We’ve been in touch with Bailey Hikawa for stocking her ergonomic phone accessory line, KAME, since early 2020. Since then we’ve had the ongoing bouts of covid delays, production hold ups and are finally releasing our collaborative ISHI case along with a selection of GETA cases this Spring. But the wait has been worth it, to say the least. Unlike any other phone case on the market, Hikawa’s KAME reads more like experimental works of art. All handmade by Hikawa, each case is molded to stand on its own using a cool, sculptural looking grip as a propping mechanism to vertically and horizontally position your phone, while eye-catching pressed chamomile and electric dyed daisies adorn the backs. We knew we had to have these cases, no matter how long it took.
A brief exchange with the designer & inventor below.
You invented a new product for a very saturated market. Yet, your point of view is unmatched. What was the tipping point that made you take the plunge into launching your own business?
BH: I guess it's what they call blind intuition. When I started, I had no idea what I was doing or how to get where I wanted to go. All I knew was that for whatever reason, I felt the strong urge to make these phone case designs come to life. Yes, the phone case market is saturated, but there isn’t enough design diversity within the phone case market itself. There is nothing that compares to the Hikawa phone case line.
What are the most crucial lessons you learned after starting your own business?
BH: I’ve learned I need to give and receive support from my creative community. It's crucial to my growth and happiness to have a small community of creative people who I can learn from and grow with. I’ve learned I shouldn’t work on Sundays and that getting a massage and petting my cats is a priority. Being a small business entrepreneur is hard stuff, but I am grateful for where I am today and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
In our collaboration, we had the idea to go with a "glow in the dark" theme in neon -esque colors using handmade marble dyed material. In your other designs, you use real flowers or fake eyelashes. Even just having your phone on your nightstand for instance, is a cool decor piece. What inspires your design style the most?
BH: I’m most inspired by objects that stimulate multiple senses at the same time. I’m drawn to things with dualistic elements. Shape or body plus smell and touch. It's the most exciting to me when something is both foreign and familiar.
Okay- LA question here. What are some aspects of living in Los Angeles that influence Kame in one way or another?
BH: I deeply appreciate Los Angeles for its “anything goes” fashion and arts community. I think this has to do with the long history of movie making in Los Angeles that makes it a truly creative manufacturing hub unlike anywhere else in the world. You can get anything made in Los Angeles, from fashion to props, anything is possible. I’ve met mold makers, material specialists, artists, designers, influencers and freaks who get what I’m doing and whose energies and relationships play a huge role in my ability to make these phone case designs come to life. Los Angeles is a huge dynamic force that helps me make these phone cases real.
We went to your studio. There are sculptures and 3D printers and so many cool things you have lying around. Currently you have the Poki, the Geta and the Ishi. What’s next for Kame? Where do you see Kame in 5+ years?
BH: I’m working on developing a new product that I am very excited about, unrelated to phones but similarly a case of sorts. I can’t tell you what it is quite yet. As for the 5 year plan, I want to be in an airport and spot a few Hikawa phone cases in people’s hands while I quietly watch in excitement.