The Story of Twig Case Co.
Twig Case Co. started in October 2011. Apple had just released the iPhone 4. One of our two founders, John Woodland, had purchased the new iPhone, and also found a beautiful bamboo case he liked from a well-known Portland company. That case broke with regular use within the week. He purchased another. It also split apart and broke. The response from the company was, "it happens". Tired of throwing good money after bad, he purchased another very nice wood case from a UK manufacturer. It broke in 3 days. The wood cracked and split, literally falling apart in his hands. A few other attempts at finding a case made out of natural materials failed similarly.
Woodland, with his extensive history in guitar design and repair, was designing the first ever Forest Stewardship Council certified guitar for Martin Guitars around this time. This guitar was to be the signature model for Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, and used only FSC® materials in its construction.
One of the sustainable materials used was Richlite, a layered paper surface that was dense, impervious to water, humidity, and temperature changes, while also resistant to wear, and amazingly consistent to machine. Richlite was to be used in the fingerboard and bridge, two points of high wear and stress. These parts were usually made from ebony and rosewood, two woods that were in high demand, and usually came at the price of illegal logging, deforestation, and great ecological cost to animal and other plant species. As it had the feel of fine dense ebony with additional durability, Richlite made a fine replacement for these scarce woods.
It occurred to John that Richlite would make a fine case for an iPhone, without all the problems of wood. At this point he called his friend, designer Jon Lucca, and they tossed the idea back and forth. After some scribbled designs, calls to Richlite for some more sample material, and a number of prototypes ranging from a crude iPhone shaped pocket chiseled into a block, 3D printed designs, and some prototypes made by local machine shops, the Paper Case was born.
Twig Case Co. started with a focus on sourcing as much as possible in Minnesota, including illustrators such as our friends from the Twin Cities and neighboring towns.
The Twig Case Co. store went live on July 4th, 2012, and a few months later was briskly selling iPhone cases all around the world. Twig Case Co. iPhone cases have been purchased by employees at Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google, made custom lines for several well-known national stores, met a million cool people & sold cases to many of them... and every competitor.
We're flattered. And we're still stronger than wood.
TL;DR: Video about how we got our start from designing a guitar
John Woodland has since left Twig Case Co. to focus on family and other business, and Jon Lucca now runs Twig Case Co. in Waseca, Minnesota, where he lives with his wife and dogs. When he is not making something out of recycled materials, he designs and illustrates, works in animal rescue, plays in a couple bands, and attempts to maintain an organic garden.