By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Old accessories makers may drop out of the business for a time, but never say they won't make a return visit.
Such is the case with Norman Docteroff, chairman/CEO of Voxred International, the company introducing a line of portable consumer electronics chargers, headed by Turbo Charge, at the upcoming 2006 International CES in Las Vegas this January.
Docteroff is teaming with long-time CE accessories industry executive Bob Borchardt, who has been named an associate and advisor for Voxred.
At the same time, Docteroff and Borchardt, along with Greg Borchardt, Bob's son, have formed a venture company called Centurian Associates. The three general partners, based in Fairfield, N.J., plan to invest in smaller companies that offer innovative products. The first backing is Docteroff's Voxred, while the second is Baltimore-based Blackstone International, which currently is launching its MFuel line of digital power products.
“We are investing in companies with hot, innovative products, where we can work with sales and marketing, set up rep organizations, coordinate activities and distribution, get the right direction,” Borchardt told TWICE.
“We are looking to add the value we bring, to build on our personal relationships with retailers and to point the companies in the right direction. Through Centurian, we will construct a base for continued investments in these smaller companies,” said Borchardt about future expansion.
Voxred's Docteroff, who made a name for himself in accessories nearly 40 years ago, when he co-founded Gemini Industries, brings more than 30 years of experience and successful sales and marketing of CE and computer accessories to the table.
Starting with a Gemini do-it-yourself consumer home kit for installation of roof-top TV antennas, he helped expand the company's product line to include audio, video and telephone do-it-yourself accessories. Within five years after its founding in 1967, Gemini was said to be the largest supplier of CE accessories in the United States.
In 1986, Docteroff and his partner Sandy Garfinkle sold 60 percent of Gemini, which was grossing $72 million annually, to Wesray Capital. Docteroff and Garfinkle continued to manage Gemini, building revenue to $180 million in 1989. Shortly thereafter, Wesray and Gemini management sold the company to Merrill Lynch Capital Partners.
Docteroff, following a short absence, returned to the CE industry as a marketing and sales consultant for Solutions Plus, where he helped assemble an advisory and management team, many of whom had worked for Gemini. The success of Solutions Plus inspired Docteroff to form Voxred, from which the newly introduced Turbo Charge product has come.
Moving back into the accessories business spotlight as an associate with and advisor to Voxred is Borchardt, who until a few years ago served as chairman, president/CEO of accessories maker Recoton. Borchardt traces his roots back to his family's founding of Recoton some 70 years ago. Under his leadership, the company grew to more than $700 million in revenue before being purchased in 2003 by the French company Thomson, following Recoton's bankruptcy and subsequent sale at auction.
Borchardt, who remains a highly regarded CE industry spokesman and electronics association leader, has kept his hands in the accessories water in the two year's since the end of his tenure at Recoton, culminating with the teaming of two long-time CE accessories competitors, who, bolstered by all the business experiences of tested veterans, now have ventured into the start of something new.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.