Grove is a small team of passionate creators changing the way you think about products. We do everything ourselves from start to finish here in Portland, OR. The result is greater innovation, complete accountability, direct human relationships, and superior quality. We do whatever it takes to make the most badass products possible and we have fun doing it!
For years, Grove founders Joe Mansfield and Ken Tomita worked on their separate small design businesses. Joe did custom laser engraving and Ken built furniture. They met in 2007 by chance when their workshops ended up being across the street from one another, and were instant friends with a shared passion for quality products and smart design.
They’d often break from work to toss a football in the street and shoot the breeze, trying to one-up each other’s design ideas. One day, an impulse turned their talk into action. The plan was simple: make the best iPhone case possible, and everything else would take care of itself.
Without knowing anything about heavy machinery or even how to run a larger business, Ken and Joe took out loans, bought expensive equipment, and dove in head first. From day one, Grove’s attitude has been “GO HARD OR GO HOME.”
After nine intense months of struggling to learn a new business and wrangling a CNC machine to do their bidding, Ken and Joe finally launched their iPhone 3GS Case on April 19th, 2010.
That very same day, in a case of comically bad luck, the story broke of an intoxicated Apple engineer who’d lost his iPhone 4 prototype at a bar. Following a firestorm of coverage on the leaked design, both the iPhone 3GS and the Grove Case were suddenly old news. With months of hard work wasted, Grove was nearly never to be!
Rather than lamenting their poor fortune and listening to The Cure on repeat, Joe, Ken, and their small team stayed positive. They used that experience as a practice run, and jumped into designing the Grove iPhone 4 Case without even stopping to catch their breath...
When the iPhone 4 was released, Grove was ready. With a finished prototype based off of the leaked design, and the help of coverage on some major tech websites, they saw sales explode in a matter of days. Their luck had finally turned around!
Oh crap. Getting lots of orders was great, but now they actually had to make them! Easier said than done with no infrastructure and a woefully small crew. Friends, siblings, and parents helped out as the original Grove crew literally worked around the clock to fulfill the first round of orders.
No one had relevant experience, but the do-it-yourself spirit took over. They did whatever it took to persevere through the challenges of seeing the product through from start to finish, and that ethos continues to this day. DIY is the soul of Grove!
Our roots are in thoughtful design, quality craftsmanship, and most importantly: people. We produce a level of quality and service that big corporations cannot because we operate like a small, family business by doing everything ourselves. We believe there is value in actually manufacturing our designs instead of maximizing profits by moving production overseas. Not only are we creating jobs and livelihoods for the Grove team, but the product is better because of our intimate involvement in the entire process.
Simply put, we take pride in what we do. This attitude creates a constant drive for improvement as we continually refine our products and process. We strive to be a fun and energetic place to work, and believe that when we’re happy, our products and services will be great, and our customers will be happy, too.
Keep it simple, stupid! (or “Stupidly simple!”)
From humble origins, we built Grove ourselves with no investors, and we have no intention of ever changing that. We are a small Portland, OR based company, working to be successful in an increasingly globalized world.
We want to stay small, stay honest, and treat people with respect. The business experts keep asking us: “How can you exist?” The answer is YOU. We exist because customers like you share our values and support our vision!
Thanks for believing in us!
Joe dialed back his magnet obsession to start Grove with Ken. He's quick to share his discoveries of all that is well made and beautiful in his glass encased Idea Laboratory. He once exclaimed, “You’re too curious, man”, but we all know he was talking about himself. He can come up with a new idea before you have had time to digest the last one! He will be forever remembered for peer pressuring us to grow mustaches.
Before he started Grove with Joe, Ken believed that the world is divided into two: Either you know the truth about cilantro or you don’t. Ken is finally moving out of his mom’s house into a new underground lair known only as “The Mirror Maze” where he sleeps next to two chickens. Not only does he know all of Oregon’s secret swimming holes, but he can backflip off a waterfall and whittle a table on the way down!
It is a known fact that Ken’s brother Yuji can hit himself in the face harder than you can. A high school dropout, Yuji is a self taught wizard of the black screen. If you can dream it on a computer, he can build it out of code and pixels. He makes Grove hum from behind the scenes but once said, “What’s going on? Have we seen into the future?” Mere mortals won’t understand, but you can try to check out his tech blog!
Lives in the Fight Club house, and drives a purple-brown 1993 Cutlass Sierra. Named for the main character in “Where the Wild Things Are”, he knows everything about every movie ever made. He used to Photoshop smiles onto babies, and now he’s the Jedi Master of keyboard shortcuts. He holds his own at illustration, too.
