BYU students create high-end iPad cases

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Levi Price wanted an effective case to protect his iPad without losing any unique features of the tablet, but he didn’t like any of the cases he tried.

With the help of his friend Eric Rea, the two BYU students made their own. Together they started the company FineGrain and developed two new iPad cases, the Bowden and the Sheffield, designed to effectively protect the iPad with style.

The students are looking to raise $20,000 via Kickstarter.com to fund their first production run by Wednesday afternoon. The fund raising platform helps creative projects raise money by taking pledges from supporters in exchange for exclusive limited edition gifts. However, it is all or nothing for the young entrepreneurs.

“If we don’t hit our funding goal, we don’t get any money at all,” Rea said.

[media-credit name=”Eric Rea” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Levi Price and Eric Rea designed chic and durable iPad cases
“It’s good working with Levi, because I have way different talents and strengths than he does,” Rea said. “I have the business end of things and I don’t mind sitting at a computer all day emailing blogs and websites — I actually enjoy it.  Levi hates that stuff.”

Price, an industrial design major, and Rea, an information systems major, worked together on campus for the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences where they began brainstorming ideas of products and went into business together.

Rea said the idea to design the case was initially Price’s, who has the design mind and strengths.

“We complement each other,” Rea said. “I think that’s why it’s been so successful.”

The two have focused on making a product made from natural materials but can withstand the everyday beating the case takes. After working with mat board prototypes, the team decided on a look that gives a professional and chic look.

“We’re big on having really nice materials,” Price said. “We like materials that will last and become more beautiful with use. Wood and leather combined with metal makes the case nice looking and durable.”

The sleek and sturdy model didn’t come easily though. Price and Rea began working on the project in January and turned to industrial design assistant professor David Morgan for guidance with the next step.

“We try to help out students that like to take initiative like that,” Morgan said. “They showed me their initial concept, and we talked about how their product was going to be different from other cases that are out there. I helped critique their work and was just a soundboard for them to bounce ideas off of. They went about it great and got better with each version. It’s all their own work.”

The team became enthralled in the possibilities of their product and wanted to dedicate time to it whenever possible.

“It became a really big project,” Price said. “We quickly became passionate about it and really cared about it. We were always excited to work on it. Sometimes we didn’t want to go to bed.  We just wanted to keep working on it.”

[media-credit name=”Eric Rea” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Levi Price and Eric Rea with their iPad cases
The next week will determine whether the Bowden and the Sheffield case designs will see production right away, but no matter what happens Price and Rea see a future in design and manufacturing business together.

“The cool thing about what we’re doing is that it’s still evolving and could go any direction,” Rea said. “Both of us are passionate about design and manufacturing so it’s obviously something we’d like to do permanently, but we’ll have to see if this project holds. Either way, we’ll probably be involved in business and designing something in the years to come.”

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