What’s New With Headphones
One trend we're seeing - and this is consistent through all the brands out there, and not specific to the headphone category - is much more style-conscious designs. It's not just the old days of the historically good-sounding headphones that look like headphones. They're becoming more than accessories; they're becoming jewelry-like. People have multiple sets and choose what they use based on what they're wearing that day.
For us, the interesting and beneficial part of design is the materials we're using. We're a very earth-friendly brand, and that fits with the ideals and beliefs of the Marley family. We use very little plastic and lots of textiles and different materials in the headbands. Some of the new SKUs are almost completely covered in fabric, and we're going to the extent of developing our own fabrics using hemp, Recycled PET and organic cotton. We're also using aluminum, which can be recycled, rather than plastic for things like ear cans and headstraps. We're using stainless steel and leather, and we're concerned with the way the leather is tanned. The wood we are using is FSC-certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council, meaning that when the trees are harvested they're replenished. All our packaging on headphones that use wood will carry FSC logos and reference numbers. In fact, every box we make has details of all the components used.
Eric Stubbert, Channel Manager, Consumer Division, Sennheiser: I don't think there's a lot of change in the technology, per se; the trend has clearly gone toward lifestyle, versus just a tool for listening to music. It's a dual function accessory. For example, it's not uncommon to see kids wearing headphones around their necks with the cables detached, just as an accessory item. The technology is fairly stable, although I think you'll see more headphones shipping with devices built into the cables for controlling iPhones or Android devices.