Making a case for personalisation

  • Technology
  • Tuesday, 05 Feb 2013

PEOPLE have been personalising their stuff since ... well, since the time of the dinosaurs. There was Ugh putting his stamp on the family cave with his wall drawings. And his neighbour Ugh-Ugh doing the same with his dwelling.

Then, there were the WWII bomber crews with their personalised flight jackets, matching the nose art on their aircraft. And before them, there was Von Richthofen in his famously red Fokker triplane.

There are even those who would personalise their skin — or there wouldn’t be any tattoo artists, right?

Yes, personalisation is part of the human psyche. So it’s no surprise that with the rise of the smartphone and tablet computer, come the hundreds and hundreds of device covers that range from colourful to quirky to bling central.

Usually when someone buys a smartphone or tablet, the next purchase is a case that will both protect the new device, and reflect his or her personality. Or underscore a personal interest, like a videogame character or footie club emblem.

Some people even get the cover BEFORE they have bought the device. Yes, we are looking at you Tan Kit Hoong. :-D

Anyway, device owners can further indulge themselves now that popmycase — a local smart-device accessory and case maker — has entered the market with its extensive range of products. It has been in this business for less than a year.

“Women in particular often swap cases to match their clothing and accessories,” he said. “A large portion of our customer base is made up of women, something in the region of 60%, and men make up the remainder.”

“We have even received orders from grandparents who want customised phone cases featuring pictures of their grandchildren.”

popmycase has covers for most of the popular smartphones and tablets today, with prices that go from RM98 to RM120.

At any time, the company has more than 300 designs that it finds are popular with most people.

“People are always looking out for stuff that is hip and cool so we are constantly updating our designs,” said popmycase group general manager Ediyuzri Esa.

Also, popmycase wants to collaborate with local and regional artists, such as those in Singapore and Indonesia, to help come up with more exciting and unique designs for its cases.

The company engages in and relies on social media to market its products because it believes this is the best way to reach out to the younger generation who are very into personalising their gadgets.

Plus, it‘s also a quick way to highlight new designs and promotions, as well as gauge interest.

POPMYCASE’s products are made from a durable polycarbonate substance called Lexan.

This material is also used to make high-end products such as helmet assemblies for Nasa — including those used by the Apollo mission astronauts — and safety helmets for F1 drivers.

“Lexan is tough and durable, and helps ensure that our design and manufacturing techniques yield the best results,” said Josafri Johari, group managing director for the One Drop Group of companies, to which popmycase is a subsidiary.

Employing a technique called ink-embedded printing, the design is transferred onto a special sheet of film that then gets baked onto the casing.

This requires that the casings be able to withstand high temperatures — anything from 180- to 240-degrees Celsius, and this is why Lexan is used. Regular plastic casings cannot withstand such heat.

The heat transfers and traps the artwork underneath the surface of the casing. By doing this, the design and colours are bonded to the casing, so even if the cover gets scratched, the design remains.

Also, the colours will not fade or peel off with age.

Another benefit of Lexan is that the material is lightweight so you’re not making your smartphone or tablet noticeably heavier by putting this casing on.

The covers are manufactured in Penang and are transported to popmycase’s office in Shah Alam for distribution.

It invested RM2mil to acquire the technology and materials to start the business. Future plans include appointing retailers and organising various brand building activities.

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