If you know anything about Grove, you are probably aware that we like to do things ourselves, all from our single location in Portland, OR. Our woodshop and engraving studios share the same building on the east side of the city. In simple terms, the bamboo, skateboard material, or leather comes into our shop in large sheets and then leaves again in the form of bamboo iPhone cases, SkateBacks for iPhone, and Grove Notebook leather covers for Moleskines.
(See more of Max’s work at OrangeYear.com)
The first step to doing what we do is actually product development - dreaming up and designing new products is one of the most exciting things that goes on under our roof. Co-owners Joe Mansfield and Ken Tomita are designers by trade. Here at Grove, we even design our own packaging. Product designers Sean Kelly, Barrett Hafner, and Mike Dowty get in on the action, and illustrator Max Brown makes it all look nice and perty.
Once the product is designed, it’s time for the woodshop crew to bring in the material and craft it up. For our bamboo iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 cases, the material is prepared and then milled - each case is cut roughly from a sheet like a cookie. Then, our team hand-sands the cases until they are nice and smooth. To really complement the wood grain, we rub on a natural citrus oil and wax blend. The final step - after trying each case on a real iPhone, of course - is laser engraving the artist series design on the case. Finally, we package up each case and ship it to the customer, straight from our shipping desk to the post office.
You might be surprised at some of the things we do here behind the scenes, aside from the thrilling design eurekas and vigorous sanding and shipping. Some of our other hats on the Grove Team include web programmer, copywriter, photographer, customer support contact, production manager, machinist, and more. All for the love of making beautiful products!
Written by Mary Yajko. She is a Grove customer support rep and crazed blogger originally from upstate New York. She enjoys opened minds, uncontrollable fits of laughter, and large amounts of french fries with ketchup.