In a market flooded with generic phone cases, have you ever felt the pull to create something unique? With the US phone accessory market gearing up to reach $75.62 billion by 2026., there’s a vast audience seeking more than just the ordinary. This is your cue to make your own phone cases—ones that resonate with individual style and still provide top-notch protection.
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Why start a phone case business?
Starting a custom phone case business has undeniable perks:
- You have the flexibility to sell phone cases online or from a physical kiosk.
- Their compact nature makes inventory and shipping a breeze.
- Production costs are typically on the lower end.
- You can opt for print-on-demand for minimal risk, or buy in bulk to boost profit margins.
- Each new phone model opens doors, especially considering that 44% of smartphone users upgrade every two years.
Is a phone case business profitable?
Starting a phone case business can be a lucrative venture in the online space. Personalized phone cases, in particular, maintain an enduring appeal.
Recent data from Technavio highlights the growing demand: with a 6.86% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), the phone case market’s value is projected to increase by $13.33 billion between 2023 and 2027. Such a trend underscores the abundant opportunities awaiting ecommerce entrepreneurs.
From an operational standpoint, phone cases present fewer headaches. They’re durable, leading to fewer returns. Their lightweight nature ensures affordable shipping, and the profit margins can be appealing. Consider sourcing a phone case for $5 and selling it for over $10, achieving a neat 50% profit.
And the icing on the cake? Launching a phone case business requires minimal upfront costs. Set up an online store, integrate a dropshipping application, and you’re all set to begin in just a few hours.
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 diving into phone case design. Take a look at:
- Gel cases: Slim gel cases are easy to customize with a range of designs. They 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.
Devices to make custom cases for
When starting your phone case business, another crucial decision is determining which phone models you’ll support. By targeting specific models or perhaps underserved smartphone niches, you open doors to unique market opportunities. For instance, spotting a demand for cases for an upcoming phone can position you ahead of the competition.
As you embark on your custom phone case journey, here are some key devices to consider:
- iPhone X
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 14
- iPhone 14 Pro
- iPhone 14 Plus
- iPhone 15
- iPhone 15 Plus
- iPhone 15 Pro
- iPhone 15 Pro Max
Samsung Galaxy models:
- Galaxy Z
- Galaxy F
- Galaxy S
- Galaxy A
- Galaxy M
- Mi 9
- Mi 10
- Mi 11
- Xiaomi 11
- Xiaomi 12
- Xiaomi 13
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 direct your business processes, determining which kinds of materials you’re going to use and which suppliers you can work with. For instance, you could consider making phone cases using sustainable or recycled materials.
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?
Look 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.
Conduct 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 and TikTok are great places to find phone cases trending amongst audiences.
2. Determine your target audience
Determining your target audience is crucial for online sales. The right phone case design demands the right buyer. For instance, if you design a case inspired by various shades of nail polish, understanding who’s drawn to such designs becomes paramount.
Dig deep into data like:
- Age range
- Daily routines
- Spending habits
Methods to gather this information vary between businesses. Many businesses tap into social media. Facebook Audience Insights can shed light on your potential customers. Others prefer a direct approach, reaching out and surveying their current customer base.
Different demographics have unique preferences. Younger audiences might gravitate toward designs inspired by trending nail polish colors. They might also, however, have budget constraints. Middle-aged buyers might invest in more durable cases, focusing less on design and more on function.
3. Design some phone cases
With your target audience set, 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.
4. Create a unique online brand
A brand refers to your identity or personality as a business. You can convey this through 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.
5. Source your phone cases
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 Alibaba 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 DSers 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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 promotional strategies can cost a fortune, while others are more affordable. Here are some tips to keep it lean and mean:
Leverage social media
Share vibrant phone case designs that resonate with trending topics or pop culture. A case themed on a recent blockbuster movie, for instance, can draw a lot of organic interest.
Engage through email
Craft engaging newsletters showcasing your newest designs. Send out a monthly “Phone Case Spotlight” or special offers, ensuring subscribers eagerly await your emails.
Collaborate with influencers
Find a YouTuber or TikToker in the tech or fashion space. A single review or unboxing video of your unique phone case can bring thousands to your storefront.
Strategize social media advertising
Target specific groups, like comic book fans, with ads for cases that carry their favorite characters. Facebook or Instagram are ideal platforms for such targeted campaigns.
Invest in paid ad campaigns
Consider running Google Ads with compelling taglines such as, “Your Phone’s New Best Friend.” A well-placed ad can significantly boost visibility and sales.
How much does it cost to start a phone case business?
Launching a phone case business doesn’t always require a huge budget. Setting up your business name and getting the necessary permits might set you back about $400. Insurance, often overlooked, is vital; a basic policy can cost around $190.
Branding, even on a budget, makes a difference. With around $230, you can get professional-looking business cards and brochures. For your online presence, affordable or even free website platforms can help you start, costing approximately $500.
If you’re considering a dropshipping model, you eliminate inventory costs. However, you’ll want good design software. Open-source options or cost-effective subscriptions can come in at about $600. Overall, with strategic decisions, you might be launching your business for around $1,720.
Starting a custom phone case business in 2024
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.
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