OtterBox is a private American company that specializes in the production of consumer electronic accessories. They've been instrumental in improving the lives of their customers by offering goods that protect their electronic devices from damage, thus saving them money as well as anger and frustration. It's a company that has an interesting history that is well-worth knowing about. The next time you look at your OtterBox smartphone case, you might think about these 20 things that you didn't know about Otterbox until after reading this.
1. They've been around since 1998
The OtterBox company was founded on May 15th of 1998. The very first Otterbox was developed by Curt Richardson in 1991. He needed a water resistant box because of the increasing interest in water sports. The first one was made in his garage without a lot of fancy equipment. It was a home invention and it took him until 1995 to complete the first reasonable prototype. Finally, by 1998, Otterbox was ready to launch.
2. Richardson was influenced by a book he read
Curt Richardson started thinking about his business plan all the way back in 1985. He read a book that discussed business theories and it influenced his decision to go into business for himself. His company started making cases for iPods in 2001, but they weren't made available for sale to the public until 2004. They only offered iPod cases until 2010 when they ceased their production.
3. Otterbox supplies the government
In 2010, Otterbox turned its attention to making cases specifically for mobile devices and technologies. Within two years they offered a wide variety of products that would fit specific brands and models of different mobile devices. They also began the production of accessories to protect the technology that is used in battlefield military operations. This speaks to both the quality of their products as well as the pricing because the US military watches their budget but they demand high quality and duability in the products that they purchase.
4. The company grew quickly
Otterbox achieved success fairly quickly. The company had grown to an operation that employed 70 workers. This was a milestone for an operation that started a an idea in 1985 that blossomed into work on a project in the founder's garage, and then to the opening of a full fledged operation in 1998. Otterbox was providing necessary accessories that helped to protect delicate electronics from damage. They got in on the manufacture of these protective accessories at the perfect time.
5. Otterbox went international
Otterbox made the decision to go international with their product lines. They established an office in Ireland in 2010. The new location was set up to serve the African, Middle Eastern and European market. There were ten people running the operation when it first began. This was a large undertaking but it proved to be a successful one. The following year, Otterbox opened its Hong Kong Office. Soon after this, they set up a small sales office to handle the business in Dubai. By 2012, Otterbox employed 363 people in all which testified of its successful and tremendous growth.
6. Richardson turned over the reigns in 2012
Curt Richardson, the founder of Otterbox had served as the Chief Operating Officer since the business first became an official company. In 2012, he made the decision to step down from the job. He was replaced by Brian Thomas in the position, but he didn't back away from leadership. Richardson stayed on as the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
7. Otterbox launched three new startup businesses
OtterBox is the parent company that launched three different operations. From within the business 1OAK Technologies, Wild Rock PR and Nerdy Minds all emerged. The founders of these three companies were employees at OtterBox. The company gave them the backing that they needed to full develop their own product lines and services. This serves as an example of the company's faith in its workers and their strong desire to see everyone achieve success in their careers.
8. OtterBox acquired LifeProof in 2013
LifeProof is a table and smartphone case manufacturer. The company is based out of San Diego, California. This was the first official acquisition of a similar company that OtterBox had made. They had the resources to make the purchase of the competitor because OtterBox was bringing in a revenue of $347 million in 2011. This is including the revenues earned for their operations in the United States and within the rest of the world. Their products had become very popular and with the explosion in the number of smart phones that were being produced, the demand for cases and screen protectors were high.
9. OtterBox changed leadership in 2014
Brian Thomas was only the second CEO to ever take charge of the leadership of OtterBox. He assumed his position at the helm when the founder, Curt Richardson stepped down from top management. He announced is departure from the company in 2014 after serving for just two years. The third CEO was Peter Lindgren who had previously been serving in the role of the president. He was appointed by the board of directors because he had proved his value in his previous role with OtterBox.
10. OtterBox is a big supplier for Amazon
If you've purchased a case or a screen protector from Amazon.com that has the OtterBox brand on it, this is because OtterBox is a big supplier for the online giant. In addition to this they also supply the big name brand companies including BlackBerry, Google Nexus, Apple, HTC, Microsoft, LG, Motorola, OnePlus, Samsung and Nokia. It's no small wonder that they have grown so large. These are some of the biggest retailers of electronic products in the world. OtterBox has contracted to provide accessories for all of them which increases the exposure of their products to the public, and makes them even more available.
