Terry Johnson of Original Stix

Terry Johnson of Original Stix

You may see him around Bamboo with a hockey stick in hand, or creating the next best Bamboo meme.

Terry Johnson joined us when we first opened up Bamboo’s doors. At the time he was working as a marketing coordinator remotely for a national clothing company. Original Stix, a craft mobile case company, was just an idea. While at Bamboo, Terry found investment capital, engineering support, built his first prototype, left his full time job, and launched his startup company Original Stix.

Since Terry’s launch, he’s grown tremendously pitching to Richard Branson an opportunity Bamboo connected him to, and also launching an additional product line of cases made with football skins.  Learn more about his business below.

original stix

Where did the idea for your business come from? 

I always found it interesting when products could be re-purposed into something entirely different, so the idea came from a number of experiences and products I’ve encountered over the years. When I was younger, I had this Pure Detroit belt made with the seat belt buckle from a Hummer, and in college I saw a table that was built out of broken hockey sticks.

The idea really came to me not longer after college when I saw an iPad case carved out of wood, and for whatever reason it reminded me of the table built out of hockey sticks. Eventually it just clicked, and I shared the idea with a few of my close friends and family – they all agreed that I might be on to something so I knew had to go after it.

How has Bamboo helped you since you’ve joined? 

At first, I thought Bamboo would be valuable because of the location, the design of the space, kitchen, etc. While those are definitely great, I’ve found that the intangibles – the people and connections you meet here – to be most valuable. Many of the members are entrepreneurs working alone or in a small team, so working in a space next to people with similar goals but different skill sets has been incredibly valuable. For example, I have experience in business and graphic design, and I’ve helped a few members with setting up marketing strategies or designing tee shirts. On the other hand, when I had trouble coding our website, originalstix.com, one of the members with a background in development was able to help me out.

“I think that having a community like this has provided many small start-ups with access to resources they typically wouldn’t be able to attain.”

Why choose to make your product locally?

With the goal of making a truly authentic phone case, making the product in Detroit has been my goal since the beginning. What’s more authentic than a hockey phone case that was made in Hockeytown? Sure, we could have saved a ton of money by outsourcing production to China, but what’s authentic about a phone case made by an anonymous worker halfway around the world who hasn’t the slightest clue what hockey even is?

How can we buy or connect with your new product? 

The cases are available on our website, www.originalstix.com, and will also be available at local equipment and specialty stores.

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