An Itch for Innovation

The mous limitless phone case took the internet by storm, with people around the globe intentionally dropping/throwing their phones on the ground. Meet the mind behind the development.

With Mous and Itch Innovation successful businesses under his belt, CTO Joshua Shires continues to grow state-of-the-art ideas at his office in Dongguan.

There is a surprising number of recreational activities available in the office, with nerf-guns, a VR space, sleeping lofts and a ping pong table in the middle of it all. Shires said he wanted a modern office that included these features, so employees are not too stressed. There is also a no-shoes policy, and guests are given a pair of slippers at the door.

Shires’ workshop is an inventor’s wonderland and reflects his passion for developing new products as ideas go through the process of becoming reality.

“This is my playground,” he said.

Shires is from Chesterfield, U.K. and has been traveling to China for the past five years. He remembered when he started developing his first project—a wireless headphone storage phone case—at university. He continued to work on the project after he graduated and got a job but said he wanted to start his own business.

“I eventually got to the point where it was ready, and I needed to get this made. I got introduced to a guy that was like a middleman out here connecting people to factories,” he said.

He got a loan to get his MBA but figured he could learn more “from starting a business and (possibly) failing” than he could from going to university to study it.

“I took a leap of faith and used that money to buy some tooling for the product and prototyping and stuff like that,” he said.

Limitless phone cases

At the time, there were so many problems with the product, he started traveling to China more frequently to find out the reasons why.

“I’d come here for two weeks, it ended up being a month, and then I’d go back home. There would be more problems. I’d come back for another month which ended up being three months,” he said.

These experiences are the reason Itch started.

“We’d meet people who had the same problems we had but didn’t have the option or the experience to move to China,” Shires said.

He said Itch ensures quality products for those with an idea.

“On the Itch side, we do anything. It’s the idea of if you come to us, we can make whatever,” he said.

Their original office was in Changping for three years. They were looking to expand and bring in more talented people. They also needed a space that would make the new talents more likely to stay and be inspired. So, they opted to move their office to the more metropolitan area of Dongcheng.

Mous became an online sensation in 2016 for their Limitless (unbreakable) phone case—mainly for Samsung and iPhones—and many people took up the challenge to push the limit of the case by dropping it from various heights.

“We found this niche where you got really protective cases, but they were so ugly and so bulky. Then you got the really pretty ones which just wouldn’t do anything to protect your phone. There is some luck in business, but you become luckier being in the right place at the right time and working hard at the gap in the market you spot,” Shires said.

He figured out a way to bridge the gap between style and functionality and marketed the claim by dropping the phone, knowing it would not break. This was something other cases could not do. While the cases are “limitless” to a certain extent, Shires does not recommend dropping your phone from an extreme height.