On the Case with Jillian Wheeler

Five years ago, Jillian Wheeler accepted her first post-grad job as a marketing assistant at Sonix, a tech startup that manufactured black phone cases and earphones for men. Today, under Wheeler’s vision, Sonix is a globally recognized (and stocked) women’s accessory brand, selling the internet’s favourite phone cases. With the likes of Gigi Hadid and Kylie Jenner sporting the gear, Sonix is certainly a brand to watch.

Jillian Wheeler
What inspired you to begin designing phone cases?

I have always been creative and interested in fashion, I just didn’t know how [these interests] would fit into my career path. I was hired at Sonix straight out of college after finishing a degree in Business Marketing. At the time it was a tech company of five employees making accessories for men.

I felt like there was a gap in the tech market for women so I presented the idea of making fashion prints for our cases. About 5 months later, Apple picked up two of my designs to carry in-store. That was the breakthrough moment where I felt like I was onto something. I always joke with our owner that he had no idea what he was in for when hiring me.

What designers inspire you?

I love Stella McCartney, Miu Miu, Gucci, and Marc Jacobs. They have a quirky yet refined sense of style. That type of aesthetic speaks to me in my own work.

Have you ever collaborated with other artists or designers?

We have an exciting collaboration coming up with Tash Oakley and Devin Brugman from A Bikini A Day. I designed two case prints and a pair of sunglasses with the girls. We shot our campaign at The Beverly Hills Hotel. The collection is very retro chic!

What does your creative process include? Ever draw a blank?

Lots of Pinterest, blogs, and looking at the runway. There are definitely days I hit a creative wall. Luckily we have so many different projects going on that if I hit a wall designing case prints, I can take a break and move on to sunglasses or our leather goods.

Aside from protecting our devices, why do you think phone cases are so important?

Like purses and sunglasses, smartphones are the ultimate, essential accessory. It makes sense that they should also complement our wardrobes.

Is a wardrobe of phone cases becoming a thing?

I think it’s more about having accessories that represent your personal style or personality. I like to design novelty prints that create a feeling and directly relate to a customer’s personality. Our Rosé All Day is a perfect example of that. That’s one of our most popular prints because it evokes an emotion of “that’s so me.” That being said, I always have a specific personality in mind before I start designing. I feel like that’s what sets Sonix accessories apart from other [tech accessory brands]; we cater to a variety of personalities.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is you can’t do it all on your own. It’s okay to ask for help. I’m a slight control freak so it was hard for me to give up some control and let others in. At the end of the day you can accomplish so much more as a team.

What is next for Sonix?

We are currently expanding the the Sonix product offering, and I’m launching our second line of Sonix eyewear this June which I’m really excited about. My goal for 2016 is to elevate the brand beyond tech into fashion accessories as a whole.

 What is your favourite case?

That changes probably once a week. We have so many designs! I have a sushi print coming out in Nordstrom this summer. I love that one at the moment. I also think my Bahama palm leaf print will always be a favourite.


Shop our favourite cases below.


All cases available at Sonix.