The Art of Riding Apple's Coattails

Last Updated Aug 26, 2011 1:44 PM EDT

By Jen Haley

DODO case is one of the more innovative companies to come out of what you might call the "iPad economy." Back in April 2010 -- on the exact same day that Apple launched the iPad -- DODO debuted its handmade iPad cases, crafted using traditional book-binding techniques. The company had a mere month to get its product to market after learning that Apple would introduce a tablet. And DODO cases have been wildly popular ever since.

Watch the video below to hear co-founder Patrick Buckley explain how it all started:


But then Apple launched the iPad 2. This time the device came complete with its own magnetically thrilling Smart Cover. Would this small innovation create a crisis for DODO?

Hardly. Sales of the cases are reaching new heights, says co-founder Craig Dalton. "There are customers who enjoy a minimalist approach to carrying the iPad and so they select a Smart Cover," says Dalton. "But there are a lot of other people who think the iPad needs not only a cover, but a case."

Earlier this month the company inked a deal with J.Crew that will allow the retailer to imprint its aesthetic on DODO cases.

DODO is growing, but the challenges in this industry are many, chief among them staying ahead of new products and innovations (iPad 3, anyone?), and it's not like Apple is any help in that department.

"We don't know what or when products will come out of Cupertino," says Dalton. DODO monitors the press, the Twittersphere, and its contacts on the ground. The company may not have any moles at Apple headquarters, but Dalton says its ultimate advantage is having all the products made locally in San Francisco. "If Apple comes out with a product, it will take six weeks for it to hit the market because the manufacturing is overseas. For us, it's game on. It will take us two weeks to get something out," Dalton says.