“Technology is fashion as much as function,” says Andrew Green. He’s speaking off the cuff, but his words may as well be the credo for Twelve South, the Mount Pleasant-based tech accessories company he and his wife, Leigh Ann, founded in 2009.
Since garnering national attention in 2010 with its BookBook iPad and iPhone cases that mimic antique leather-bound tomes, the firm has continued to up the design ante with Apple-exclusive auxiliary products that sit at the intersection of tech, fashion, and home décor. Some of its offerings feel like luxury apparel: napa-leather SurfacePads for phones and tablets now come in lavender and navy (“It’s the idea of changing your case to coordinate with your outfit,” says Leigh Ann). The TimePorter—a travel case, charging station, and display stand for the Apple Watch—looks more like a sunglasses case than a piece of tech support. Other items are akin to furniture, such as one laptop stand made from clear Lucite (shown above) and another available in hardwood finishes. The use of high-end materials marks a change in mind-set: “People are integrating technology into every aspect of their lives,” Leigh Ann says. “We started to wonder: why aren’t we making accessories that blend in better with people’s homes?”
Today, Twelve South’s products are sold in swanky boutiques (such as The Conran Shop in London) as well as most Apple stores worldwide, with infrastructure scaling to meet demand. They established a 25,000-square-foot warehouse in Hanahan, and company headquarters will soon move to the new Pacific Box & Crate development that’ll be anchored by software firm Boomtown. “We take inspiration from walking through any space where people are working with Macs,” Andrew says. “The more we can be in that environment, the better we can do what we’re passionate about.”
Meet the Top Three
Which of Twelve South’s 120-plus products (a still-secret new one debuts soon) are the best- sellers? Take a look
➼ HiRise: The metal pedestal ($35) fits both the iPad and iPhone, allowing for charging and hands-free use.
➼ BookArc: This chrome stand ($50) holds a MacBook vertically for use in ”closed-clamshell” mode.
➼ BookBook: Leather cases emulate old hardback tomes. The iPad’s ($70-$80) features a built-in stand; the iPhone’s ($50) doubles as a wallet and has a stand and plastic shell to protect the device if removed from the BookBook.