Q&A: Jen Soulé, Other World ComputingAugust 5, 2014 By Nancy Klosek
OWC’s new president comments on accessories industry directions and on how her company, as a supplier and seller of computer and tablet enhancement products, is addressing these trends.
Dealerscope: Talk a bit about the accessories market as a whole, and in which categories you see the biggest growth opportunities.
Jen Soulé: We’re seeing tremendous growth on the storage side of the business, with excellent opportunities to continue that growth. The size of digital audio, photo and video collections as well as video production needs are major drivers for both consumer and professional user storage. Because of this, we are continuing to expand our storage line to meet the needs of the individual consumer and the family, on up to the professional cinematographer and post-production team.
For computer and device accessories, we’re seeing continued growth with our KX line of cases and screen protectors, batteries, tool kits and upgrade kits, such as our iMac upgrade kit, as our customers look to maximize their earlier computer investments. Since many of the “new” computer introductions have been modest from the standpoint of features, capabilities and specifications, we are finding people more interested in upgrading/enhancing their existing systems and using that “extra” money to buy an iPad or tablet or upgrade to the next generation of always-with-them, always-on larger smartphone or phablet.
That upgrade-and-enhance approach has been in our DNA for years. It has been what we’ve been advocating since the beginning. Because individuals and organizations have to manage their budgets more closely, they find that with the purchase of a few well-chosen components, they immediately have a system that is as powerful as – if not more so – than a new computer that would have cost them more just to start with a base system. As a result, the strength of sales that tie directly to this area is no surprise.
Dealerscope: You were head of product development at OWC before moving into this position. What are some of the initiatives that have already been started that you plan to follow through on, and what future product development avenues or categories do you plan to pursue as president?
Soulé: I’m still directly involved with some of our enterprise and Thunderbolt storage initiatives that I started while in product development. However, my successor is taking on more and more of the daily decisions and coordination efforts needed to bring the products to market. I’ll continue to push development in those areas as well as in other product categories because a constant flow of new, different, better products is the lifeblood of our growth.