TheThings was recently given the opportunity to chat with Matias Brecher, the "President, Founder & 'Papa Toast'" of Toast, a unique company that designs stunning custom tech covers with real wood, leather, and laser cutting.
Toast is committed to quality, creativity, AND the environment, and they create a product that is truly like no other on the market. Read on to learn more about how this company came to be, and how your devices can get "Toasted".
TheThings (TH): Where did your inspiration come from in creating Toast, and how did you come up with the name for the company?
Matias Brecher (MB): As enamored as I am with technology I feel like there is a disconnect with the materials they are made from and that personal relationship we have with tech devices. I wanted to bring materials into the mix to provide a human/ natural element, something that we can relate to, understand where it comes from and one that ages with grace.
The name Toast comes from our lasers. When I was putting together the initial Kickstarter project I wanted a friendly name that referenced that we would be cutting products with lasers; and lasers essentially burn away the wood. So what else do you burn? Toast!
TH: What is the craziest design that you have ever seen on a custom order?
MB: One customer had engraved a terrible selfie, you know when you accidentally turn on the camera and the screen is filled with your face in an awkward up the nose view. That was funny. Our customers are always pushing us to get crazy complex with their custom covers. Wanting dozens of small inlays of different woods, each one needing to be separately lasered and hand placed. This can be a real challenge for assembly.
We have a designer layup each custom cover, optimize it for the laser and send the customer a rendering before we craft it. This makes sure it looks great, meets or exceeds the customers' expectations and it is something we can actually craft.
TH: We are absolutely obsessed with the hybrid skin/cover format that the Toast cases come in. Why did you choose such a format? Why not just a regular case or a skin that looks like wood?
MB: It comes from wanting to be honest about the materials, avoiding plastics yet pushing the boundaries of what real wood veneer can be used for. Wood is naturally very resilient and ages well. Over time it gets a patina of use or abuse. That makes it unique and personal to the owner. You can't get that with a vinyl skin.
As the phones themselves evolved into more complex organic forms so did our solutions to wrap them. We create rather complex patterns of cuts and scores to match the shape and enhance the underlying geometry of the phone, tablet or laptop. A plastic case just covers it all up and it might as well be a square ugly box underneath, not that very designed, intentional object. We want to enhance the design and aesthetic of the device, show it off, not disguise it.
TH: How protective are your device cases?
MB: They protect your device from everyday wear and tear. I have never damaged a phone with a Toast cover on it, except the time it was run over by a taxi. Toast covers add grip and bump and scratch protection. But if you are the type that just needs guaranteed heavy duty protection, get a big rubber case.
TH: Clearly, we love our Toast phone case, and never want to take it off. Do the cases have a "shelf life" of how long they can remain on a product before they start to fall off naturally?
MB: Phone covers typically last 1 -2 years. Depends on how hard you are on your phone. They won't come off on their own but if you drop it a lot the corners will chip. Then it might be a good time to refresh it.
TH: Do you find that you have a lot of repeat customers who take off their cases and have #regrets?
MB: We have many repeat customers who must get their new Toast cover right when they upgrade their phone. They won't take the phone out of the box until it is Toasted.
We have had a few employees who decide they might go back to having a naked phone to try that again and several times that very first day they forget how slippery it is without a Toast cover and they drop and break it and quickly go back to a Toast cover. It really does add the perfect balance of grip and protection and style.
TH: The beverage wraps are also stunning, especially in their simplicity. Do you find that customers tend to customize all of the products, or leave things plain?
MB: The Pint cuffs tend to be plain or just get people's names on them. We thought the designs would be more popular but maybe it is the simple purity of the product that lends to keeping it clean. We find around 25% of our products get customized. Seems people either want the clean and simple or go crazy with the customization.
TH: Which products are your most popular on the site?
MB: Surface Book covers are super popular. Followed by MacBooks and iPhones and Pixels. The phones tend to follow the yearly launches, but we also cover some more niche phones that no one else makes cases for like Essential and OnePlus that are popular.
TH: Where do your materials come from?
MB: The walnut and ash are North American grown hardwoods, bamboo is grown in Asia and the ebony is actually a reconstituted fiber stained to look like rainforest ebony.
The leathers are a mix of American cow and imported leathers.
TH: Do you plan on expanding to create new covers or products in the future?
MB: We are constantly launching new products, about every 2-3 weeks right now. It is a mad rush trying to keep up with all the new phone models and laptops. We just launched Note 9 and Surface Go covers and right now I am wrapping up the new iPhones and leather covers for the Surface Books. Those are hot!
We are also looking to expand our lifestyle (non-tech) offerings. We just launched custom wood stickers. You can get any art, any shape. They are great for promoting a brand, band or event. Everyone loves stickers and wood stickers are super cool.
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Hot damn! What’s this? Introducing Toast’s new custom wooden stickers! Want to show off your personal style, brand logo, band name, or blog? Our 100% real wood stickers are by far the coolest way to do it. Available in walnut, ash, bamboo and reclaimed ebony at Toastmade.com. 😎
Not only are wood stickers super cool, but all of the products in Toast's current lineup have us completely amazed.
Thank you so much, Matias, for speaking with us, and sharing all of these wonderful details about your company! Readers, you can get your very own "Toasted" products on their website, Toastmade.com, and don't forget to follow them on Instagram and Twitter!