
Finally, it’s time to start bringing people to your business.
Marketing your phone case brand is the key to collecting as many loyal customers as possible. Some advertising strategies can cost a fortune, while others are more affordable. For instance, you can create content and post on social media without spending much; alternatively, you could try:
- Email marketing to nurture your leads into customers with regular messages. Make sure your customers opt-in to your email campaigns.
- Influencer marketing to promote cases via people your customers already trust. This will help build your brand reputation and attract new customers.
- Social media marketing with paid and unpaid campaigns to help you reach specific audiences, like teens interested in movie-based phone cases.
PPC campaigns, Facebook Ads, and paid Instagram campaigns can all help to attract more attention too. Just keep in mind that many marketing campaigns will take a short while to pay off.
Summary: How to Start a Custom Phone Case Business in 2021
There you have it — all the steps required to launch a phone case business.
Remember that it’s going to take effort and time (lots of them) to become profitable in this business.
While the margins on typical phone cases are thin, you can sell yours at a higher price by customizing them in unique ways based on your audience’s preferences. The tools and services we mentioned will give you the ability you need to make your phone case collection shine.
In summary, here are all the steps to launching a custom phone case business:
- Identify a market opportunity
- Design custom phone cases
- Develop your brand
- Pick a way to source your cases
- Choose a price point
- Build your online phone case store
- Promote your business
Now that you know where to begin, an exciting adventure of building a phone case brand awaits you. All you have to do now is take that first step.