BOOM SWIMMER - Interview with Ryan Minarik
When Ryan Minarik could not find the speaker he wanted at a price point suitable for a college student, he took matters into his own hands. BOOM began as a startup specifically targeting the college market and the results have been remarkable. Now a multi-product company with the newest speaker being the BOOM SWIMMER, Ryan shares the story of BOOM and his road to success.
How did BOOM get started?
BOOM was started in 2010 by a college student, Ryan Minarik, who aspired to build quality sound products at entry level/college friendly prices. This aspiration was driven through the early explosion of the headphone market and insights into manufacturing from Ryan’s father, Jim Minarik, an executive at DEI Holdings (parent company of Polk Audio and Definitive Technology). Through this connection and further discussion, the brand became integrated as a startup inside of DEI Holdings to build a colorful line of entry-level headphones—a segment of the market that was not and could not be addressed by Polk Audio or Definitive Technology.
The first growth for the brand was initiated through a strategic sales and marketing plan via selling product into college campuses and driving demand through a guerilla marketing plan with campus reps; within six months, BOOM’s presence had grown from five schools to 500.
Over time and more growth, DEI saw potential in BOOM and looped it into a strategic initiative to develop innovative and differentiated personal audio products via enlisting world renown design firm, Frog Design.
Through this exercise, BOOM developed the ethos of Ready 4 Anything and began to build products from the ground up that reflected that lifestyle.
What is the significance of your tagline, “Ready 4 Anything”?
The tagline Ready 4 Anything is a standard that all BOOM products are held to. Specifically, we aspire to build products that live up to this statement and are adventurous by nature. Features like durability, flexibility, attachment capability, alterative use cases, and simple innovation drive BOOM and the ready for anything sentiment.
Where did the inspiration for the SWIMMER stem from?
The SWIMMER was inspired by predecessor the URCHIN, a larger, water resistant, attachable speaker first developed in 2010. With that bit of experience, BOOM aspired to develop a product that was even more versatile than the URCHIN. This thought process evolved BOOM to push the limits with its size and adaptability. This also drove our decisions to make it waterproof and develop the tail attachment, which are arguably the two biggest features of the product.
Was there a specific goal in mind when creating this speaker?
The goal in creating the SWIMMER was simplicity; create the loudest most versatile speaker in the world that could be accessible to everyone. This helped drive decisions on size, attachment capability, durability and pricing.
Was there one feature that was more important than the other for the SWIMMER?
The most important feature on the SWIMMER was making it waterproof, which specifically meant it would need to survive in three feet of water for 30 minutes (IPX7 Rating). This feature drove all decisions in the product’s development cycle from ideation, to design and engineering. To that end, while waterproof was the most important feature, a close second was the tail, as it made sense for the durability by allowing a user to bring the product anywhere and everywhere.
How did the “tail” attachment get developed?
The tail attachment was developed via creative problem solving on attachments. The BOOM design team looked at a number of different products outside of the tech space and assimilated with a product that had a copper-based tail. From there, the team began to investigate the size of the tail and develop different use cases for it. It was a winner.
What challenges did you face while creating the SWIMMER?
The biggest challenge in making the SWIMMER was making it waterproof at the targeted price point. This was a serious design and engineering feat that was critical to the success of the product.
What has been the response so far?
The response has exceeded our expectations in every way possible; from awards to retail placement, to PR and consumer reviews, its clear the SWIMMER is a loved product.