When we love our technology, it’s usually not enough to just have it around: we want to personalize it and make it our own. In a world that increasingly comes in three colors: light, dark, and rose gold, a quality skin provides a special touch and sets our devices apart from the rest. Toast, a four-year old company based out of Portland, Oregon, creates custom skins and cases for the electronic devices in your life, but they’re made out of a material you might not have expected: wood (not bread).
“I feel like tech is very cold,” Matias Brecher, the founder of Toast told me during CES 2016. “It’s all steel and glass and it’s not very human…it might look good on the shelf or at Best Buy, but a lot of people’s homes are filled with softer materials.” The Toast CES display was filled with various-sized cases of different woods like walnut, ash, and reconstituted hardwood fiber stained to look like ebony. Many skins featured in-laid cuts of woods of different materials, allowing for some contrast and highlighting. Each Toast cover is custom-created for the its specific device, with roughly 60 device formats available including most Samsung Galaxy series phones, Macbooks, and even Microsoft Surface Pro tablets.
Toast covers are sold through retailers like Amazon, as well as through their own website. One of the benefits of ordering directly though toastmade.com, however, is the ability to customize the covers and faceplates you’re ordering. For an additional charge, they can etch a logo or phrase or small picture on the plates, or even a fully-customized engraving based on images like player avatars or whatever the customer requests. Toast sends over a rendering of the image to make sure customers are satisfied with the customized engraving before creating the final product.
Of course, being a Portland-based company, Toast also focuses energy towards sustainability and environmental responsibility. “Sustainability has been a backbone of the company from the beginning,” Brecher said. Most of their woods are North American hardwoods: walnut, ash, and reconstituted hardwood fiber stained to look like ebony to prevent rainforest deforestation. They also use 100% renewable energy, certified recycled paper, and are a One Percent for the Planet company, donating one percent of their sales every year to nonprofits working for a healthy environment.
For those looking for a more traditional case, Toast also creates leather cases which can be dyed in seven different colors like maroon, black, and green. They use American-sourced cow leather, and currently only offer leather covers for the iPhone 6 series, the Moto X 2nd generation and the Nexus 6, with the Nexus 6P coming up next. Brecher suggested that many of his customers are repeat business: “When people get a Toast product, they want to cover everything in wood. A lot of our customers actually send us their phones and devices the second they get them, they’re like, ‘I stood in line for four hours to get the new Nexus; I’m going to send it to you to get this Toasted, I can’t imagine it being naked.”
CES is a show packed with various phone accessories, cases, and skins, but it was nice to see a company like Toast selling a customizable product with a sustainable focus and a unique touch. Don’t expect their products to come without a premium: phone cases start at $29 and can range up to $68 based on the model and customization, and game console skins start at $59. Still, for a unique piece to accent your tech in a natural way, it’s no wonder people are getting their devices toasted.