That was the overwhelming response I got from my friends in college. I had a beat up card board box sitting in the corner of my bedroom with 25 “skull crushers” and a square, black banner from SkullCandy.
“What are you going to do with them?” my friend asked as he was pointing to the box of headphones. “Give them away” I said. “I’m going to have the performers throw them into the crowd at the Halloween Party.”
My friend continued with the questions, “Really? Where did they come from?” I said, “The Consumer Electronics Show. This guy Rick started a headphone company. I couldn’t leave his booth. He had the sickest headphones with ridiculous designs and backpacks with built in speakers. Every design was so interesting and unique. I thought it would be awesome to give these away at the Halloween Party so I called them up and asked if they wanted to sponsor the party. They said yes.”
I’m pretty sure this was one of the first events they ever sponsored. The event was great and I sent them pictures as proof.
(above: picture of Collie Buddz in front of the SkullCandy banner at my Halloween event)
This was all a result of my 2003 trip to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the same year SkullCandy was founded. I met Rick Alden, John Lisichich, Brad Williams and a few other folks from SkullCandy while I was walking the exhibition hall. I don’t know the exact figures or size of the show off the top of my head, but suffice it to say, you could spend weeks walking the exhibition hall of that show and still not see every booth. And you would want to. As a tech junkie of gadgets and gizmos you could stay busy for hours looking at all the toys, but for some reason I couldn’t leave the SkullCandy booth once I stumbled upon it.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one either.
Fast forward to today. The company is now a publicly traded company and no matter where you go you’ll find SkullCandy product.
When I think about that box sitting in my room I often wonder about what they did so differently or what they did that made them so successful. After all, they were just selling headphones and in a business sense being in consumer electronics is typically a pretty hard business.
But the more I think about it, the more I realized their success came from great marketing and hustle. Rick and his team enthusiastically spoke to almost everyone that walked through their booth and they had a product they were proud to stand behind. It was a product they were excited about and a product mostly everyone else was excited about. It’s pretty easy to see how they would of had success getting their “skull crushers” into stores and moving them off the shelves. And now they are a global brand with product in almost every store.
It’s really exciting to see a small underdog grow up to be a leader in a space and its equally as gratifying to have have been a small part of the ride. I hope I see more success stories like this and hopefully one day I’ll have the opportunity to build a company like Rick did.
Now they are on to much bigger and better events than my tiny Halloween Party.
(above: “Identity” concert I went to in Camden NJ on 8/19/2011 – DJ avicii is on stage)