Sure, we’ve all seen those iPhone covers that promise to be indestructible—which is just fine and dandy. The problem, according to David Artuso, is that most of those covers look, and feel, like a big plastic brick.
So he, along with Michael Kane and Bryan McHenry decided to do something about it.
Originally, Kane and McHenry, who cofounded cellpig.com, an online store selling cell phone accessories, strived to create an unbreakable iPhone case. They soon found it impossible to do without the unwanted bulky exterior.
Utilizing a dense polyurethane rubber, they instead came up with a sleek, modern casing that offers good protection—and backed it with a guarantee.
They call it the cellhelmet™.
If your iPhone accidentally breaks when inside a cellhelmet, the company will repair it. If the phone's not repairable, they’ll replace it.
“Our case is more protective than the average case,” Artuso said. “We basically backed it.”
The cellhelmet is the first product from cellpig, which has its origins on eBay.
Artuso, who works in product development and marketing for the company, said a $700 investment from Kane and McHenry a few years ago to sell cell phone accessories on eBay turned into a $400,000 per year business. It also led to the creation of cellpig, which today employs six people and ships products just about everywhere.
Now creating a product instead of just selling them, cellpig's cellhelmet—which began as a Kickstarter project—is a rubber shell with angled edges that help absorb shock.
On the back is an interchangeable PVC plate manufactured at
Artuso, who—like Kane and McHenry—hails from Greensburg, said it was important for the company to have the product manufactured in the Pittsburgh area. The iPhone's rubber shell, which went into production about two weeks ago, is made at a business in Latrobe.
Cellhelmet also sets itself apart from other companies with its accidental damage coverage.
Artuso said cellhelmet is the first and only company to cover the iPhone 4 and 4S against physical damage, excluding water damage. A one-time $44.99 annual fee provides one year of coverage, no matter if the phone is new, used, unlocked or jailbroken.
Phones are repaired or replaced within three days of receipt and are overnighted back to your address. A third-party coverage administrator with retail stores across the U.S. repairs the electronics, Artuso said.
He added cellhelmet is perfect for those who don’t want to pay monthly coverage premiums, or those who have expired coverage plans.
“This gives you that peace of mind that, if your phone does break, there’s a safety net,” he said.
For now, the interchangeable PVC back plates made at Allegheny Plastics come in pink, purple, green, blue, black and white.
In the future, cellhelmet may incorporate a camouflage print. There also have been requests for the American flag, Artuso said. Steelers backup quarterback Charlie Batch, who was at a Pittsburgh Tech Council event also attended by cellhelmet, suggested a Pittsburgh edition in black and gold.
“It was kind of neat to hear him talk about the product,” Artuso said.
cellhelmet already is being carried in stores, including the in Cranberry. MacOutfitters also is carrying the product at its store in downtown Pittsburgh and at its Doylestown and Warrington locations near Philadelphia. Artuso said cellhelmet also is in several Verizon-authorized retailers in New York and one in Kentucky.
To learn more about cellhelmet (and cellpig) click here.