Though I’ve been an Apple fan since the early days, I was tardy to the iPhone party. In fact, I waited until the much-touted iPhone 4 came out last June and then quietly slipped in among the masses. But my love for the iPhone has grown each day, and now that it’s gone on several trips with me, it’s become one of my ultimate travel gadgets.
I knew the first time it hit the concrete floor in a Bangkok hotel room that my precious iPhone needed a good, protective case. Enter Grove, a small and very local business out of Portland, Oregon (woot for my alma mater!) hand-making artistic, sustainable magic out of bamboo.
When my Grove iPhone 4 Case arrived in the mail, packaged in the bamboo frame from whence it was born, (and I was encouraged to “upcycle” it and show off on their Facebook page) it did not fail to impress. Grove’s iPhone 4 cases feature original artwork that is laser engraved into the back. Not to be out-Portlandia’d, they ‘put a bird on it’… mine features the delightful “Birdland” by Sven Palmowski. It’s one of many awesome designs they offer; you can also get your own creation custom-engraved on a case by Grove, if you are so artistically inclined. For extra sweet geekiness, I downloaded the matching wallpaper.
The Grove case slid easily on to my iPhone 4 in two pieces, and once it was on, it’s really just a fine sight to behold. It takes this slick, futuristic mini-machine and transforms it into a soft-edged, organic wooden framed piece of art. The fit is snug and streamlined, and personally I find it easier to grip when I’m talking then when the phone’s bare. It has a hand rubbed natural oil finish, and whatever kind of oil that is, combined I suppose with the laser’s ghostly ephemera, it smelled of smoked salmon for the first several weeks I held it up to my face. (In my world, that’s not a bad thing, though it can make me feel suddenly snackish.) The smell is fading now, and judging by my experience with other bamboo products, the case itself will wear slowly and evenly over time.
Bamboo is a super-sustainable and easily-renewable medium to work with, and being that all their products are designed and made in-house, it’s as local as you get, to boot. In their words — “no anonymous sweat shops!”
In short, the Grove case is the real deal. It’s high quality, sustainable, beautiful, functional and made by real people who live just down the road from me. I wish all products could satisfy me on so many levels. And did I mention that I my phone is now far sexier than yours?