Headphones manufacturer Fiil Audio, a new company founded by several industry members who are anything but, introduced its latest model on Tuesday.
The privately owned company was founded by Scott Hix and Brian Carskadon, both formerly of SOL Republic, and Deena Ghazarian, formerly of Monster. As with SOL, Fiil was born out of Target Path, a CE accelerator owned by the trio.
Carskadon is president of Fiil while Hix is managing director and Ghazarian executive director.
The newest model from the company, the wireless in-ear Drifter headphones, carry a $99 price tag and are positioned as everyday headphones for professionals. They feature a necklace design with a magnetic clasp that will start and stop music when clasped and unclasped. Other specs include multi-device pairing, call functionality and an 11-hour battery life.
They’re are currently available in black and will be offered in red “soon.”
TWICE spoke with Hix prior to the Drifter’s launch, who acknowledged the market’s extreme saturation of headphones brands just a few years ago. But, as Hix noted, the ranks have since thinned out while the market continues to grow, driven by wireless audio and consumers with heightened interest in sound quality. The Fiil brand is intended to resonate with discerning consumers seeking to connect with a brand on an emotional level.
More specifically, its targeted audience is the “hybrid consumer,” Hix said, which he defined as someone who is both tech savvy and culturally connected. “Smaller brands have tried to be all things to everyone, so it was important for us to pick a lane to whom we’re speaking to,” he said.
And Hix brings experience when speaking with those consumers; SOL Republic made early use of social media. The company successfully engaged with consumers with its grassroots “SOLdiers” program, made up of committed users eager to promote the brand across social platforms.
While Fiil will also promote the brand using known influencers, the company is mindful of avoiding the celebrity branding trend that previously enveloped the headphones industry, as companies sought to replicate the success of Beats by Dr. Dre.
“I watched for 15 years of an over-abuse of the endorsement illuminati,” Hix said. “The danger of that is it lacks in the authenticity that consumers are looking for.”
“That’s kind of been played already.”