From mountain biking at Moab to a long season for winter sports up north, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities in Utah. Thanks to that and some decent colleges, the state has drawn a young and active population. And we’ve got plenty of companies that cater to the fun-loving lifestyle that comes with it. Heather recently did an interview with Paul Marshall, founder and CEO of Utah-based Wicked Audio. While they’re a direct competitor of another local brand, they’re no imitator. We also like the fact that they sponsor athletes participating in some of our favorite sports. So we’re sharing a little love for a company that supports good times.
HC: You guys are growing fast, but not exactly a household name yet. Tell us what Wicked Audio is all about. How did you get started?
PM: We’re certainly growing very quickly, and have become a familiar name with a great deal of customer nationwide. We are a stylized headphone company that focuses on sound quality. We also don’t charge an arm and a leg for our products, which is what makes us so appealing. Great sound and quality for a reasonable price. We feel someone should be able to have great sounding headphones at a good price.
HC: It’s a pretty crowded market, with plenty of competition. How does Wicked Audio separate itself from other brands?
PM: Our packaging sets up apart. When you walk up to a wall of headphones most of them are in cheap plastic packaging. We put a nice box around the product. We want the user to have a great experience from the time they are looking at the wall to make a decision on what headphone to buy all the way through to putting it on and listening to their favorite music. We’re also always trying to think of the best colors and designs that will ensure our customers stand out.
HC: Wicked has a pretty active sponsorship program that includes athletes and even DJs. Do you ever get to hang with them? If so, what’s that like?
PM: It’s fun. We absolutely hang out with them. They are all very down to earth and just want to go out and have some fun and entertain. Its great to see their progression as well.
HC: What’s new for 2013? Can you give us the scoop on anything in the works? Expanding current lines, or taking them in different directions? Any plans for gaming headphones?
PM: We have some very cool stuff coming out at the end of the year. A few different families of products that will take headphones to the next level. You will have to stay tuned.
HC: Do you have a secret design lab, but without the white coats and pocket protectors? Ever just go crazy with a design, like 2 person headphones, or sick graphics?
PM: We have an awesome design team of 6 people who range in age from 23 to 32 years old. They love to come up with crazy ideas. They have an awesome inspiration board with all sort of cool stuff on it. It’s very intriguing.
HC: You pitted yourself against Beats by Dr. Dre. last year. That was bold for the newcomer. What would you say to someone trying to decide between Wicked Audio and Beats?
PM: Beats has certainly asserted its self as the 800 pound gorilla in the market. They have done wonders for the entire headphone industry. We are trying to let people know that they can also have awesome sound quality and style at a better price with Wicked Audio headphones.
HC: You’re stuck on a deserted island. Which Wicked product is going to keep you company?
PM: I like our EVAC. Its comfortable and has killer sound.