When you talk about SOL REPUBLIC, it's not so much what you see but rather what you hear.
And undoubtedly feel.
Granted, the SOL REPUBLIC web site is visually stunning, a dizzying array of colors and a vibe that exudes all things contemporary, robust and remarkable. But it's not until you put on a pair of their headphones that you can truly feel and understand just how dedicated and passionate they are to their craft.
It's easy to say SOL REPUBLIC just makes headphones, but that is a gross understatement. That's like saying Apple only makes computers or Pepsi only creates drinks. Those companies are at the top of their game creatively, and SOL REPUBLIC is right there alongside them with headphones and wireless speakers that redefined all aspects of how those products were made.
Seth Combs is one of the founders of SOL REPUBLIC, created in 2011, and speaks affectionately about not just selling headphones to the general public but the precision and passion that goes into devising a product that personifies quality, underscored with a true admiration for music and consumers who want the most out of it.
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"Let's build something unique," Combs said, recalling how the SOL REPUBLIC initiative started. "Not a corporation, as much as it was a lifestyle movement and something special. That was our mindset from day 1. We had a name, logo and the wrote down our philosophy."
Combs comments not surprisingly echo the sentiment of the overall look, feel and sound of SOL REPUBLIC. Think of it as a headphones and music entity actually and ironically listening to what customers want, rather than simply churning out the rudimentary, boring status quo. That isn't what SOL REPUBLIC stands for when it comes to how they do business.
Much like the aforementioned Apple and Pepsi, SOL REPUBLIC embodies a mission statement and mantra that is about excellence in what they devise, create and sell.
"We want to design from scratch, and ask 'what does the market need,' " Combs says when talking about the thought process that goes into producing SOL REPUBLIC headphones. "What happens to all other headphones; they're destined to break, not if but when."
It's that kind of progressive thinking and questioning attitude that allowed SOL REPUBLIC to put forth a headphone template of sorts that is virtually indestructible.
"Most of them (traditional headphones) have a hinge factor so they can fold into a case," Combs explains. "That hinge creates a breaking point. We created a solid piece with no moving part. I mean, if you took a knife to it, it would break," Combs says jokingly. "Durability was key for us."
In addition to its precision and incredible dedication to durability, what really is truly refreshing about SOL REPUBLIC is its indelible determination to make headphones affordable to the masses. In a day and age when headphones can cost as much or more than a tablet or smart phone, SOL REPUBLIC resists the temptation to price out a majority of potential buyers and offers headphones right around the $100 mark.
You might begin to assume that the $100 price point would equate to a lesser product when compared to comparable headphones that tip the scales at $300 or $400. Ask anyone who has donned a pair of SOL REPUBLIC headphones, and they'll quick dispel that notion. What they will tell you is that they sat back and quickly became enamored with the crystal clear sound.
"We are passionate about what we do and taking care of the consumer," Combs says. "The industry (of headphones) hasn't changed. People are still doing the same headphone. We set out to make it better, to change the landscape."
You'll often hear companies concoct rhetoric about a customer centric mindset or the overly generic "customer comes first" spiel. That's all well and good, but true consumer satisfaction isn't about what is said but how each and every customer is treated. SOL REPUBLIC believes wholeheartedly in that sentiment but isn't just speaking ubiquitously or without merit or honestly.
They're about showing it, too.
"It (headphones) are about the look and fashion state," Combs says, but not at the expense of gouging the customers in the process. "(Other companies) want to sell you different colors by buying new headphones. It's $300 for black and now you want red; so, you buy again. Not us, we give you interchangeable headphones and all the pieces. And what about losing the ear tips; then you're stuck, right? We are the first and only company that gives you free ear tips for life."
Catering to customer needs isn't anything new for SOL REPUBLIC; it is the backbone of how the company started and why it is flourishing while defying the odds of producing headphones for around $100, yet not losing steam from a sound perspective.
After all, isn't spine tingling, superior sound absolutely paramount when you're selecting headphones?
"The key to great sound is the right size ear tips, and generally you only get one size," Combs says. "A lot of women complained ear tips are too large. So, we created an extra small."
SOL REPUBLIC innately is always several steps ahead of the curve within their industry. Rather than rely and rest on what they've done, they're constantly trying to improve on what they do, the mark of a company that doesn't walk a fine line between success and complacency.
Take the problem most athletes have when you talk about working out, running or doing any type of activity that begs for headphones that aren't consistently popping out of your ears at the most inopportune time.
SOL REPUBLIC not surprisingly came to the rescue with their renowned "Relays," which reinvented how the marketplace looks at sports headphones. "Relays" dismiss the idea that sports headphones can't be long lasting and give off impeccable sound quality; they have both.
Then again, what else would you expect from SOL REPUBLIC?
is unique and groundbreaking because it embraces and is deeply rooted in a music first mentality that gears each and every product toward what other music lovers want and, ultimately, deserve.
"Music is the universal language. We can change the world one listener at a time. Some manufacturer builds and designs same headphones and a company just puts their logo on it. That's not good enough. We build from scratch. Everything is special and well thought out," Combs says.
"If you love music, you're part of us."
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