Your Personalized iPad Case - Build Yours Here!
The latest in a series of interviews about the story behind the design of MacCase products or in this case the new MacCase Custom Program.
The new MacCase Custom Program allows customers to choose a whole host of options to build a unique, one of a kind, personalized iPad case to transport and protect their Apple tablet. For this interview, we are again speaking to MacCase President and Chief Creative Officer Michael Santoro.
JKD: You speak a lot about wanting to build the best. What makes these the best custom leather iPad cases?
MS: We use some of the finest hides. Each piece is literally handmade by a single crafts person. The customers gets to choose from over 4800 options and receives this beautifully crafted, one of a kind piece. If you're someone who appreciates this sort of thing, these are the best custom iPad cases of their kind, period.
JKD: The MacCase Custom Program was designed to deliver a heretofore level of personalization for Apple portables. What kind of response has it received?
MS: It's been overwhelming actually. The requests are pouring in. It took over a week to catch up on all the submissions. We know we have some of the most creative, dynamic people in the world using our products.
We just didn't know that, if given the chance to build a personalized Mac case or iPad case of their dreams, if they'd want to. With the amount of custom case submissions coming in every day, we can say the answer is yes!
JKD: Is this a surprise?
MS: You never know the response you're going to get. Life is about taking chances, taking risks. Some of those risks fail. Not everything you do in life works out. Hopefully you learn from the failures and apply that to the next risk you take. We've had our share of failures but sometimes things work out.
At least initially, customers seem to be responsive to creating a custom leather iPad case that not only meets their needs but has a unique, one-of-a-kind aesthetic that is truly personal. That's exciting.
Your Personalized iPad Case - Decisions, Decisions
JKD: I know we've talked before about the Program launch. Can you give us some background on how things took shape? What were some of the challenges?
MS: Sure. When MacCase was planning the Custom iPad Case program, we reviewed dozens of potential colors for exterior hides, interior fabrics and even thread colors. Along with the colors for exterior hides, we reviewed exterior finishes.
Leather can be finished in almost an infinite variety of gloss levels, smoothness, textures and tones. Even metallic finishes are available. As the options were discussed, I kept coming back to the core values of MacCase Design: Authenticity, timelessness, quality, a drive to build the best and an original sense of style.
The challenge was how to narrow down the options so the program could make financial sense, but yet still offer a broad range of colors and finishes that customers could be truly expressive and creative with.
Of course we would offer the 2 production colors and finishes, pebble grain black and distressed, vintage brown. They we already in the system and were very popular. But what other options should be offered?
When the Premium Leather Collection was first launched 10 years ago, there were 7 color options in the line including Chocolate, Red, Pink Tan, and even a warm, almost white Cream. While these colors sold well, they didn't sell nearly well enough to keep the tannery busy tanning hides in these colors. Eventually they were dropped but not forgotten.
JKD: What criteria was used to pick the final colors and finishes?
MS: Some were easy as we were getting customers who were already asking for smooth hides, smooth black, smooth chocolate browns, etc. So we knew these were going to be on the list.
Because our production color palette of pebble grain black and distressed brown tends to lean more towards the masculine side of the spectrum, I wanted to make sure we had some options for women who may have always admired our designs but wanted something a lot more fashionable than black or what you like to call "cowboy brown", (laughing).
So Red, Pink, Tan, and Chocolate Brown were added to the assortment in various finishes as well.
This opens up the spectrum to what's possible and allows someone who was not in love with black or distressed brown to build a personalized iPad case that looks like the case they see in their minds eye. This is at the heart of what the program is all about.
People feel really close, almost an emotional connection, to their Apple products. Through our Custom Program, a customer can create and we can build for them, a custom leather iPad case that they can be in love with.
The responses to the mock up images that the customers receive as part of the Custom Program form submission are purely emotional. I have never seen this level of emotion from customers. It's great to see this kind of response and to have them so involved in the process. Again, this is what the program is all about.
Personalized iPad Case Examples
JKD: Can we look at some of the pieces you've created?
MS. Sure. The first shipment was dominated by Premium Leather iPad cases and covers. There were a few customers who had us build some wonderful cases for their 15" MacBook Pro, but the majority of the pieces were Premium Leather iPad cases and covers for the 9.7 and 12.9.
Once of the most unique and best pieces was a Premium Leather iPad Pro 9.7 Sleeve finished in pebble grain pink with a unique, embossed logo. This was a highly personalized leather iPad case.
The customer supplied artwork for the logo from which we crated a die of her name. The embossed logo worked out beautifully. She was thrilled with the results. This went beyond a monogram. It was a bit pricier but in the end worth every penny to it's owner.
