By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
BOSTON — BlueFlame Technologies, a new CE accessories manufacturer, is planning a significant expansion into the market this summer and fall, one it marked with the announcement of its ShowerSling water-resistant Bluetooth speaker.
The company, which is a division of music instrument maker First Act, launched in September 2012 and came out of the gate with a variety of smartphone and tablet accessories, including portable speakers, tablet stands, sync and charge cables, Bluetooth receivers and cleaning products.
Jeff Walker, the company’s business development and marketing VP, told TWICE that the BlueFlame brand was a natural extension of First Act, and that it launched in response to an opportunity it saw “to offer technology-infused enthusiasts with products that would align well with their smartphones and tablets whatever other i-devices or mobile devices they have.”
Albeit a currently crowded market, Walker said the company tries to stand out from competitors by placing emphasis not only the product’s features and designs, but on the packaging and presentation to the consumer as well. The BlueFlame accessories are geared toward “hip and edgy” consumers, Walker said, and the products and their packaging are meant to follow in the same highly stylized and design-conscious footsteps.
BlueFlame is currently evolving its product offering to include bags, portable power and Bluetooth speakers, he said, and there are plans for “a couple dozen” new products to begin shipping in the late summer or fall of this year.
One of these new products, the SlingShot Bluetooth speaker, is being readied by BlueFlame for summer availability. It features a water-resistant construction — making it geared toward use in the shower or at the beach — and will be offered in different SKUs: one with a lithium- ion rechargeable battery and one powered by four AA batteries.
It comes with one Sling, which supports the speaker, for a $99.99 suggested retail. The Sling can be swapped out and will also be sold separately for $19.99.
Other features include a built-in mic for speakerphone use and A2DP streaming. It has a 40mm speaker, 1.2- watt power output, and a frequency response of 100Hz to 10kHz. It will ship at the end of this month.
BlueFlame, which is based out of Boston, does its manufacturing in China and Hong Kong, and the company also has an office in Shenzhen, China. Walker said that the company also shares resources with First Act.
He noted that the company is working on expanding beyond the national retailers it has — products can currently be found in Target and Kohl’s — and is placing priority on wireless carriers and airport travel stores.
“We want to walk before we run,” Walker said. “We realize we’re newcomers in a challenged and crowded marketplace. We’re really thrilled and excited about the success we’ve had thus far and intend to build upon and be a long-term player.”
The company will support its new products with digital and social-media advertising and promotion, and Walker said BlueFlame is confirmed to be an exhibitor at International CES in January 2014.
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.