In the beginning...
From the beginning, Carved has been about doing something new. In early 2011, John Webber wanted to make a wood case for his iPhone 4S. His background was in e-commerce, not manufacturing. Grant Sassaman was better at making things. He became the first employee and the two of them started work together to figure out how to craft such a case.
John bought a CNC machine. They put an ad on Craigslist to find someone to teach them how to use it. For six months, they used trial and error to craft something they could sell. It took six months and a lot of work, but the first product was launched Dec. 9, 2011.
The first product was a skin made from wood veneer that you could stick on the back of a phone. We started selling front and back skins for the iPhone 4, iPad 2 and Kindle Fire.
Customers learned that adding a bumper that was popular at the time to deal with Apple’s antenna issues helped protect the iPhone a bit more and created a two-part case. So Carved started selling polycarbonate bumpers to help its customers.
A friend of John’s suggested putting the two together and in mid-2012, the first true cases with wood became available.
We quickly realized that the iPhone 4 skins were what people really wanted so we focused our efforts on perfecting our product and designing new engravings and inlays.
Throughout 2012 we expanded our lineup to include the new iPhone 5. In 2013 we added the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4, iPad Mini and iPod Touch.
Wanting the holy grail
We were still obsessed with crafting a solid wood case. Wood is beautiful, but to make a case thin enough, we struggled with keeping them from breaking. We found ways to stabilize the wood and craft better designs and in 2014, after 2½ years of work, we sold our first solid wood case. Just as we do now, we lined it with felt. We used brass buttons made across town. We were thrilled to have something to sell, but kept working at how to do more cool stuff.
A customer sent a block of wood that filled in the knots and edges with resin and asked if we could make a case out of it. The block was too small, but we cut off a slice and put it on the back of a plastic case, just like our other cases. When we posted a photo of it to Instagram, our customers hearted it — a lot — and we knew we had something.
We started using clear resin with solid wood to make two-piece cases that slid on a phone. We said, “This is really, really cool.”
You have phones. We craft cases (and other cool stuff for them).
As phones change, we work to find the best ways to put beautiful and protective cases on them. In 2014 we also added the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S5. In 2015 we added the Google Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. In 2016 we launched wood cases for the iPhone SE, Galaxy S7 (and S7 edge) and the Nexus 6P.
In 2015 we released our Wood Dock + Amp. Using what we learned from making cases, we were able to produce a stand and natural speaker for your phone.
We did a lot of other cool stuff in 2015, but we can't completely remember. It was a crazy year.
This has been the best year of our lives. (until next year, of course)
The one thing you can count on is that things will change and 2016 brought a ton of changes to Carved.
We had started the business in a shop behind a Menard’s and next to the Indiana Toll Road in Elkhart, Ind. We outgrew that and really needed a spray booth and air conditioning, so we moved to a building that had that in Goshen, Indiana.
We found this 100-year-old building in Elkhart that had been a dress factory. You can see some photos on Instagram and in this gallery of the renovation. We’ve worked hard to make it the best place to make and ship phone cases. We love our new home, which also has a boutique and coffee shop. (As well as a pool table, workout equipment and a collection of dogs that come to work with us. But if you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, you already know that.)
We needed space to fuel our creativity, but also to help us grow and react quickly when you buy from us. When you order your Carved case, we make it to order and often get it shipped the same day.
We launched our Seaside Collection, cases made from real shell and mother of pearl. The Seaside Collection has been one of our most popular launches ever!
We launched our first couple artist collaborations with Kerby Rosanes and Katy Lipscomb. We love working with these amazing artists to get their work on wood that you can put on your phone.
We’ve completely redesigned our Solid Wood Case to be a single piece slide-on style. When the iPhone 7 & 7 Plus launched on September 7, 2016, we had cases ready to sell.
A big move and launching new products were big, but we were also thrilled to make this year’s INC 500 list of fastest growing companies in America! We were ranked 270 because of growing sales nearly 1,500 percent over the last three years.
We have always been dedicated to providing ridiculously great customer service and we have the customer reviews to prove it. Read through some of our testimonials and reviews and you’ll see proof that we are dedicated to making a quality product and doing whatever we can to take care of our customers.
We are excited about the future and are continually working on new product ideas. We can’t wait to show you the new stuff we’re working to launch and will tell you about it as soon as we make it perfect. Keep up with what we are doing — really and truly doing — on Facebook and Instagram.
To all of our customers who have helped us get here today, thank you! Some of our best ideas have come from you. We couldn't have done all this without you, we are really proud to call you a customer and we hope you'll stick with us for the long haul!