ENTREPRENEUR'S PROBLEM WAS MUSIC TO HIS EARS
31 August 2016, Written by Jess Lamb
A DECADE ago, while on his daily run in Salt Lake City, Judd Armstrong ran into a problem many are familiar with, but few have solved.
Fed up with his headphones tangling, his solution saw him become the CEO of one of the leading luxury headphone distributors in the US.
Now stocked in 34 countries, Jaybird's wireless Bluetooth earphones are the fourth best-selling premium brand of their kind in terms of market share in the US, behind Beats, Bose and LG.
Logitech acquired the company earlier this year, and Jaybird's products are now carried by mass retailers including Apple and Amazon.
Today Jaybird launches locally. Armstrong says JB Hi-Fi provided the Australian partnership his business had been waiting for, with products to be exclusive to the electronic retail chain's store.
An Australian himself, Armstrong says that with around one-third of Jaybird's 80 staff based in Australia, the business was eager to break ground locally.
Armstrong says Jaybird keeps ahead by being proactive, rather than reactive, with product development.
The business focuses on customer needs through modeling different fitting earphones, sweat proofing and innovative charging solutions.
"We have come up with a battery clip which doubles as a charging cradle to use as a power bank, so it just clips on to your headphones and transfers another five hours of charge across so you can keep listening to your music and don't have to stop and break," says Armstrong.
"You can have 24/7 music if you are that way inclined - you can take that clip off when your headphones are charged and charge it independently and clip it back on when you need to."
With the company up to its tenth product now, the CEO highlights a focus right from the start on miniaturization.
"Wireless headphones have always been a little bit bulky, even our X2 earbuds which were the first to go against traditional form are still kind of big - they worked really well for guys but for youth and women with petite ears they just stuck out and looked a bit awkward," Armstrong says.
"Now we have refined it so they are so small that they are helmet friendly - if you are riding a bike or snowboarding these headphones will fit really well underneath."
Jaybird's brand manager for Australia and New Zealand, Jordan Oldfield, told Business News Australia the products accompany the 'MySound' app, gives power to the consumer to customise the frequency and level settings.
"Traditionally when buying headphones, you have the manufacturers' prescribed sound settings but some people comment on these being really bass heavy and others saying that it's not enough," Oldfield says.
"MySound works by pairing with the headphones and you choose a preset which enhances the sound somewhat or you can fully customise that experience and you can set the levels at whatever point you want.
"Once you set it, the app actually alters the firmware in the headphones and then if you get rid of the app entirely and delete it you can still get that customised sound in your headphones."
Armstrong tells Business News Australia it's synergy that's gotten the company to where it is today.
"The secret to making a good brand is making one that really moves people, moves their heart and drives their passion about what you are doing and Jaybird comes from a place of true authenticity where everyone in our company is very passionate about the lifestyle our brand is all about: active living, sports, outdoors," he says.
"With Jaybird there is a soul to what we are doing. All the other players in the category have come from another space and just contributed to the sports audio category, whereas we started here with the aim of being the go-to product."
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Author: Jess Lamb