Built with a Purpose
The idea for AudioCoasters was born on a usually hot October day in 2015 while on a packed train in Tokyo on a business trip. As I stood on this crowded train between Tokyo Station and Harajuku station listening to music on a pair of over-the-ear headphones, I notice that the heat and humidity caused the area around my ears to sweat profusely. This small contact patch between the vinyl cushion and my head caused sweat to roll down portions of my face, neck, and back. At the end of the train ride, I was so irritated by the constant wiping off of sweat and dirt from the ear pads that I continued the rest of my day without using my headphones.
Exiting the train station, I decided to stop at Meiji Temple for some site seeing and to air out from the train ride. While walking the grounds of the temple letting the perspiration and irritation dry up, I looked for a solution to my sweaty (ear) lobes problem. From working in the motorsports industry, I knew that there was a solution out there for this problem. I have seen and used cushion covers on racing headsets in the past. Maybe I could find a nice set while in Japan?
But there were a couple of issues I had with the current solution. The racing headset cushion covers I used in the past were not ideal for what I needed. They are normally made of cotton, so they held moisture like a sponge, were bulky, and did not look cool at all. Additionally, they completely covered the gap between the pads with one piece of material, blanketing your ear, and restricting cool air from flowing. What I needed was something that would move the moisture away from that contact patch, keeping it dry and allow for air to flow over the ear. I figured that something like that existed. I was in Japan, one of the most innovative countries in the world, so I went looking.
During my 5-day business trip to Japan and Korea, I looked in shops and malls everywhere from Harajuku, Akihabara, Shibuya, and Soul. For months after my trip to Japan, I looked online for something that would work. Even during visits to China and Hong Kong, I looked for headset cushion covers, still finding nothing.
After months of searching, it was clear I wasn’t going to find what I was looking for in the stores. If that was the case, I needed to build it myself.
The list of requirements was long. Making the covers stylish and machine washable was simple to figure out. But the former Marine in me knew it had to be more than a sock slipped over a headphone cushion. My covers had to be:
Tough enough to stand up to punishing environments. Whether on a train in Tokyo, on the track at Willow Springs, or on a worksite.The covers had to be adaptable. Not only fit my headphones but any over-the-ear headsets with a similar form factor.
They needed to fit securely on the headset. So it does not feel to the wearer that they are slipping off or moving.
I spent years researching materials, fabrics, and manufacturing techniques. Designing hundreds of different patterns and producing failed prototype after prototype (Thanks for the help Mom), I finally landed on a design that met my standards. AudioCoasters were released in 2019, right before the COVID 19 pandemic. But in light of those difficult times, sales continued and even picked up as more and more people used AudioCoasters.
Build, Measure, Learn
Fast forward to now. I have taken the lessons from what I learned working in Silicon Valley and applied them to AudioCoasters. I continued to innovate, making small tweaks with the help of our customer's feedback to make the best product possible.
Here at AudioCoasters, we are building a product with a purpose. It is not good enough to build something that looks cool on your headphones. It must function in a way that is beneficial to the user. It may sound corny, but we are designing athletic wear for your ears. What you see is just the beginning. We are developing new designs and finding new materials that work for our customers and their needs.
Whether you are in the gym working out, on the job site, on the flight line in 100-degree heat, or gaming with your friends, we got you covered.