After pouring many months and dollars into researching and developing updated Qi chargers (including hiring on a freelance mechanical engineer), the underlying technology became instantaneously outdated.
This is the peril of designing for other companies’ products.
Our work became obsolete overnight.
This gave us time to remember who we are and what motivates us. A setback is a chance to restart. A disappointment is an opportunity to grow and discover. In taking a moment to reflect, we realized that the MagSafe created a need, and we could fill it.
People were going to want MagSafe accessories, and we wanted to be first to market. It was go time.
Usability. We needed to make it work for all sizes of phone, at any orientation.
We prototyped shapes and sizes using a 3D printer, speeding through ideas and chiseling away at a concept. While Sean’s box of spray-painted plastic prototypes was filling up, we were narrowing in on a heavy, pill-shaped, wide-chamfered design.
We made a huge chamfer, the biggest one we’d done on solid wood. This gives your fingers enough room to get purchase on your phone—the MagSafe holds on well to the device, so we needed to make sure our customers weren’t torquing their phone to get it off.
The heavy metal base would increase our costs substantially, but the cheaper alternative—using a light base supplemented with micro-suction tape—wouldn't work across multiple types of surfaces, and just didn’t feel like Grovemade.
We love making things really heavy.
But then Sean had a designer’s 'aha' moment.
Instead of fighting that limitation of the cord not being able to bend, we decided to celebrate it.
Ken pulled for pill for the way it played off of the pill shape of the face. It seemed to be a better fit for the cord coming through.
Every detail matters, but, as Sean says, “there was no right or wrong answer on this one. The pill and the circle are common shapes across our products.”
Next, we got hung up on the fasteners on the back. Sean was originally opposed to having them visible. But Ben, our engineer, was committed. He came back with sample after sample of various screws, convinced it was the best way to secure the back piece, and that he’d find one beautiful enough to be visible.
The floating effect looks kind of impossible. I think it’s one of my favorite products.
It took a challenging push, an intense design sprint, but you wouldn’t know it.