iPhone cases a big hit in local market
Dave Gatto, chief executive officer of Incase, an exclusive partner of Apple and the world’s first designer of iPod cases, sees Korea as a crucial distribution hub for expansion into other parts of Asia.
Gatto believes Korean consumers of Apple products have a great appetite for high-quality products featuring sophisticated designs.
Although the new iPhone 5 hasn’t arrived in Korea yet, some avid Apple fans are already preparing for the new handset by snapping up accessories made by Incase.
As the U.S. company lacks a legal entity representing it in Korea, its official distributor serves like a branch and is tasked with helping expand its products to other Asian countries, Gatto said in a recent interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily.
Q. How do you assess Incase’s performance in Korea?
A. We are pleased to see the positive reception and excitement for Incase in Korea. We know that our success in the region would not have been possible without a strong distribution partner like PR1ZM, so we are very appreciative for all the continued effort they have put forth in introducing Incase to the Korean market and making it a successful and reputable brand in the region.
What about local consumers’ sense of aesthetics?
Korean consumers’ - particularly Korean consumers of Apple products - appetite for high-quality, well-designed products is as great as anywhere in the world. We’re happy to be considered a brand of choice by this market. Some of the locally designed products [by Korean case makers] are quite interesting and we’re excited to see the market grow and evolve.
What was your first impression when you saw the iPhone 5?
We, like everyone else, were excited once Apple unveiled it. Our design team is always “ideating,” meaning we are constantly thinking of ways to bring fresh ideas and innovation to our products. You’ll definitely see more for iPhone 5 from us in the future.
What can we expect?
The Slider Case and Snap Case are core Incase styles that we chose to include in our first wave of products for iPhone 5, because we knew they are what our customers expect and want. Of course, we have much more planned for iPhone 5 that we are looking forward to introducing in the near future.
How do you choose the colors and textures?
Our creative teams work to create themes across our product categories, strategically mapping out colors, textures and finishes based on informed intuition and what we see in the worlds of technology, art, design and fashion as well as manufacturing.
Because we create both seasonal products, like packs and bags, and device-driven solutions, such as cases for Apple products, this often means working to very different calendars.
For example, our bag lines are typically created on an 18-month seasonal calendar, whereas our device-driven solutions are designed and developed to varying timelines, since the product lifecycles are dependent on Apple.
We work to bring balance and create continuity between the two types of products by creating color and material stories or palettes that can be found in both our packs and bags and device-driven products.
How would you explain the design language of Incase?
Since the founding of Incase, our design language has always been about being simple, intuitive and innovative, and I think that is what makes our design philosophy resonate well with the Apple user.
We endeavor to provide the consumer a better experience through good design.
That experience can be enhanced in many ways and is always a balance of aesthetics and functionality. Products don’t make it into our line unless they achieve that balance.
Your collaboration with Andy Warhol’s art was very popular here. Any such similar projects in the pipeline?
We are continuing our partnerships with Marc by Marc Jacobs, which is exclusive to Apple retail, and also [contemporary U.S. graphic designer Frank] Shepard Fairey. As well, we have a number of exciting partnerships coming in 2013 that we can’t announce just yet.
How else do you plan to expand your business?
We just recently launched the EO Travel Collection, a new line of carry-on luggage designed for short-duration travelers who rely on their technology. This is another relevant extension to our existing line of products, bringing together technology and mobility in a very natural way through travel solution.
By Song Su-hyun [email@example.com]