Accessorize: Accessories Can Deliver More Than Dollars
Most consumers view accessories as enhancement products, add-on items that maximize the user experience. With the advent of the health and fitness category for CE products—and its own Consumer Electronics Association working group—CE accessories can now add to that list quality of life activities, such as weight loss, blood pressure and glucose monitoring, calorie burning data and more.
Quality-of-life issues, though, take on a different meaning for people with disabilities. Some people who are hearing impaired need hearing aids, while people who are blind might use GPS devices. But we don't always think of the disability community as a significant demographic for the products we sell. Maybe it's because we design and engineer products to show off our technical prowess. Or is it because we are only driven by the bottom line? Whatever the reason, maybe it's time CE accessories manufacturers think about a nobler purpose that includes technology and dollars, but also strives to enhance the quality of life for those less fortunate.
I found out purely by accident that we could, in fact, do both. I recently formed a new company, AfterShokz, which manufactures bone-conduction headphones. My intent was to pursue the usual suspects and sell product through retailers, e-tailers and distributors, as well as our own web store. We secured a booth at the 2012 International CES, hired a PR firm to get the word out, and did all the things I've done in the past to get a startup off the ground. But something different happened this time around.