EARPHONE SOLUTIONS HISTORY
My family tradition in the music business dates back to 1928 when my great-grandfather Joaquim Pires founded the LUX Pianos factory. I started FMA in 1995. Since 1999 I had an online store created but we didn't want to go live fearing all the fraudulent activity and signing our lives out to the credit card contracts -- back then there was no recourse and credit card companies were just starting to try to understand online businesses.
In 2000 after the crash of the Nasdaq I decided to launch our online presence and go live with the site. Up to that point we were a retail and wholesale of musical instruments and professional audio equipment. We were doing very well but I wanted to create a hedge and ecommerce made a lot of sense so I started to learn html by reading the source code of other sites. Back then, aside from Amazon, almost every other company had a website just with their name on it, address and phone number. Some sites you had to print an order form and fax them your order. So we kind of pioneered the shopping cart as we know today, with the help of Yahoo.
We started by offering all kinds of sound and musical equipment online. We had already been established authorized dealers since 1995 for Roland keyboards, Korg, Fender guitars, DW drums, Ibanez, Shure, AKG, Sennheiser, Neumann, Marshall amps, Music Man guitars, Dean Markley, D'Addario, Vic Firth, Marantz, Line 6, Monster Cable, Pearl, PRS Guitars, Ampeg, Gibson, Warwick Basses, Lexicon, JBL, Bose Professional, -- you get the picture.
Problem was, most of these manufacturers were in California and most of our customers were in California. Why was that a problem? Back then packaging was not made to travel in singles. The keyboard boxes were made to ship in big pallets to retail locations via truck and not single units. The result: a lot of freight damage. We had to have those products shipped to our warehouse in Orlando, Florida and then most of them back to customers in California. We never worked with distributors and we never bought merchandise from resellers.
All our accounts were, and are to this date, factory direct. And most of them were on the West Coast. If we couldn't establish a direct account with a manufacturer, we wouldn't sell them. This is kind of a philosophical and personal choice. The individual makes a choice in their life to either be legit, authorized dealers and face all the difficulties and rewards that comes with that or chooses the easy way of the online underground and become an anonymous reseller at eBay and Amazon.
With the advent of the Apple iPod our customers' profile went from professional to a much broader and increasing market: the iPod owners. Later on we launched Earphone Solutions and renamed our main website from Music One to Microphone Solutions as we were doing really well with Shure microphones -- and no freight damage on that type of merchandise. We discontinued selling keyboards, drums, accessories, guitars and later we also stopped selling professional audio, with the exception of wireless and wired microphones.
Earphone Solutions kept growing with the iPod, iPhone and iPad and I enjoyed working with it even more. I was never a musician. Always wanted to but never had the talent. So, to explore these fascinating in ear micro speakers gave me great pleasure and helping people with the increasing difficulty of choosing a set of earphones gave me a renewed satisfaction. It was very rewarding to simply help -- even when the caller didn't buy from us. I remember taking enormous satisfaction when people would be in awe when I recommended a solution that was less expensive than what they called about. I love it.