Hearing Great Things
We recently spoke to Davies Roberts, founder and CEO of Flare Audio, to hear more about the inspiration behind the business, how they are transforming the way we hear, and how we formed our partnership.
Whether you’re a musician, performer, in the showbiz industry, or just love a bit of rock and roll, the chances are you’ll have listened to something via Flare Audio technology at some point in your life.
Launched in 2010, and favoured by musical legends including Jimmy Page, Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley, Flare Audio spent its formative years as a pro audio manufacturer and hire company, re-inventing the loudspeaker. In recent years, the brand has miniaturised its state-of-the-art technology and now produces a range of award-winning loudspeakers, earphones, headphones and earplugs.
Having grown from strength-to-strength, Flare Audio has raised over £2 million via crowdfunding campaigns, ships its products to more than 183 countries and has grown from a small team of three to 23 people.
We recently spoke to Davies Roberts, founder and CEO of Flare Audio, to hear more about the inspiration behind the business, how they are transforming the way we hear, and how they came to work with Huboo as their fulfilment partner.
Flare Audio is an incredibly impressive business and you’ve won praise and endorsement from some huge names in the music and production industries. Tell us more about your business journey and how you came up with the idea for the brand:
We launched the business in 2019 as a loudspeaker manufacturer, so we provided the audio systems for gigs, shows, live events, festivals – you name it! It was during this time that we started to really build our reputation and we received a lot of support from some incredibly well-respected musicians and producers within the production industry.
However, we also realised that this was a challenging market so diversifying was going to be crucial. This was where the idea to miniaturise our technology came from – we knew that if we could produce first-class audio on a large scale, then we could absolutely do it on a small scale too.
Six years ago we created our first set of earphones funded by £177k we raised via crowdfunding and received lots of positive reviews and feedback from people – both music industry professionals and regular customers.
Since then we have launched two more products on crowdfunding platforms including the Isolate ear protectors which raised over £2.1 million
Today we sell a wide range of different in-ear devices and we ship to over 180 different countries.
How would you describe Flare Audio’s mission?
Our mission is simple: it’s all about improving the way we hear and listen. Our mantra is ‘long live ears’ – so whether that’s improving the sound of the music we listen to round the house or helping people with sound sensitivities be able to visit a supermarket more comfortably – our aim is to help.
Ultimately, we want people to think about hearing in the same way they would their eyes and vision. Managing noise sensitivity and becoming more aware of how noise can impact our overall health and wellbeing is really important. It’s crucial we take care of our ears now, in order to safeguard them for the future.
It’s clearly been an exciting journey so far. If you had to pick one, what would you say has been your proudest moment to date?
There have been lots of incredible events and shows that we’ve been lucky enough to support over the years. A big one for us was providing all the PA equipment for the Coca-Cola Olympic advert with Mark Ronson and Katy B. Similarly, it’s amazing to get recognition from well-known and well-respected people – Stephen Fry uses our earphones and frequently tries out new products for us as do the wonderful producers Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T Rex) and Flood (Nine Inch Nails, U2, The Killers). To have their input is priceless.
However, hearing that a customer, who was previously housebound because their sound sensitivity was so bad, is now able to go out again thanks to our technology, is just amazing. It’s a reminder that what we’re doing actually has the potential to change someone’s life.
As most of your sales are online, finding the right fulfilment partner will be crucial for you. Tell us how you came across Huboo and why you decided to work with us?
We used to do all our picking and packing in-house but as we started to grow, we quickly realised that this isn’t our area of expertise and it was becoming too big of a task for us to manage efficiently.
We’d heard about Huboo and after meeting with the team, we felt really reassured that the business would have the capabilities to handle all of our supply chain logistics. One of the things we have found most beneficial since working with Huboo is the constant communication we have with our hub manager. They’re always at the end of the phone if we need to check on something and we really trust their opinions on the best way to get our products out to our customers.
We also have quite a lot of key sales periods throughout the year – whether that’s Christmas or around a new product launch – and Huboo has been brilliant at supporting us when we’re really busy. It’s so helpful to know that everything is completely taken care of and we can focus on doing what we do best.
What is next on the horizon for Flare Audio?
We have some new product launches coming later this year which is really exciting. We’re also still enjoying the success of our latest in-ear product Calmer, which launched in June last year and has sold over 200,000 pairs so far. It’s a small device worn in the ear to reduce stress and calm your environment.
And longer-term we want to keep fulfilling our mission of helping people listen better, for longer.
And finally, what business advice would you give to other startups and social enterprises out there?
Starting a new business is not easy and the process calls on all facets of your personality!
For me, a new business needs to deliver on a number of key elements…
- Solve a real issue in a simple way.
- Test and learn a marketing strategy (before scaling it).
- Don’t be afraid of change.
- Ensure the financials consistently stack up. If you ace it, own it (do it in-house) but if you don’t ace it, don’t own it (outsource it).
- …and, if you match all the above… never give up. There’s always a way – and sometimes you have to take a few side steps to get there.
Click here to see how Huboo can also help you with your fulfilment needs.