How to Start a Phone Case Business: The Ultimate Guide
There are more electronic devices in the world today than there are humans.
That means you have ample opportunity to grab a slice of the growing smartphone accessories market.
In particular, phone cases are easy to source and appeal to people looking to inject some individuality or extra functionality into the one device without which they can’t live.
Creating a company around designing your phone cases and selling them comes with a variety of benefits:
- Due to their small size, it is easy to hold inventory and ship.
- They are relatively inexpensive to produce.
- You can sell these online as well as in an offline kiosk.
- Print-on-demand for better margins to start with a lower risk or buy in bulk.
- Every new phone model provides a unique opportunity to cater to the 44 percent smartphone owners who update every two years.
But, as in any sector where the entry barrier is weak, there will be a rivalry. What you need to be competitive though is a slice of this vast market.
The following is a guide that addresses common questions about starting a business with a phone case, like:
- What types of cases are there for phones?
- How do I get phone-case designs?
- How do I know which phone cases/designs are going to get famous?
- Where can I sell my cases by phone?
If it sounds like a good business idea to make and sell phone cases, but you don’t know where to start, you are in the right place.
How to make and sell phone cases yourself?
There are a few things you’ll need to learn before making your phone cases, namely the types of phone cases out there, how to choose which phones you want to help, and how to develop designs.
Phone cases Types
Many phone cases are more realistic, while others are visually more appealing. Others provide security, and others are more like a second “head” than a fact.
There are various choices, but here are some of the more popular forms that will get you started.
Slim and gel cases
Slim cases are on the thinner side, and allow you to add an eye-catching design and some extra grip to a handset, often through a lightweight, rubbery gel material.
These are some of the cheapest phone cases you can manufacture and customize with designs, especially if you want to print them on-demand (more on that later).
Unlike slim phone cases, these cases usually only cover your phone’s sides/border, and are often made of a more robust, shock-resistant material to protect your phone from dings and scratches.
Bumper cases can be compact, cover only a phone’s sides, or come along with an additional piece to shield the back from scratches.
Folio or wallet cases
Folio cases have a cover folding over your phone’s front to protect the screen against dust and scratches and give the phone the look of a small notebook.
Some even have wallet-like features, such as storing cash or credit cards, while others may turn into a stand for your phone to help.
Usually, you will find these in a leathery packaging, and they will probably cost more than the slim cases, but they will also seem more realistic to customers.
Many people see buying a phone case as less an aesthetic option and more of a means of preserving the hundreds of dollars they have invested in their handset should they ever drop it.
Severe cases are more cumbersome and add more weight to a handset, which has more security for customers.
It’s important to recognize this when writing the product descriptions for severe phone cases since anything from drop tests to water resistance specifics will give customers peace of mind.
Battery life seems to be an issue no matter what phone you have these days.
While the battery cases are more costly than most phone cases, they are also very durable and offer a lot of utility when we wish we had just a little more juice.
Because these cases not only cover your phone but also provide some extra charge, examples of batteries are a good companion for phone models where the battery life is a constant complaint.
Selecting which devices to target
It’s not just about choosing what kind of phone cases you want, but about what kind of phones you want to help.
This, however, can also provide an opportunity to dig into a specific phone model based niches. If you can predict a need for upcoming phone cases or see underserved types of smartphones, you might also have an opportunity to consider them.
While the latest iPhone models are likely a safe bet, you may want to take a look at this Mobile Atlas research to see which phones are popular in the world’s regions where you want to sell.
Alternatively, in Google’s Keyword Planner or KWFinder, you can do some basic keyword research to look at search volume as a reflection of case demand for specific phone types. If you intend to market your goods using Google Ads, it’s certainly worth looking into this beforehand.
Where to get your phone case designs
Design can be one of your most significant differentiators, mainly if you sell the regular slim cases.
Tech forums like Dribbble are fantastic places for designers to browse around, depending on the aesthetics you’re looking for. If you’re searching for cost-effective projects, they can still be found at Fiverr. Especially try to look for designers who do custom phone cases.
You can also make your concept mock-ups in Photoshop or Photopea, and many telephone case print-on-demand services such as Caseapp and Printful have mock-up generators that you can use as well.
Be aware not all vendors of phone cases can print on the sides of the case. Most can just write on the back only, so make sure that during the design process, and when looking for a manufacturer, you pay attention to that.
Try to the source can different designs, so you don’t just bet on one concept, and get input as soon as possible:
- Post your designs on image-oriented social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest and use participation as an indication of interest (like share, comment). You can also spend some time promoting your designs to a larger, more critical audience, and see which ones are doing well.
- Ask family and friends for input.
- Reddit is useful for reviews if you sell to a particular niche. Post your designs in a related subreddit (r / pugs if you sell pug-owners cases), and Reddit’s anonymity will help you request user input. When your examples are finally available for purchase, you can even follow up with another post.
Talking to a market, a community of passionate about a particular interest will give you an edge in gaining attention in their designs. After all, for many people, accessories such as phone cases are simply a way of showing the world who they are.
How to get your phone cases made
Once you have some projects that you feel good about, it is time to make them come alive. Unless you are willing to invest thousands in your printing equipment, three main options are available for making your phone cases.
Use an on-demand printing service
Printful and Printify are just a few of the many services that let you print-on-demand phone cases. While selling on-demand is going to eat a little more in your margins, it also takes off your plate shipping and fulfillment, so you don’t have to keep any phone cases on hand or order them in bulk.
Suppose you sell these phone cases at your own Shopify store. In that case, these print-on-demand services can be incorporated with your online storefront, taking care of order fulfillment and customer support, so all you need to think about is sales.
Whether it’s a t-shirt, an enamel pin, jewelry or a phone case, it can be difficult to verify what designs people want. These print-on-demand services provide a low-risk way to test design ideas, particularly in slim phone cases.
Find a fabricator to work with
Seeking a distributor to partner with is the path that you’ll want to take to maximize your profits.
Alibaba provides a directory of Chinese manufacturers that make a range of phone case types from slim to folio to battery
While you’re going to have to buy in bulk with a minimum order quantity that’s between 10 and over 200 everywhere, you ‘re going to have the potential to offer better prices and make more out of every deal when each case could cost you as little as $1.
You may also partner with a local distributor to appeal to consumers interested in supporting their own country’s businesses. Anyway, first be sure to order a sample before you go in on bulk order.
It is worth noting that to make sales, you do not always need an inventory on hand. Purchases can be used to decide which phone cases you are ordering so that you are not stuck with hundreds of cases that are only not selling.
Since inventory won’t take up much room, you can invest in an offline presence to sell by setting up a kart or kiosk in a high-traffic area like a mall, if you’re comfortable about your phone cases.
Existing phone cases Dropshipping
You can use a dropshipping platform instead of making your phone cases, so all you need to think about is building a website and making sales.
The only major downside is that you will have far less control over the product and lower margins, but the inventory, delivery and distribution will be taken care of for you in return.
It’s as simple as importing Aliexpress phone cases into your Shopify store using an app like Oberlo. Read more about Aliexpress dropshipping in The Ultimate Guide to Drop shipping With Aliexpress.