Tennessee smartphone accessory maker stays on the cutting edge

Tennessee smartphone accessory maker stays on the cutting edge

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"With the iPhone going into carrier stores and launching worldwide, it took us into markets and countries we had never been to before," said President Mark Rowan. "With the iPhone going into carrier stores and launching worldwide, it took us into markets and countries we had never been to before," said President Mark Rowan.
To stay on the cutting edge in the industry, there is this prototype shop at Griffin's headquarters in Nashville. To stay on the cutting edge in the industry, there is this prototype shop at Griffin's headquarters in Nashville.
They were so confident the Survivor case would protect a phone, they let 6 News Anchor Kristin Farley, throw one to the ground countless times to prove its strength. They were so confident the Survivor case would protect a phone, they let 6 News Anchor Kristin Farley, throw one to the ground countless times to prove its strength.
Their flannel cases created by Nashville designer Otis James were so popular they were really hard to come by. Their flannel cases created by Nashville designer Otis James were so popular they were really hard to come by.
Griffin also makes kid-friendly phone accessories. Griffin also makes kid-friendly phone accessories.

By KRISTIN FARLEY 
6 News Anchor/Reporter

NASHVILLE (WATE) - Some people look at their smartphone case as a fashion statement or a reflection about who they are.

That's why workers at one Tennessee company take their fun job very seriously.

Griffin Technology is based in Nashville and makes computer, phone and other electronic accessories.

President Mark Rowan explained what it's like whenever Apple reveals a new product.

"There are always several Griffin employees waiting in line overnight. We do things like bring in donuts, bring breakfast for everyone, give gift bags out to everyone waiting in line," he said. 

Rowan said that, like the rest of the world, they don't know the specifics about a new item until it hits shelves.

"I always say it is like reading tea leaves trying to figure it out," he said. "They will not confirm or deny the rumors that we hear out there."

But Griffin was around long before smartphones and iPods. In fact, it was an adapter for a Mac computer in 1992 that launched the Nashville business.

"Paul Griffin was always a big fan of Steve Jobs and apple and their product line," Rowan said of the company's founder.

But what Apple revealed years later is what really helped put Griffin on the map.

"With the iPhone going into carrier stores and launching worldwide, it took us into markets and countries we had never been to before," he said.

To stay on the cutting edge in the industry, there is this prototype shop at Griffin's headquarters in Nashville.

There employees use computer designs, 3D printers, C&C routers, and whatever is necessary to build the next best accessory.

They also have a mock store to see exactly what their products will look like on store shelves.

Besides the company being founded and headquartered in our state, there are other unique Tennessee connections.

"One of the coolest projects we have worked on was collaboration between Griffin and Third Man Record, Jack White's record label and United Record Pressing," he said.

Rowan was talking about real iPhone covers with real punched-out albums.

There was another limited collaboration worth mentioning with Nashville designer Otis James. Their flannel cases were so popular they were really hard to come by.

"I, myself, did not manage to get one of those cases, " Rowan said with a laugh. "I'm glad it was that popular. It's a good problem to have."

And if you are really tough on your electronics, you may try their Survivor line of cases.

They were so confident they would protect a phone, they let 6 News Anchor Kristin Farley, throw one to the ground countless times to prove its strength.

"We set out to make the very first case that could pass U.S. and U.K. military specifications," said Rowan.

And while your kids might need the Survivor case to keep your phone from breaking, there is also a kids line that includes a partnership with Crayola and some other creative iPhone holders for even the youngest of users.

We should point out, Griffin cases are not mass-produced in Tennessee, but all of the customer service, designs, proto-types and labs are here in Nashville.

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