If there was a Yelp listing for every industry niche, “Headphone Brand” would appear with the most possible dollar signs.
Big brands use bigger celebrities and spend some of the biggest ad budgets around to promote their products and, really, the emotion they want you to feel when you buy their products. Artists like Kendrick Lamar and Nicki Minaj, athletes like LeBron James, and brands like Apple, Sony, Bose, and more, all slug it out to deliver the same message in increasingly expensive ways: “These headphones are the best.”
This is a flashy, fast-paced industry niche.
So what in the heck do we make of Grado Labs?
In 1918, a Sicilian immigrant purchased a small building on a nondescript block in Brooklyn. Over nearly a century ago, while the world around this building changed at breakneck speed, the world inside plodded along. It was one kind of business, and then, gradually, another. It was led by one generation of Grado, and then, gradually, another.
They don’t advertise, not one cent. They don’t upgrade much, using the same old equipment in the same old building. And they even make their headphones by hand.
So why are they such a success in the digital age?