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Monday, February 6, 2012

Affordable iPhone holders that are American made and Insanely Great

A year ago I met Insanely Great Products, Inc. co-founder Richard Ford at a dinner club I attend. I wanted to tell you about him because there are several elements about his new business that I think are terrific.

Insanely Great Products sells iPhone, iPod Touch, and Blackberry Curve mobile device and phone holders for your car, desktop and that nook between your ear and shoulder.

But they are also offering something many of us in the United States have come to think of that's as mythical as a glowing, white, unicorn running through a field with a rainbow arcing above it: A well constructed product, designed and made in the USA, out of domestically sourced materials, at an affordable price.

 Prices on their six models of affordable mobile phone holders range from $10 to $35

Yup. I said made in America and affordable!

Their website says:

"We believe that a mistake has been made the last few decades in outsourcing too reflexively when many parts and complete products also can be made locally in the United States. It has become conventional wisdom to outsource just about every manufactured part, with the idea of U.S. manufacturing somehow viewed as practically quaint, a part of our legacy, rather than our future as a country.

As happens with so many trends, we believe this one has overshot the mark, and we plan to develop an infrastructure of small, agile, distributed manufacturing units, able to rapidly meet changing demands and provide mass customization that makes at least a beginning step in starting a new trend."

The IGP. Inc. manufacturing team in Menlo Park, CA

Reading that and thinking of the staggering unemployment our country has faced for the past decade, reinforced that we really need to see more companies like this. Co-founders Richard Ford and Jeff Osborn have created a business model that is built on the premise that not only will the jobs they create stay in the US, the raw materials they use in their products will also be domestically sourced. It's a win-win for American workers.

I can only speak for myself but here's the thing, even if a product were to cost more because it was made in the USA I would rather spend a bit more and support local employment than buy something for less that was made overseas. Even if it was a financial hardship I'd just wait longer to save up, buy less quantity or do without something else I need less. I've done it before and would do it again if I had to. That's why my next car will hopefully be both American made and electric. I've heard some electric car owners have rigged a solar powering system on their roofs so they can charge their electric cars with the sun!

But don't let the fact that these phone holders are American made upstage their designs. They are innovative and fully functional. For instance the $20 "Willy" serves four purposes:

  1. It allows a single viewer to turn their iPhone into a table or desktop display.
  2. For really geeky or phone addicted couples, they can each set their phones up on it at the same time when sitting across from each other.
  3. You can use The Willy to convert your too-skinny-to-brace-between-your-ear-and-shoulder iPhone, into a cradle that holds the phone in place just like an old fashioned telephone.
  4. It can also be attached to a car window or mirror.
The Norm Auto Clip Phone Holder

When I met Richard last year I got to see a prototype of the "Norm" phone holder. He explained how they were working on the design and would be producing them at TechShop Menlo Park. I'm really glad to see that his business has come to fruition and hope more people follow his business model.

If you're interested in learning more about these mobile phone and device holders visit the IGP website by CLICKING HERE.

*Disclosure: Because we invested in the San Jose location of TechShop hubby and I are now lifetime members of the company. 

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