They were doing well enough with their businesses (Tomita in furniture, Mansfield in design) to finance Grove themselves. Tomita brought in a high-end woodworking machine and Mansfield contributed the laser machine. They spent eight months designing a case for the iPhone 3 only to get sunk by leaked design changes to the iPhone 4. But they adapted quickly and expanded into iPad cases with good timing. Their Facebook page has 17,000 fans and they’ve received laudatory press from the popular gadget guide gizmodo.com. All of their sales are e-commerce.
They acknowledge that they are at the mercy of Apple each time a new iPhone comes out. “But we’re small enough that we can adapt quickly,” says Tomita.
They plan to keep it that way. “We really enjoy the size we’re at right now,” says Mansfield. “This is basically the dream for us.”