Using your credit card as a form of self expression is a concept born out of pure curiosity, if not vanity. College friends, Nathanial Bagnell and Kunal Arneja are the creative minds behind the customizable SKINS that allow you to personalize any card in seconds.
Starting off as a thesis project for their entrepreneurship class at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, Bagnell and Arneja wanted to come up with a unique product. While discussing several ideas with friends, one of their classmates mentioned that he wanted his credit cards to look just as cool as his phone case. The seed was planted and the rest is CUCU Covers history. And, not only did they receive encouragement in class for their idea, but also positive, organic reactions from strangers via social experiments.
The two began their endeavors in Arneja’s basement, where they created prototypes and quickly came up with a name, CUCU, representing craziness and individuality. Soon after, the business partners won the Ryerson University Business Plan Competition and were awarded $25,000 which went towards filing for the initial patents. Bagnell and Arneja were also in the process of launching a Kickstarter campaign adding “Covers” to the brand name. The Kickstarter campaign was successful and the two partners raised an additional $13,000 from 436 backers. They were in business.
Arneja noticed on Instagram that Inkbox, a Toronto-based semi-permanent tattoo company that was part of the same Ryerson University’s Fashion Zone incubator as CUCU, had partnered with NBALAB. Encouraged by their curiosity, they sent a Direct Message to NABLAB Co-Founder, Billi Kid, inquiring about their program. When he responded, it felt surreal to the two Toronto Raptors fans who grew up cheering their team at games. After the initial conference call, the collaboration developed and partnership took off. Neither of them expected CUCU Covers to have an officially licensed collection featuring 100+ NBA team and player designs so early on. “NBALAB has been so receptive to our designs and has given us ample room to experiment” Arneja explains.
CUCU Covers plans to introduce cellular phone, tablet, gaming tower, and Roomba vacuum SKINS. Being that they view their SKINS as empty canvases, the two look forward to new horizons.