4 Lessons to Learn From Headphone Success Stories

4 Lessons to Learn From Headphone Success Stories

Beats, Bose, Skullcandy and Sony; just a handful of your potential competitors when entering the luxury headphone market. Still not put off yet? As if these industry giants with their equally large marketing budget aren’t scary enough, trying to create a unique product in this 100-year-old industry is no easy feat. In all honesty, headphone products have not evolved a huge amount beyond the very first pair made on a kitchen table in 1910; give or take some noise cancelling tech and maybe a Bluetooth receiver. So how does a startup make waves in this industry of big corporates? Below are 4 ‘David & Golliath’ lessons to learn from startups that have, through crowdfunding, done exactly that.

1.) KOKOON – $1.9 Million


Kokoon has managed to convince many people to buy a product that they won’t even be awake to enjoy; that’s almost as impressive as selling ice to the Esmikos. These headphones take a step back from typical industry thinking to see how headphones might be used in one of our most important daily rituals; sleeping. Using smart wearable features along with patented technology for comfort, this product is more sleep tracking and relaxation than active listening.

The Lesson: Think outside the box! Whilst the big corporations all go to the same expensive tech shows and have the same coffee room conversations about how to grow their market, use your time under the radar to think laterally about how people actually use the products you want to make and how you might find solutions to their pain points. Kokoon have sold headphones on a completely new concept, a better nights sleep, and who doesn’t want that?

2.) Pugz – $1.4 Million


Pugz is the latest device to make waves in the audio market having closed a very successful crowdfunding campaign last week. Offering wireless earphones, with an option to recharge them via a magsafe-like connection from your smartphone, is about as much as we need to say about the product. However, when these little puppies are presented to you by two adult pugz dressed in suits and talking like Don Corleone, you can’t help but love the product.

The Lesson: Use your low budget to your brands advantage. Every large corporate’s marketing department is trying to find the next athlete, DJ & celebrity to endorse their products, you do not have that option. What you can do is associate with your target audience on a real level, ‘we are like you and we know what you want’. Let’s be honest, a group of hardworking dreamers in New York are much easier to associate with than David Guetta and Lil Wayne.

3.) Axent Wear – $3.4 Million



Axent Wear sold a staggering 21,000 pairs of headphones on Indiegogo making them one of the first audio product success stories. Nobody envisioned these funny cats-ears cans doing as well as they did but they are a prime example of cult consumer purchasing.  Not the first company to use the concept, and seemingly stepping into an intellectual property minefield, this product combines over-ear headphones with loudspeakers bringing the party to everyone else around you.

The Lesson: Know your market. Axent succeeded because they pinpointed exactly what their cutesy consumers wanted and knew where to find them. Do not feel as though building the right product and creating a good brand will automatically mean success, you need to put this offering in front of those who will appreciate it.

4.) Bragi Dash – $3.3 Million




Bragi’s ‘Dash’ earphones are a fine example of innovative excellence; product, product product! These smart earphones boast 4gb of music built in, wearable health and data tracking, noise cancellation, touch sensors and of course they are waterproof. How on earth can you fit all of that technology into such a small product space? Bragi clearly wanted to create the swiss army knife of earphones and have succeeded.

The Lesson: Innovate & prototype to your hearts content. With 3d printing availability at low cost, there is no excuse not to work and work on your product until it is right. Forget the lean startups minimal viable product, create something special. You can put every penny into marketing and sales but if your product is not good, you will not succeed. Your product is the anchor and you want to make something you are proud to bring to the market.

So there we have it, four proven lessons to learn as a startup looking to challenge even the most consolidated of industries. We will be crowdfunding in the new year and cannot stress enough how important it is to learn from previous successes and failures in your field.


Joshua Church





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