Hi! I’m Floortje, and I’m the force behind iErnest. I believe in simple, iconic designs with clear functionality and a good story. I’ve been a creative entrepreneur for over a decade, and I’ve learned that we don’t really need much new stuff in this world. What we do need is for our stuff to last longer so we don’t have to replace it so often. That’s why iErnest is here: to make sure that when we drop our gadgets – which is just part and parcel of being human (or at least being me) – they won’t be smashed to smithereens. But it’s not just about functionality; the things that protect our expensive valuables should also look as awesome as what’s underneath! So that’s the goal of iErnest: to protect your stuff – in style.
Here’s how it all started.
On a sunny Friday afternoon in the summer of 2010, in a seemingly endless quest to find the best cover for our own iPhone 3s, my former business partner and I found ourselves in the workshop at the back of our office. With a beer in one hand and an amalgamation of leather and elastic in the other, we stood there, deciding on the best way in which to close the wallet: should it fold to the front or to the back? After deciding on a front fold, we crafted two prototypes and put them to use. First, our friends started asking for one. Then strangers on the train or in the street wanted in on the action. We realized we were onto something.
We fabricated a few more and sold them in a low-key webshop – about 3000 of ‘em. Yep, we seriously sewed together 3000 iPhone wallets in our own workshop while juggling the regular work activities of our interior-design studio.
Fast-forward to today. Now a solo outfit – and still combining it with interior-design activities in my other company called DESIGNPACT. – iErnest is manufacturing products in a beautiful artisan leather workshop in Pedreguer, Spain. Why Spain? Because I believe that craftsmanship makes the difference. With generations of experience in artisan leather crafting, Antonio and his staff at GilCar have what it takes to manufacture the level of quality I want to deliver. My regular visits to the workshop mean we’re able to develop the products together, without delay and utilizing our respective skills and specialties. And by staying so close to the fire, I’m always the first to hear about new ways of tanning, colouring and other developments in the industry. Also, there are worse places to go on business trips!
I aim to be as conscious as I possibly can about the origin, background and production of my materials, as well as the processes we’ve shaped over the last few years. I want to maintain full control of the brand and aim for complete transparency. I’m also trying to go greener with every step I take. I may not be there just yet, but that’s the goal!
Photo’s courtesy of iErnest and Hans van Veen @ Moor image