When Casetify first launched in 2011, it began by specialising in something no one else was doing at the time—personalised phone cases created using Instagram photos. Today, the brand has grown into a tech accessories giant favoured by the likes of Kylie Jenner and Gigi Hadid, offering an array of designer phone, tablet and MacBook cases among other products.
For founder and CEO Wesley Ng, this success can be attributed to the brand’s prescient choice to put customisability and self-expression at the forefront of what they do. “From the start, I wanted Casetify to be an outlet for self-expression, because our phones are so important to who we are. Our philosophy is that the accessories we choose for our phones should also represent our core values and beliefs.”
Indeed, in a world where we have our phones on our person at all times, the cover we choose for our device matters more than any other accessory. At any point in time, Casetify’s website is reliably stocked with a dozen different collections—ranging from collaborations with BTS to designs featuring Hello Kitty—for customers to pick and choose from. Otherwise, you can always opt to put your name on one of their neon sand, mirror or glitter cases, going back to the brand’s original specialty: customisation.
This year, Casetify has unveiled a different side to the brand with a range of initiatives geared towards sustainability and social causes. Their project ‘Cases for a Cause’, for example, saw 100 percent of the collections’ proceeds donated to the American Civil Liberties Union. According to Ng, a move like this has been a long time coming. “Since Casetify’s start, I have been conscious of our impact. As a brand providing a creative outlet for so many, we feel passionate about protecting the right to express yourself—which sometimes becomes a political issue.”
“We have rolled out 100 percent plant-based packaging—an eco-friendly alternative that will soon phase out all plastic waste from our product packaging”
Sustainability is another issue which is at the top of Ng’s list. The brand’s new initiative ‘Casetify Conscious’ was led by the release of a range of fully biodegradable and compostable phone cases earlier this year—the first ever of their kind. These cases, while retaining Casetify’s trademark fashionable appearance and complete customisability, are crafted from bamboo-based materials free of virgin plastics. In line with the eco-friendly accessories in the collection, even the packaging these products come in are plant-based and fully recyclable. This recyclable packaging is also used for the the brand’s latest launch—a range of drop-tested cases for the new iPhone 12—which are made from 50 percent recycled materials and printed with eco-friendly ink.
This year has also seen the launch of Recasetify. As the name suggests, the programme allows customers in the US and Hong Kong to mail their used phone cases back to the brand for reuse, recycling, up-cycling or safe disposal, while receiving a 15 percent discount on their next order in return. As a next step, Casetify is looking to expand the number of locations the programme is available in, allowing more customers to take part. “We have a responsibility to ensure our practices protect the planet. Our Conscious collection and Recasetify are long-awaited initiatives for our company, and we’re excited to share the future of sustainable tech accessories,” says Ng.
Here, Vogue speaks to Ng to find out how Casetify is going further in its mission to zero plastic, the brand’s plans to make an impact and of course—what Ng’s own phone case looks like.
Casetify has embarked on several sustainability projects this year, like Casetify Conscious and Recasetify. Why have you found this important?
For millions of people around the world, Casetify is the first choice to dress their phones, AirPods, MacBooks, iPads and more. Knowing this, we’ve worked hard to make our products not only better for the consumer, but better for the planet too. We launched our 100 percent compostable Casetify Conscious collection this year, giving our community the first and only customisable, eco-friendly accessory for iPhones and AirPods.
Leading up to this launch, we had to make sure every step aligned with our mission. After months of testing, we developed our own proprietary material called EcotifyTM, a combination of biopolymers, starch, and bamboo that breaks down into naturally occurring minerals. Discovering new ways to thoughtfully protect and style your tech is only the beginning to a major industry shift. For us, the journey towards sustainability is never-ending.
“Over the years we’ve seen how much our community positively responds to products that give back, so we will continue on this path for many collections to come”
How do you see Casetify leading the way in sustainability for the tech-accessories industry?
I view Casetify’s global positioning as a responsibility to lead the way for the future of tech accessories. Sustainability encompasses everything from a brand’s products to their corporate practices. We’re proud to share that Casetify production facilities are ISO14001-certified for using rainwater collection, recycling systems, and taking other sustainable measures. Making a difference goes beyond a social media post or product, it comes down to transparency and the willingness to do better.
What is the next step on Casetify’s way to zero plastic?
The first step in our Mission to Zero has been identifying where we can make an immediate change. With the introduction of Casetify Conscious, we have rolled out 100 percent plant-based packaging—an eco-friendly alternative that will soon phase out all plastic waste from our product packaging. This provides a foundation for making more conscious decisions as a brand, and opens the door for more sustainable materials in all of our product categories.
Last month we also introduced our first 100 percent sustainable collaboration with our partners at Goodful by Buzzfeed. We view every collection as a mindful step in the right direction, and we are excited to lead our community down this path.
Through projects like Cases for a Cause and Casetify Protects, you have expressed that the brand is conscious of what’s going on in the world and current politics—and that you want to chip in. Are we going to see more like this from Casetify in the future?
Since Casetify first launched, I have been conscious of our impact. As a brand providing a creative outlet for so many, we feel passionate about protecting the right to express yourself—which sometimes becomes a political issue. I believe the best way for us to support important causes is by creating products with a purpose, both in the literal and figurative sense.
Casetify Protects was a recent campaign that was inspired by the immediate need for safety and protection. With products like UV Sanitizers and cloth masks, we were able to quickly fill a market need, while raising US$100,000 for GlobalGiving and donating 40,000 surgical masks to Direct Relief. Through partnerships like Cases for a Cause, we were also able to connect with a charity like the ACLU, while at the same time introducing independent lifestyle brands to our global audience. Over the years we’ve seen how much our community positively responds to products that give back, so we will continue on this path for many collections to come.
Where do you think this Gen Z’s priorities lie, and how does this shape Casetify’s direction?
We’ve known for a long time what many people are just figuring out—personalisation is everything to the consumer. It’s safe to say that our commitment to customisation has shaped every facet of our company in one way or another. From brand collaborations to in-store activations, giving customers the option to customizs their accessory is essential to the Casetify experience.
What does your own phone case look like?
Right now I’m wearing a new case style that will debut in just a few weeks. It’s a minimal, monochromatic case, which provides drop-protection up to 6.6-ft. The best part is that it’s sourced from 50% recycled materials. I’m always eager to test out new products before they hit the market.
For more information, visit Casetify.