11. OtterBox makes eleven different lines of cases
There are a lot of different brands on the market today and within these brands, there are different sizes and models of smartphones and other mobile devices. They all need protective cases and screens, so as a major manufacturer of these accessories, OtterBox was charged with keeping up with the consumer demands for them. When a new size or model would come out, this opened a new line for them to provide for. They currently produce eleven lines of cases. Some are waterproof and some are not. They make cases for Resurgence Series, Achiever Series, Defender Series, the Commuter Series, the Symmetry Series, the Profile Series, the Strada Series, the Preserver Series, the Prefix Series, the Reflex Series, the Armor Series, the Drybox Series, the Pursuit Series and the Statement series. They ceased production of the Preserver, Reflex, Prefix and Armor Series.
12. They manufacture products in three different countries
OtterBox employs workers for their manufacturing plants from different places in the world. They have manufacturing operations in the United States, in China and in Mexico. In addition to making cases for mobile devices they also make screen protectors. The name of the line for these highly valued protection accessories is the Clearly Protected Line. The screen protectors are highly effective in preventing scratching and shattering of the phone screens.
13. Otterbox has received multiple honors
Here is another interesting fact about the company. Since they have been in business, they have grown at an impressive rate. They are now considered to be one of the best medium sized companies of their kind. The business has been run very well and their efforts have not gone unrecognized. Fortune Magazine, Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine named them as one of the "Best Medium Workplaces in 2012. They earned this distinction by providing their workers with a creative environment and with a carefree culture to keep the stress levels of the workers low. They also offer paid time off for employees who volunteer.
14. OtterBox has a heart for the less fortunate
OtterBox is also a company with a conscience and a helping spirit. They established a charity program that they call the OtterCares foundation. The foundation was established in 2012. Since that time, the company has made more than three million dollars in donations. The primary focus of the charity is on the education of young children.
15. OtterBox was recognized for their business model
It isn't easy make it as a member of the esteemed Inc. 5000 list, but OtterBox has managed to secure their place within this elite group. They have been listed as one of the fastest growing private companies in the nation. In fact, they have received this award a total of seven times. In addition to this, Forbes listed them among "America's Most Promising Companies. They were also distinguished by Greatist as among the "Healthiest Companies to Work for in America."
16. OtterBox was the logical choice for a name
There are a lot of people who wonder where OtterBox got its interesting name. It isn't covered in fur, but it actually couldn't have a more ideal or descriptive name. An otter has waterproof fur. Most OtterBox products are also waterproof. It is their similarity to the fur of an otter that inspired the use of the name for the company. What really inspired naming the company OtterBox is because both Curt Richardson and his wife like otters. They're right at home in the water and they have playful natures which make them nice and entertaining little critters, so they settled on the name OtterBox. It just makes sense when you think about it.
17. An online review pits OtterBox cases against LifeProof
Here is an interesting fact that we discovered about OtterBox. There is an online comparison of the LifeProof case vs the OtterBox cases to determine which one offers the best protection for an iPhone 5. The reviewer had heard both of the brand names and wanted to get to the bottom of his question. His comparison of the two products led him to pronounce that the OtterBox does the same thing that the LifeProof does but it's offered at a price that is about $40 less. We're fairly sure that he wasn't aware of the fact that OtterBox acquired their competitor LifeProof and that they are also the parent company of the brand.
18. Otterboxes have been called "unattractive"
We read through a lot of different review sites to find out what consumers had to say about the quality of OtterBox cases. What we learned was a bit surprising. While most of the reviews were positive an consumers ranted about the great protection they offer and the cheaper price compared to some of the more expensive brands, they had one negative comment. There were multiple comments that said that the OtterBox cases were extremely unattractive. We're not quite sure what the company could do to make them "prettier" but they certainly do the job that they are intended for.
19. An OtterBox Case took a beating from an Otter
This is perhaps the funniest fact that we discovered about the OtterBox. An OtterBox case was given to a real live Otter to see what would happen. While the case may be waterproof, it's definitely not Otterproof. A visitor at a local Zoo in Fargo dropped his case in into the Otter's habitat accidentally. The otter got a hold of the case and pulled it apart. When he was done tearing it up, he threw it into the water. In case you were wondering if the case can hold up under intense pummeling by a live otter, it can't.
20. OtterBox has changed our lives
The OtterBox company has made it possible to purchase moderately priced protective accessories for our mobile devices. Prior to this invention, people were forever dropping their phones only to pick them up and discover that the screen had either shattered or became seriously scratched. The protective cases and screen protectors help in preventing a host of ills and they not only save us money, they also ease the frustration of using a broken screen or going without a phone while a replacement is being negotiated with the retailer.
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Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson