Carlsbad business flourishing in cell phone accessories market

Carlsbad business flourishing in cell phone accessories market
Carlsbad resident Cary Subel and his business partner Alaey Kumar have expanded their reach in the cell phone case market using their anti-radiation SafeSleeve cases. Courtesy photo.

CARLSBAD — Just two years ago, SafeSleeve was the fledgling start-up of two college friends.

Now SafeSleeve, which provides anti-radiation cases for mobile devices, is seeing an explosion in growth. What started with a laptop and one cell phone (iPhone) case, has expanded into cases for nearly all mobile devices as the company boasts more than 100 products and is expanding to screen protectors and car mounts.

The company even developed a detachable cellphone case, which can be paired with one of their mounts, for those mobile users in a vehicle.

Founded by Cary Subel of Carlsbad and Alaey Kumar of Orange County, the past two years has seen SafeSleeve’s revenue more than double and sales are at about 3,000 units per month, up from 500 two years ago, Subel said. They also doubled sales month over month from June through September.

“It’s been pretty consistent growth,” he added. “We noticed a lot of our sales is people coming directly to our website. It’s just been snowballing.”

But Subel and Kumar’s niche has been with customers focused on radiation and how to limit exposure. Their first product was a laptop case, which uses military-grade materials to prevent radiation waves from emitting to the body. The Federal Communications Commission certified their research reducing electromagnetic radiation up to 99 percent.

The two also added radio frequency identification protection for cell phone cases, to prevent thieves from scanning credit and debit card information from close proximity.

However, not everyone is sold on SafeSleeve’s claims of reducing radiation. Critics in Europe and the U.S. have popped up, noting the cases aren’t a cure-all.

“We understand the market is growing and people have to be aware of this radiation,” Kumar said. “It’s becoming more well known. We continue to focus on the quality of our products and the functionality.”

Even though there are skeptics, Subel and Kumar point to an independent study funded by the U.S. government noting the dangers of cell phone radiation. The study, which tested rats with results of higher rates of a specific brain tumor and stomach cancer, was initially withheld by the government, but was released after a lawsuit.

The city of Berkeley also won a federal case concerning its “Right to Know” ordinance, which mandates smartphone retailers to post warnings about surpassing the set limit on radio frequency exposure.

“In a lot of ways, that ended the discussion for a lot of people,” Subel said of the government study.

“We always have skeptics. Our customer base, though, they don’t need to be convinced because they’ve done the research themselves. We just tell you about the information that’s out there and are here to help guide you through that process.”

Nevertheless, the company is rapidly expanding into the market of mobile devices. Subel and Kumar said much of their growth has been organic, through word-of-mouth and capitalizing on European distributors where anti-radiation concerns are more abundant.

The two business partners are looking forward to even more growth as the holiday season approaches.

“We had a bunch of stuff sell out,” Subel said. “But we are all stocked up and ready for the holiday season.”

To learn more about SafeSleeve, visit www.safesleevecases.com.

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