Sioux Falls company starts smartphone-accessory business

By Jodi Schwan

Randy Cowan was standing in line at a wireless store watching an employee put a screen protector on his cellphone when an idea clicked.

Randy Cowan

“I thought, ‘That looks like a label,’ ” said Cowan, the owner of Cimarron Label. “Wait a minute, we print labels.”

That was almost two years ago. Cimarron had just installed a state-of-the-art digital printing press – the first of its kind in the world – and Cowan had been contemplating additional applications for it.

“I kept trying to think of a unique market for a product or concept we could apply the technology to, and it just blended and generated the concept of Screenflair.”

Screenflair, a newly launched line of colorful and reusable smartphone screen protectors, aims to make the front of a smartphone as personalized as the rest of it.

Starting with 250 designs available for 15 styles of phone – including the iPhone 8 – Screenflair is the first of multiple products from Cowan’s newly formed business Enamore Products, which shares space with Cimarron at 4201 N. Westport Ave.

The patented product is new to the smartphone-accessory category, Cowan said, although it has left most wondering why such an obvious idea hadn’t yet made it to market.

Achieving the right durability and touch sensitivity took time, though.

“They’re very durable,” Cowan said. “It took over a year of developing the technical aspect of the product.”

An additional technology allows the protectors to be easily applied, peeled off and reused. Some of the screen protectors include only a bordered design, while others add a watermark in the middle of the screen.

“When you look at it, it looks like there are heavy graphics, and when you peel it away, it’s hard to see,” Cowan explained. “It does not interfere with text, videos or photos, but when your screen goes to white occasionally, you’ll see the image. We found that balance between not in the way and appealing.”

Businesses also can order custom-designed screen protectors, and licensing for professional sports teams and colleges is underway. A future phase will allow individuals to upload photos that can be turned into personalized screen protectors. Other variations of the product can include glow-in-the-dark and Braille screen protectors.

The initial designs were created by HenkinSchultz Creative Services, which also is helping with nationwide marketing and public relations.

“We did focus groups with people from teens to people in their 50s,” director of brand strategy Matt Entringer said.

He joined the firm about a year ago following a job in Kansas City with Sprint where he worked with in-store accessory promotion.

“So we could get it in front of Sprint in the development phase, which was nice,” he said.

The screen protectors sell for less than $10 and are available only online for now, although selling it in retail stores could be next. A national television advertising and online marketing campaign is planned to help launch it first.

“We have a lot of interest in retail and a number of people who have interest in representing it in retail, but we’ll take it one step at a time,” Cowan said.

The beauty of the digital printer is that it’s as easy to produce one screen protector as 1 million of them, he added. “The press is made for high-volume industrial applications, but it blends so well with this concept.”

Cimarron’s core business specializes in printing expanded content labels, which allow a single label to include multiple pages of information.

The company has many clients in the agriculture, lawn and garden, and pharmaceutical industries. After starting the business as the sole employee 17 years ago, Cowan has grown the company to 175 people with facilities in Sioux Falls and Aberdeen.

He likely isn’t done creating products for the smartphone industry, either.

“We’ve got three or four other unique custom cellphone-accessory lines we’ll be launching, and we’re doing some unique retail products,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun to pursue this and create niches and markets and products.”

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Sioux Falls company starts smartphone-accessory business

Randy Cowan was standing in line at a wireless store watching an employee put a screen protector on his cellphone when an idea clicked.

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