By Andrew Marini ’13
Brophy student Steven Oleksak ’13 is gaining popularity for his handmade iPhone cases.
With more than 60 cases sold, Oleksak’s carpentry hobby has turned into a successful business opportunity.
“I first started my carpentry hobby as a freshman when I made handmade Ping-Pong paddles to use for our old tables,” Oleksak said. “This was also the first time I started a business with handmadepingpong.com, I sold four paddles total.”
He has made everything from easy projects like paddles to huge undertakings like a handmade Les Paul guitar, which he said is the most rewarding thing he’s ever built.
The idea for the cases came to him after he received his iPhone 5 because he was always dropping it.
He decided to make a case with leftover veneer, thin wood sheets. He did so by combining the veneer with the back of his plastic phone case.
“My favorite part of making the cases is after all the sanding and trimming, I package them in leather and cardboard and stamp them with a wax seal,” Oleksak said.
Custom cases can also be ordered with engraving the wood, each one unique and different.
Since creating the case, Oleksak has been overwhelmed with orders since putting up the website woodphonecase.com, and has even been asked to do an interview for Wood Magazine about his cases as well as past endeavors.
Most of his cases have been sold through his website and by word of mouth but he is now selling them in a few boutiques, including Bunky Boutique on McDowell and Jam Boutique in Old Town Scottsdale.
“The cases are really unique and help your phone stand out from the typical plastic cases that every student seems to have,” said Jake Petty ’13.
Oleksak said he hopes to continue his passion in college but if not hopes to pick it up again with his dream of owning his own shop rather than just have a workbench in his garage.
He said he would like to retire making furniture and trying to find his next business idea.