No matter how old you are, everyone at some points has to the need to reminiscence about the good ole days. In fact, many of us choose to do this by attaching ourselves to objects that help us remember a different period of our lives. But it is truly remarkable when an object of the past becomes a vintage attention grabbing centerpiece that is as functional as the modern version. Introducing Curious Provisions’ thumpers, the upcycled speakers that are true head turners. The old school speakers are a classy item and maintain the quality of a modern speaker that even sport Bluetooth capability. So why not turn some heads while you bob your head to your tunes.
Today we sit down with the team at Curious Provisions to learn the stylish speakers and the unlikely story on the company’s origin.
Tell us about the product or service.
We upcycle authentic vintage luggage into high-fidelity portable boomboxes called Thumpers. They’re attention-grabbers with class; the perfect complement to a day at the beach, the understated centerpiece for your living room.
How is it different?
Each product is one-of-a-kind. In recent years speaker designs have tended towards ever-more streamlined, unobtrusive styling. Everyone wants to express their individual style – I believe our products can provide that. You won’t find someone else on the train or walk into another living room with your exact product.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We’re focusing on the affluent demographic, or anyone who wants something that’s not mass produced. It’s a large group, but niched.
What is the business model?
Since we’ll never have good SEO against the conglomerates in a saturated market, we focus on seasonal releases, e.g. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. And being that each product is one-of-a-kind, we have a sizeable email list to market to directly.
In this day and age aren’t people going for smaller items rather than something large like one of the company’s ‘Thumpers’?
We offer three sizes Mighty (small), Maestro (medium), and Virtuoso (large) Thumpers in a variety of colors and styles. Every unit features 12 hours of playback as well as auxiliary connections and Bluetooth™ wireless connectivity. So if someone wants something more portable that they don’t have to lug around, that weighs 10 lbs or less, our Mighty series is perfect for them. However if someone wants an art piece in their living room that can irritate their neighbors, the Virtuoso series is the answer, etc.
Tell us a little about your background and what inspired the business?
I started Curious Provisions from a simple idea I had while working on a commercial shoot a few years back while leaving an unfulfilling career in finance. After building the first concept and showcasing it to a friend, he simply asked “how much?” 1 sale turned to 5; 5 turned to 10; thus, a website was built and a business launched.
Since I was living in NY and traveled to vicarious locations on the east coast to meet with colleagues on projects, my colleagues offered to partner up and use their workspace in Atlanta to help me build my products, since any large space in NY would be financial suicide. After each build of 20-30 Thumpers, a small batch would be delivered to me in NY. In my downtime, I would roam the streets of Soho, Manhattan and play a Tribe Called Quest to catch interest. Luckily, I ran into a guy who offered me a thousand dollars and his passport in exchange to borrow my Thumper for 4 hours on his rooftop since he was having a party without any music. Instead of taking his money (and passport), I offered to do it for free. He mentioned that he was part of the management group for a hotel called the Gansevoort in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan and said to me that these would be a great addition. A week after our rooftop shenanigans, I was cc’d on an email with the CEO to show him the products in person. Within 30 seconds of our meeting, he immediately asked “why do we want these?” 5 minutes later, he cut me a check for an amount myself, or my team, wasn’t prepared for. 2 months later, the Gansevoort received a Thumper in each room (200 total).
This deal allowed me to move the office to Santa Monica, CA, which in total includes me and a team of 3 others. Opportunities have snowballed since: we were featured on Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” video, Shaquille O’Neal personally purchased 10 Thumpers, we’ve provided sound for Kaskade at his events in Los Angeles, and I presented at Apple as part of the LA startup showcase.
Tell us what building your company in LA has been like?
Exciting is the first word that comes to mind. I lived in NY for 4 years before moving to LA – there’s a different energy here. People seem more open to connect, share ideas, and listen to others. And having perfect weather nearly year-round is perfect for our products.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
I don’t necessarily have an arbitrary number of sales or products we need to hit. We’re projected to do another 6 figures this year, and the company is cash flow positive with no debt. My main milestone is to continue to innovate. Every release we add something new, and I’m hoping we’ll have some exciting new features to share soon.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
I haven’t met them yet. Mainly I’d like to have a mentor that’s been down my path before and could help me avoid making bad decisions.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
There are so many successful entrepreneurs and people I look up to and admire in Los Angeles. If I’m able to build a successful and sustainable business in LA makes me feel empowered and believe that I can do anything I set my mind towards.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
I wish there were easier ways to find mentors.
Do you think LA will land the Olympics in 2024?
We landed an NFL team, next up: Olympics