DELRAY BEACH, FLA. – SMS Audio is taking it to the streets, or more precisely the shopping malls.
The company founded by rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson plans to roll out listening stations at shopping malls nationwide, where consumers can try and buy his full assortment of headphones, wireless speakers, accessories and other SMSbranded products.
The first two kiosks appeared last month at the Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold, N.J., and Washington Square Mall in Portland, Ore.
According to an SMS spokeswoman, the pilot program will extend to additional “top malls” across the country over the next six months.
Unlike the temporary “pop-up” stores that retailers and vendors deployed during the holidays, the kiosks are permanent installations designed to lessen the company’s dependency on retailers.
“We didn’t want to rely on retailers to reach consumers, didn’t want to rely on retailers to get product out, and didn’t want to be at their mercy when it comes to hard reset dates and open to buy,” the spokeswoman said.
So far, consumer response to the listening stations has been “overwhelming positive,” she said. “They’ve seen a lot of action with consumers interested in getting their hands on the products at the physical locations.”
The kiosks carry the company’s complete SKU assortment including on-ear, over-ear and DJ pro headphones and wireless speakers in the Sync by 50 and Street by 50 lines.
SMS was founded in 2011 by Jackson, who is a majority owner and CEO. According to the company, he “had no intention of becoming another rapper with a headphone,” and participates in the engineering and design of each item, rather than “just slapping his name on a product.”