I’m the not-so-proud owner of an iPhone 4S with a crack screen. Although my phone was cradled by a case, it was no match for a low window sill that made contact with my glass screen. There are a number of options for phone protection, including the Otter boxes that some swear by, but there are others that wouldn’t dare put their beautifully designed Apple product in a case and boldly take it around naked.
Husband and wife duo Jennifer and John Maley have a stylish solution for lovers of iPhones, eReaders, MacBook Pro’s with luxurious merino wool. They’re still on the hunt for a fabric in the states to work provide a completely American product, until they’ve found an excellent fabric source in Germany. If you’re looking for a custom solution, with measurements of your favorite device, they’re happy to accommodate. I asked a few questions of the Maleys for Sartorial Exposure readers and they’ve been happy to oblige. Check out their website for more details.
On starting wellput:
When we bought a MacBook Air about two years ago, we also tried to buy a sleeve for it. Despite there being many sleeves for them on the market, they pretty much all suffered from one or more issues: too expensive, too bulky, too ugly, not formfitting enough, or just not good enough. It became obvious that what we really wanted was probably going to have to be made on our own or we’d just have to settle for a not-quite-right sleeve. Well, we like to make things. And we don’t like to settle.
On the decision to use German merino?
We’re using wool felt because it has several great qualities that other typical protective fabrics like neoprene can’t really touch, particularly its almost architectural character – it cuts, folds, and sews super cleanly, more comparable to machining wood or metal than fabric. But at the same time, wool felt is amazingly inviting and touchable. We love the juxtaposition of the super soft classic material with our starkly high tech aluminum and glass devices. And it’s got lots of ecological advantages over most synthetic material, like its low-impact production process and the fact that it’s completely renewable. Hooray, sheep!
As for using German merino wool specifically? Basically, it’s the best. Synthetic/acrylic felt doesn’t feel good to the touch (try wearing an acrylic sweater), so 100% wool was always our choice. There are actually some mills in the U.S. producing 100% wool felt and those were our first choice (an end-to-end U.S.-based product was – and is – our goal), but the colors and textures available are primarily geared toward industrial uses. Germany, though, has a long tradition of using felt for all kinds of consumer goods. Like, a centuries-old tradition. And, well, their felt is pretty great. In our experience, it’s by far the best out there.
On what sets wellput apart from others on the market
The biggest visible differentiator between our products and the sea of black and neon neoprene that you might find on most store shelves is the felt. Beyond that, our sleeves are very simple and sleek with silhouettes that compliment our devices instead of trying to one-up them with a lot of extreme decoration. But even among other felt products, we offer colors that are uncommon, fun, and stylish (many manufacturers stick with one or two “natural” wool colors). We also don’t make anything until it’s ordered, so we offer a lot of flexibility to our customers. That means we can make sleeves for obscure devices or we can customize something we already make – whether it’s a specific pocket configuration or, say, some extra room to accommodate the Smart Cover on an iPad.