Custom Apple Laptop Cases - Meet the MacCase Program
MacCase invented the market for Apple laptop cases in 1998. In 2007, they reinvented it with a line of Apple laptop bags called the Premium Leather Collection.
Now in 2017, MacCase is taking the market for Apple MacBook Pro cases and iPad Pro cases to a whole new level by introducing the MacCase Custom Program.
This is the latest in a series of interviews about the story behind the design of MacCase products, or in this case, a new MacCase program. For this interview, we are again speaking to MacCase President and Chief Creative Officer Michael Santoro about the company's new Custom Apple Laptop Cases program.
The new Custom Program will allow customers to choose a whole host of options to build a unique, one-of-a-kind case to transport and protect their Apple laptop.
Custom Apple Cases for Laptops and Tablets
JKD: This program seems to have come out of nowhere. When did you first get the idea to do custom Apple laptop cases? How long have you been working on it?
MS: It goes back quite a long way. In the early days of the Premium Leather Collection, we had a customer call and ask if we could do a complete set of leather custom Mac cases to match his Ferrari 360 Modena.
The car was the classic red with a tan interior with red stitching. He wanted one version of each of our models in tan leather with red stitching to match the interior of the 360. I spoke to our production director about it and we decided to try it.
A few weeks later we delivered a complete set of custom MacBook Pro cases, tan leather with red stitching, to this customer who was thrilled with the results. That experience planted the seed about doing more of this in the future. Well, someday is right now, so here we are.
A situation like that, with the Ferrari, just shows me that MacCase customers are special. Like the old Apple commercial about the "crazy ones", MacCase customers move the world forward.
People who live these kinds of dynamic lives know what they want. And while MacCase tries to offer a broad range of models, both in price point and style, not every Apple Mac case or iPad case solution we offer is right for every person.
Potential customers will often let us know that they really like a specific MacCase MacBook Pro case but they just wish it was offered in a different color. Or maybe they want a horizontal case to carry their iPad Pro 12.9 and they want their initials on it. Or maybe they just want one of our leather 10.5 folios in red or pink.
So they're presented with several options: Purchase a MacCase Apple laptop case that they like but maybe not love or purchase something from another manufacturer that is possibly aesthetically less pleasing but closer to the functionality they need. Quite a dilemma.
All dilemmas are really opportunities wearing a different name tag. MacCase customers are special, remember. They know what they want. I know this because they call or write and tell me. And more than a few have asked if we could make a custom Apple laptop bag for them. I thought, why not?
Meet the Custom Apple Laptop Cases Program
JKD: What changed between then and now that made you decide to start offering custom laptop cases?
MS: It's a combination of things. When we created the Apple-specific case market there was no one else doing what we were doing. Then everybody caught up. Then we moved upmarket with our Premium Leather Collection taking Apple portable protection to a whole new level.
This created another band of copycats and bandwagon jumpers who have tried to do what we do. Unlike the nylon models, I don't think they've quite caught up to our leather cases in terms of quality, engineering, and overall design. We work hard to stay out front.
I talked to a customer this morning who has been using our 17" MacBook Pro Flight Jacket since 2010. That's a 12-year-old case that he told me, gets used everyday.
Other than some wear on the pipping, the case looked brand new and will easily last another 7 years, if not longer. How many other $200 cases are lasting a decade or longer? How many $200 cases can you buy that are still aesthetically pleasing after a decade?
So we know we are building some of, if not, the best cases in the industry. Our cases last longer than the computers they are designed to carry. That's the opposite of planned obsolesce! (laughing).
You need to have that confidence in your product before you begin to offer something like what we are doing with these custom Mac cases. Our designs are proven. The protection they provide has been proven. The way they are engineered has been proven.
These very large components of product design and development are all in place. Building products with the level of quality we've achieved enables you to concretize an idea like a custom laptop case program.
If you're going to ask someone to pay a premium for a custom piece, you have to make sure you can deliver. We have the utmost confidence we will. That's a good feeling.
Custom Laptop Cases Made Simple
JKD: Yes, but how does the process start? Explain that.
MS: After speaking at length with our tannery, we developed a plan for creating custom Apple laptop cases and iPad cases for our most discriminating customers. When you visit our Custom Program page, you'll be asked to choose which MacCase Premium Leather model you'd like to base your custom Apple Mac case or iPad case on.
Once you're selected your model, you'll be asked to choose an exterior color from 3 finish options. The finish options are Smooth, Distressed, and Pebble Grain. In total, there should be 12 options to choose from for the exterior color/ finish of your Apple MacBook Pro case or custom iPad Pro case.
In addition to choosing the exterior color and texture of the leather, we are also offering the option of choosing the thread color. All MacCase Premium Leather models have contrasting white stitching on the arced panels of the design. You can choose to keep this detail or have your thread color monochromatic.
There are 5 thread color options from which to choose: Black, Tan, White, Red, and Brown. Whether you choose the contrasting white or the monochromatic, like exotic automobile interiors, choosing the thread color of your bag, sleeve, folio or jacket is a way to add a serious level of customization, creativity, and individuality to your custom build.