Another unique piece was another pink model, this time a 9.7 Folio. The combination of the buttery soft pink leather and the white stitching gave the case a real adult, upscale quality. The gray interior carried the softer look into the interior and will make the perfect match to an iPad Pro 9.7 with a white bezel.
Personalized iPad Pro Cases - A Surprise
JKD: Have there been any surprises regarding what people are asking for?
MS: Most definitely. One of the wild card colors we choose to include was Blue Vintage. I cannot say what the impetus was for choosing it only that over the years customers have asked for a personalized leather iPad case in Navy Blue or Baby Blue. So I had a sense that a blue might do well.
The Blue Vintage is a rich, deep color with all the character of our distressed, vintage hides and looks exceptionally beautiful against white stitching. This color has been a very popular choice so far, whether it's a custom leather iPad case or a full shoulder bag bundled set.
Several of the Premium Leather iPad cases and covers were spec'd in the newly popular blue vintage. This is a truly one of a kind color for one of a kind pieces.
Each area of a given hide is different so when the panels are cut and assembled, no two cases will be alike. This guarantees anyone purchasing one of these handcrafted works of art is indeed getting a truly bespoke case.
JKD: Do you have an example of these?
MS: Yes. For the blue vintage we did a few iPad Pro 12.9 Folios and two 13" Flight Jackets for the MacBook Pro and no two were the same. One customer had his entire name embossed into the leather that makes up the pocket for the Apple pencil. This looked both stylish and professional. Again, a highly very personalized leather iPad case.
Customers have asked what the blue vintage looks like in person. It's an even harder color to photograph than our famous vintage brown. In some light is looks almost purple, or lapis blue.
In others, it becomes much lighter in tone than you thought it was originally. What we've yet to see is what it will look like when it patinas in. Hopefully, the lucky customers who get one will send a photo or two after a few months so we can have a look.
One thing that makes the blue vintage, and to a certain extent the brown vintage as well, so perfect for Premium Leather iPad cases and covers is the amount of character the hides contain. Slight shifts in color and hue, varying amount of oil, marks, scraps, and other details, even a shifting level of glossiness all combine to create deep, rich interactive experience with your case.
This of course, is juxtaposed against the cold, clinical precision of the iPad itself. With it's near seamless tolerances and hard metallic and glass surfaces the iPad can be a forbidding thing to try and hold let alone carry. Wrapping it a MacCase Premium Leather iPad Pro 12.9 Folio changes the experience entirely. It warms it up, humanizes it and makes it a joy to carry and transport.
JKD: Have there been other colors that have surprised you?
MS: I wouldn't say the other colors have been a surprise as much as a confirmation. Chocolate brown in both the pebble grain and smooth finish has been popular as well as the pink as we discussed.
JKD: What about models? What models are people looking to customize?
MS: Offhand I would say half of the requests that have come in are for a custom leather iPad case for the 9.7 in one form or another followed closely by requests for custom iPad Pro 12.9 and 10.5 cases. Folios lead the way.
Again, the iPad is a much more personal experience because you touch it differently than you do say, a laptop keyboard. So seeing so many requests to personalized leather iPad Pro Folios is not a surprise.
JKD: You offer monogram services as part of the Program. Are customers choosing this option?
MS: Yes, overwhelmingly so. I would say the run rate for monogrammed leather iPad cases, personal logos and company logos is about 90% of the quotes we are doing. One really positive aspect to our Program is that if you choose to get a custom die created for your handmade leather iPad case or other other model, we keep the die.
So if in the future, you order another handmade case, we can add your logo to the new case at a minimal cost. That is a huge value added for our long term, loyal customers who participate in this program more than once.
JKD: Are there any other peices that have come in that you'd like to show?
MS: Another unique piece that a handmade, ditressed iPad Pro 12.9 Sleeve. The customer asked if we could add some D-rings to the rear exterior panel and include a shoulder strap with the build.
This was not hard to do as we use D-rings extensively on our Flight Jacket models. But instead of the 4 that we use on our Flight Jackets, the customer spec'd only 2 on the opposite ends of the rear panel.
This customer had a very clear idea how they wanted to carry their 12.9 and we worked with them to make their vision a reality. That is what the MacCase Custom Program is all about: Fully personalized leather iPad cases.
Overall, the depth and scope of the custom Premium Leather iPad cases and covers that customers ordered was quite impressive. No two were remotely alike. Everyone here tried to deliver exactly what the customer had in their minds eye when they placed their order.
If you're interested in having us create a custom laptop or tablet case for you, your company or organization, please visit our Custom Program page and submit a build. We'd love to see what you come up with.
"We build the personalized iPad case that the customer sees in their minds eye..."