Carved turns a deformity into something rare and beautiful.
The business, tucked into a 100-year-old former dress factory in Elkhart, has been making wood phone cases for the past seven years.
Through much trial and error and fueled by curiosity and tenacity, Carved has created the Live Edge Phone Case.
Each case is made using a wood burl, which is a tumor that grows on a tree in the wild. A burl’s grain is not uniform or consistent, but instead a chaotic blend of swirls and color variations.
“Working with each piece is like opening a birthday present, every day” said founder John Webber.
Once they find the burl, Carved uses resin to stabilize the wood and give it additional strength and stability.
The resin and wood create a solid block that is then cut using a CNC machine.
Each Live Edge case has been precisely measured to adapt to the technology it will protect, from the grip on the sides to the button options made of brass or titanium.
“We’ve designed a way to artistically create one-of-a-kind pieces of art, but we do it at scale,” Webber said. “We’re a manufacturing company, except every single thing is one-of-a-kind. We cannot reproduce it. We can make it kind of similar, but there is crazy variety in what we do.”
Each day only about two dozen Live Edge cases are produced.
The cases are immediately photographed and instantly uploaded to their website.
Fans of Carved truly embrace their motto: “1 of One.”
“It helps sell because you think the one I’m looking at, ‘If I like it, I need to buy it or it’s going to be gone,” Webber said. “We have a lot of people who come to our website constantly because people are buying all day long and we’re uploading new ones all day long.”
Carved’s Live Edge phone cases have made their way around the globe with international purchases making up 30 percent of their sales, many from the Middle East. Webber wonders if it’s because the notion of wood and trees are unique to people in that area of the globe.
When asked why their product is special, Alex Gorsuch, custom manager at Carved, said: ”I think there is a small reflection of our humanness because every individual is special and unique and we like to see that in the cases we create.”
Webber echoes that idea.
“Most of the stuff in the explosion of products and accessories tends to be repetitively made,” he said. “No one else might own what you have, but a million of them were made all pretty identical. For our customers, and for what we like to do and are proud about making, is that kind of one-of-kind aspect. For us, it’s a really big deal.”
“Most of the stuff in the explosion of products and accessories tends to be repetitively made. No one else might own what you have, but a million of them were made all pretty identical. For our customers, and for what we like to do and are proud about making, is that kind of one-of-kind aspect. For us, it’s a really big deal.”