By RAVINA PATEL AND STEPHANIE SUN
In a day and age when phones are getting more expensive and prone to breaking or cracking, phone cases are a necessity. Having a case is not only a way to protect your precious cell phone, but also a way to express yourself. Phone cases come in many different shapes and designs, and people use them as a way to accessorize their devices and to display their interests or love for art. Just as many people enjoy buying phone cases for the artwork, creators enjoy having others appreciate their work. A few University High School (UHS) students have discovered this creative way to showcase their art by drawing their original designs on iPhone cases. Suaney and Sentry are both student run businesses that feature art on phone cases, and they have both been quite successful.
Suaney, a phone case company created by Anne Jang (So.), Courtney Le (Jr.) and Susan Lee (Jr.), began selling $10 iPhone 5, 5s and 6 cases in December of 2014. The three often doodle on the margins of papers, and Jang suggested transferring the drawings onto phone cases. The name Suaney was created by combining the designers’ first names. When asked about the inspiration for each case, Lee said, “I love to design. Designing things and creating new ideas were always my favorite things to do, so I felt like the cases could help me express different things that I normally couldn’t.” The girls also collaborate on designs during their free time, drawing inspiration from hobbies including music, movies, sports, Pinterest and unique patterns.
To make each case, the design is first sketched onto a template. The design is then copied by hand onto a blank phone case using permanent marker and finished with a coat of varnish. The varnish is similar to a film over the plastic, which dries into a hard coat and appears glossy. hen asked about the case making process, Le said, “The plastic is smooth and the permanent markers already don’t stay on the plastic for very long, so the varnish was only able to stay on for a few days because of the amount of times people pull their phones out of their pocket, which rubs off the coat and the marker.”
The Suaney designers are currently upgrading the varnish coat to avoid chipping, smearing of the design and make the cases better quality overall. They plan to shift from varnish to sublimation printing. When asked about the transition, Jang said, “Recently we have developed our product and have begun contacting sublimation printing companies, who use a printer and heat to transfer an image onto plastic, paper or fabric.”
Suaney has received positive feedback on their designs and cases as a whole, as well as a substantial amount of orders. Leili Golian (Jr.) said, “It was wonderfully designed and it looked like a professionally produced product!”
Sentry Cases is another student-run phone case company at UHS. Ethan Soong (Sr.) created Sentry Cases in February to sell iPhone 5 and 5s cases for $10, and iPhone 6 cases for $12. Sentry Cases began as a way for Soong to express his love for drawing and learn the process of selling his own art. Soong’s main motive for creating Sentry Cases was to offer people something original — phone cases that were not printed with generic graphic designs but actually hand-drawn by people. Soong’s designs are drawn on clear or white cases with Sharpie paint pens and completed with a clear coat finish. His designs range from abstract shapes to talking food. The cases are all waterproof, proven with a photo of his cases in the rain on Sentry’s Facebook page.
Presently, Soong is only selling to UHS students, but he plans on selling them to a much larger market online and is currently having a website made in order to take more orders. As for Sentry Case’s social media pages, its Facebook page has nearly 100 likes already in less than a month, and its Instagram account has over 60 followers.
A sentry is a guard, tasked with keeping watch and protecting others. “In this situation, the cases allow people to buy cheaper cases that aren’t made by companies solely for profit,” Soong said; in a way, it “shields people from unoriginal, over-priced cases.”
Madison Chen (Sr.) and Debbie Yuen (Jr.) have been helping him create the cases. Yuen, who helped Soong make the website, said, “I really like Sentry’s case designs because they are creative and innovative, but most of all, I like how Ethan works so hard, putting his heart into something he is passionate about.”
If you are interested in purchasing cases from either company, they can be contacted through their Instagram accounts, @suaney.official and @sentry_cases, their Facebook pages, Suaney and Sentry Cases, their Emails, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com or their websites, https://sites.google.com/site/suaneyofficial/home and http://sentrycases.weebly.com/.