Frends Headphones

frends headphonesProfessional snowboarder Keir Dillon and business partner Sheen Moaleman pitch Frends Headphones, their line of high fashion headphones for women, in Shark Tank episode 710. The business got started back in 2011 when Dillon and some of his friends in the extreme sports and snowboarding world decided they wanted to create a branded business together. They chose headphones as a product they could sell because they all used them on a daily basis and felt they could associate their lifestyle with the brand.

They chose the name Frends as an allusion to their group of friends. As a group, they all believe there is no “I” in frends. They market Frends Headphones to women as the “leading brand in designer audio accessories.” With bedazzled designs an switchable headphone caps to change the look of the headphones easily, the Frends have captured the high style, female market for headphones.

Some of the products, like the Dolce & Gabbana, Embellished Leather Headphones with Gold Crown, sell for $9,000 a pair, but most of their products run about $200. Pop star Rhiana put Frends on the map when she tweeted a picture of herself wearing the aforementioned Dolce and Gabbana headphones. The company appears to have solid sales, but perhaps they want a Shark to help them grow their brand.

My Take on Frends Headphones

I'm not much of a headphone guy. I like to listen to music through a speaker. If a speaker isn't an option, I do without music. I never liked the isolation of headphones, so I never used them, but my kids do.

I remember when Beats by Dre headphones were all the rage. My daughters all wanted a pair, but I couldn't justify spending north of $100 for a pair of headphones that look like they cost ten bucks (or less) to make in China. I suggested they check out some lower priced options and they were able to get a suitable pair of headphones for five bucks. While they weren't the height of fashion, they worked just fine.

Frends Headphones are doing the same thing Dr. Dre did with Beats Headphones: they're branding a fairly inexpensive product to manufacture with a high margin sales price to the most brand conscious group of people in the world. Many women want to be on the cutting edge of fashion, whether it's with shoes or headphones. As long as Frends can continue to be relevant in fashion, they'll continue to sell headphones.

I won't be a customer, and although they are a very successful company, I'm not buying the branding message – at least at the prices they're charging. For that reason, I am out.

Will Sharks wear Headphones?

The Sharks may mock the price of some of Frends Headphones products, but they won't mock the company's sales numbers. Frends has a ton of sales, which the Sharks will love. I bet their margins have to be at least 70% and their products are all made in China. That won't deter the Sharks, if they see a profitable business, they will bite.

The only objection I see is headphones aren't proprietary (maybe we'll see Mr. Wonderful Headphones soon). Frends is a straight branding play, so their message better be strong. That said, I think they could see an offer.

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

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