Shark Tank Contestant cellhelmet Launches Custom Graphics Options for Personalized Cell Phone Accessories
A decade ago, cellhelmet’s founders came up with the first cell phone case with a screen repair guarantee. In 2013, they debuted their idea on “Shark Tank.” The company grew, expanding its products to include other mobile phone accessories sold through its website and in more than 3,000 retail outlets.
We talked with Lee Terkel, cellhelmet’s executive VP, about the Pittsburgh, PA-based company’s latest venture: custom-printed cell phone cases and power banks — including a collaboration with marine wildlife artist and conservationist Guy Harvey.
Tell us how cellhelmet went from Shark Tank to selling its products online and in more than 3,000 stores?
Lee Terkel: cellhelmet came to market with a very unique value proposition guaranteeing the performance of our products. After the Shark Tank appearance, the company really took off. We now employ more than 50 people, and we’re adding new products every year.
Q: Why did you decide to offer custom-printed graphics on your products?
A: Terkel: If you look at the cell phone accessories market, it’s becoming increasingly commoditized. Personalization and customization are huge trends, and we wanted to offer our clients the ability to express their personality and passions on our products.
Q: How did you select your equipment for customized printing?
A: Terkel: Beyond incredible color and quality print, we wanted durable print technology. Scalability was also a factor — we wanted a company that offered printers of different sizes so we could increase our production as needed. We chose the Roland DG (Booth C8930) LEF2-300, a 30" UV printer. Roland DG has a great reputation for reliability, it offers several sizes of UV printers, and the print quality is outstanding.
Q: How have your new customized and print-on-demand offerings been received?
A: Terkel: We’ve seen very positive growth in our custom orders. People are really looking for the opportunity to express themselves, with their own design or photo, one of our designs, or with an organization or brand they support.
Q: Tell us about your partnership with Guy Harvey.
A: Terkel: We are honored to have been selected by Guy Harvey to produce their cell phone accessory offerings. We went through rigorous testing, and the Foundation’s representatives were very pleased with the color matching and the precision printing we are able to provide.
These custom-printed products are available on our site and through the Foundation. A percentage of the sales go to the Foundation to support its ocean conservation efforts.
Q: Do you offer custom printing for businesses as well?
A: Terkel: We manufacture custom-printed SKUs and logos for companies, and we’ve also produced custom items for special events and fundraisers with images of our local community. The LEF’s capabilities really provide us with a customization engine to print almost anything.
Q: What lies ahead for cellhelmet?
A: Terkel: To date, we’ve been squarely focused on accessories for cell phones. In the future, we’re looking at serving additional markets. We often find ourselves thinking about other items that we could customize that would excite people.