In the case of many entrepreneurs, a business idea finds people when they least expect it. Andrew Moore, founder of Felony Case, never set out to start an iPhone case company — now, he’s grown his business into a $600 million venture.
Moore had just graduated college when the idea first came to him. Already an aspiring entrepreneur, Moore was looking to create a tangible product — the problem was figuring out exactly what that was.
After seeing a photo on Twitter of a punk-rock-inspired phone case, Moore immediately thought, “Where can I get one of these?” So, he ordered some silicone cases, a hundred metal screw studs, and began prototyping his new product.
The next thing he knew, friends, family, and strangers became interested in buying his product. “The cases were so eye-catching, they were marketing themselves,” says Moore. But Moore’s business didn’t come without its hiccups. After COVID-19 hit, the business took a hit, and he knew he had to make changes quickly, or else Felony Case would become obsolete.
After sourcing new manufacturing partners, Moore was able to cut down expenses, optimize packaging, and boost sales. Now, the company has doubled its monthly revenue — and they’re only continuing to grow.
How Felony Case Got It’s Start
“It’s a funny origin story because I never set out to start an iPhone case company,” Moore tells Starter Story in 2019. Moore was a construction delivery driver when the idea for Felony Cases first came to him. “It gave me a ton of time to listen to podcasts and I was really drawn to tech and startup-focused [podcasts].”
The desire to start a company was already there. Now, Moore just had to find a product to sell.
“In 2012, I was on Twitter and someone I followed tweeted a photo of this crazy, punk rock looking metal studded iPhone case saying, ‘Where can I get one of these?’ I had another look at the photo and thought it couldn’t be that hard to make it myself.”
So that’s exactly what he did. After ordering supplies, Moore began working on his own version of the punk-rock-inspired phone cases. After showing some friends and family the first few prototypes of the cases, Moore knew he had found his perfect product. The next step? Determining how to launch the company.
From Creation to Collaboration
Just a week after designing his first product, Moore took a trip to Miami, where he met a stranger who, coincidentally, became the inspiration for the name of the company.
“My friends and I went to a bar and ended up talking to a girl with a multicolored mohawk, bullet shell belt, ripped fishnets, and huge platform boots — a total punk rocker. She introduced herself saying, ‘I’m Melanie, but my friends call me Felony.’ That word stuck with me and ended up becoming the name of the brand.”
From there, the process of launching the business was steady. After doing his own product photography and hiring a friend to create a business logo, Moore launched an Etsy shop featuring a select few designs of his phone cases.
Felony Case soon gathered attention from bigger retail names, like Holt Renfrew and Apple, and partnered up with celebrities like Hailey Bieber, Devin Brugman, and Tash Oakley. The company even collaborated with musician The Weeknd to design an exclusive line of phone cases.
Though it was a small beginning, Moore believed having a lean business plan was beneficial. “One big takeaway I can tell other entrepreneurs looking to start a company is to just start,” Moore explains. “The longer you sit around and mull over ‘what could happen,’ the longer you aren’t out there, getting feedback and selling your product.”
Sourcing New Manufactures to Boost Sales
Felony Case was on a roll, and when it seemed nothing could stop them, the pandemic brought some sudden challenges for the company. Retail stores were shutting down, and Moore knew he had to act fast to save the business — so, he began his search for new sourcing partners.
“I ended up finding a new partner facility that produces 90% of our case styles at about half the cost of what we were previously paying.” Now, Moore only had to deal with one salesperson, which reduced the time he was previously spending dealing with international suppliers.
The next step was boosting sales.
As Amazon experienced a boom during the pandemic, Moore saw an opportunity to open an Amazon FBA, which opened up another revenue stream. “I knew Amazon had high intent search volume and we sell one of the most competitive products on the platform, so I saw it like a beast that had to be tackled.”
Now, with a new sourcing partner and additional online retail space, Moore and his team revamped their packaging and design — ditching expensive, economically unsuitable cardboard boxes for zip-tip poly bags.
Suddenly, Felony Case saw a rapid increase in sales — and a massive cut in expenses.
Maintaining Flexibility Amidst a Competitive Market
While Moore knew he was entering a highly competitive market, his focus on maintaining the uniqueness of the product helped his business out from the crowd. Even during the pandemic, Moore looked for more ways to optimize, scale, and grow the company’s profitability.
Since then, the company looks ahead to scale as they experience more explosive growth. Much of that has to do with Moore’s continued commitment to the product itself, as well as his ability to always be optimizing and think outside the box.