One part model of consistency, one part pure madness, Galen manages operations while eating a chicken sandwich with string cheese on top. He’s famous for burning his architecture books while working the “death shift”. Galen’s a collector of headphones, old Volvos, junk, and vintage Curious George books. He’s so quick that he’s only half visible in all the Grove photos, and secretly writes only in the spines of birthday cards.
Our furry friend with the diagonal tongue strength tests Grove cases with his powerful jaws and thinks they taste like Ligers. Almost valedictorian at Yale in Biomechanical Engineering, his quest for perfection was derailed when he got a “C” in his improv class. Roy once said “some people like cats but nobody likes squirrels”.
The “Original Mike” is always stylin’ about town with his fancy brown “shews”, but don’t dare touch them! He’s known as “Phantom” because he’s quick like a shadow, and rocks a drawing tablet like a fox dancing with lasers. He’s got more engineering skills than Grove will ever need, and can lip sync to “Poiso~n” by Bel Biv Devoe.
Sean draws Totoros on everything he can get his grubby little bear paws on. Two things that are sure to make him weep: Harry Potter’s voice inside of a house of bees, and any Coldplay ballad. As the fearless leader of the wood shop, he outlawed horseplay though we all know he’s the king of it. As a certified instructor of Japanese callisthenics, he forces us to synchronize swim without any water!
Hawaiian born Barrett is an instant one-man dance party who bought his own robot to learn programming in order to conquer it. His Robyn ringtone once awkwardly bellowed throughout the Portland Art museum bringing smiles to the lips of all the guards and patrons. Often mistaken for a certain vegetarian actor from Astoria, “The Sleeper” can ride scooters, bake bread, harness large CNC machines, and can see a flicker of light from a mile away.
Nobody drops the zombie dance like Ginger G! Former member of the Casey Kasem cult, this lady has hitchhiked from coast to coast, and knows every Richard Marx song by heart. She’s got a voice like a thousand golden turtles. She’s the WTFB master, and catches every detail on every case. If an unknown subject comes up, she’d rather discuss the possibilities than just Googling it. Yeah!
Wendy walks the line between beat boxing, basketball and ballet. Strangely, her favorite Blazer is Wesley Matthews, but she wears a Lamarcus Aldridge jersey autographed by Andre Miller. She’s legendary for showing up for her interview at Grove the night before her final architecture review. You may encounter her if you order a custom iPhone case!
Sylvia is a modern day superhero fighting against slavery and human trafficking. She hails from Sherwood forest, slings joe at dawn, and drops blogs for Grove during the night. She’s a tireless fighter for human rights and moonlights as a television producer! How does she do it all? Is she a robot from the future?
Apples and peanut butter beware, Mary will snack you up! A top-secret illustrator by night, Mary works standing upright at her desk next to John Wayne and a holographic cat named Girlie. While her primary love is fries with lots of ketchup, she loves talking to our fans and really believes in the goodness of mankind! Who else can dance like that with rain galoshes on?
Either you love Sam 2, or you don’t. A rabid Blazers fanatic, she’s the origin of all Grove inside jokes and pranks. Don’t turn your back or you may find her in your backpack! Having recently become engaged to “the hand”, Sam 2 spends her days searching for the perfect cocktail dress. Perhaps they’ll escort Arty to the next Grove holiday party.
Schultzy's got a huge left hand from high fiving too much, and knows that the only way to keep the whippersnappers from using your Moomin mug is to make it look disgusting! He's got a sprout farm in his kitchen, and preaches the word of home-grown produce daily. He can’t help but draw cats on everything, and he also does a great old man impression... for an old man! Also, he paints night and day!
“They” say Brodie looks like a carpenter from a faraway land. This dude has lived and taught in so many countries he forgets if it was South Korea or Sudan where he grew out his locks. His nimble fingers are spindly sanding machines, and his second-favorite thing is his souped up monster-Subaru. So we wonder... why does he love riding the bus so much?
Our second Pennsylvanian, Scott once worked on a fishing boat off the coast of Alaska and was not on TV. An official mountain man and sommelier for the forest service out at Hood River, Oregon, you can often find him standing in the shadows under a Douglas Fir wearing nothing but a Sasquatch hide. Some think he was in X-Men, as it’s rumored that he cut down a blackberry bush the size of a VW bus!