For the interior, three color options are offered for the liner: Black, Gray, and Tan. Once you choose the model you'd like to customize, you'll have approximately 325 options from which to build your dream Apple laptop case or tablet case. Having the ability to add an embossed monogram or company logo to your custom case expands your options exponentially.
Find Your Custom Apple Laptop Case Here
JKD: Which came first, the customers asking or the form for the customers to fill out?
MS: Several months ago we had a long-time customer call and asked if we could make a custom MacBook Pro case that used smooth black leather vs. our standard pebble grain textured hide. We used smooth black leather on our original iPad sleeve so I know we had access to it.
So, just like our Ferrari customer, I discussed it with our production director and we decided to move forward with the build. Around the same time, we had another call from another customer who was saying he loved our iPad Pro Briefcase but wanted it for his 15" MacBook Pro Touch Bar and 12.9 iPad Pro. This was a model we did not make at the time.Two calls in a row from the universe asking for custom pieces. Hmm.....
Here were these requests coming in from long-time customers who knew what they wanted and wanted it from MacCase. It was at that time that I started to think about a more formal way to present handmade, custom laptop cases to all our customers and potential customers.
JKD: What shape did that ultimately take? Are you talking about the Custom Program page on your website?
MS: All of the custom builds that we had done or were doing up until that point resulted from me talking to customers on the phone, one on one. I wanted to have a way for any customer who, after looking through the Mac Pro cases that we offered, could go to a place on our site and build a made-to-order, bespoke, custom leather Mac case at any time.
I looked at several options to do this. The ultimate would be to have a configurator similar to what they have on the luxury and exotic car sites. These are pages where you can build your dream car by choosing the exterior color, interior colors, materials, thread color, etc.
You can spin the car around in 3-D while you are doing it so it's somewhat interactive. It's fun but from a programming standpoint, very expensive to do.
While that might be the ultimate user experience, there was no way we could sign up to build something like that for an unproven program. Most of our customers and potential customers know what kind of MacCase they want. It might be an iPad Pro Folio or a MacBook Pro Sleeve or Flight Jacket.
If they're a returning customer, they know the product. If they are a new customer, they'll spend the time to get to know the product, looking at the images, watching videos, or calling and talking to me about a product.
If you know you are dealing with bright, intelligent people to start with, they will be pretty good at using their imagination to picture the case they want. What we needed was a way to present the options to them and a way for the options they chose to be presented back to us.
A form was a way for the customer to pick the base MacCase model they wanted to use for their custom Apple laptop case and all the options they would spec for the build. We could take the output and get generate a quote.
How Much Does a Custom Apple Laptop Case Cost?
JKD: So the customer doesn't see a price when they're done filling out the form?
MS: Correct. Maybe at some point, we will have all the known costs associated with the 4800+ options and combinations available. But for now, each build is unique and we treat is as such. Some details are beyond the scope of the form so giving a quote would be inaccurate and just cause confusion.
There is a lot of hand-holding that goes on with building a "one of one" piece. It's special and customers are getting a lot of individual attention. That fits within the overall MacCase aesthetic. My entrepreneurial colleagues think I'm crazy for still answering the phones myself. I think it's important to stay connected.
A small gesture like that resonates in an important way with customers. As people get conditioned to leave a voice mail and never get a callback or talk to someone who cannot answer their questions, talking to a real knowledgeable human sets us apart.
JKD: So the customer submits the form, what happens next?
MS: The short answer is we review the requirements and send the customer a draft invoice with a quote for the build. Once they review the quote they can click a link in the quote and pay for their custom Apple laptop case. We will receive the order and pencil in a production slot for their one-of-a-kind piece to be built.
It's the most efficient system we could design based on the infrastructure we had and for the most part it works. The program has been very successful and I believe we have made a lot of people very happy.
A Legacy of the Best in Apple Portable Protection
JKD: You seem to be more passionate than normal when talking about this program. What is it about this opportunity that has you so excited?
MS: MacCase has always led. From our first case for Apple's original clamshell iBook that birthed an industry to our current state-of-the-art cases, bags sleeves and backpacks for the iPad Pro12.9 and 9.7, MacCase has always represented the best in Apple portable protection.
The launch of our Custom Program takes the MacCase mission to a whole new level. With 15 models to choose from and 324 options, you've got 4860 possible ways to create the Apple laptop case of your dreams. This doesn't even include adding your monogram or logo.
If you've looked around the internet, the big box stores, and brick and mortar boutiques and haven't seen quite what you are looking for, have a look at the Custom Program page. See what's available.
Many women wish our cases came in different colors. Our Custom Program offers colors like Red, Tan, Chocolate, and Pink. These are slightly more fashionable than our standard production Black and Vintage Brown, we admit.
The point of the Custom Program is to allow you, the customer, to build the MacBook Pro case or iPad Pro case of your dreams. You chose the design, the colors, finish, interior, even the thread color. Fill out the form. Once we receive it, our design staff will review it and get back to you with a quote.
You've invested in the most expensive laptop or tablet in the world, a machine that holds information about who you are, what you do, and where you're going. Doesn't it deserve a case that equally expresses who you are? We'd love to build a case for you.
"These custom Apple laptop cases are for our most discriminating customers..."