Hypebot Interviews Kevin Lee: CEO of SOL Republic
Former Monster VP of Marketing and Product Development, Kevin Lee, is the visionary mind behind SOL Republic, a new audio company that seeks to bring high-quality sound to the masses by innovating in sound, style, and durability while keeping their product affordable to consumers.
Hypebot's Hisham Dahud caught up with Lee in San Francisco, where the CEO shared some insight on his decision to start his own company, and the mission behind his new brand:
Dahud: “Your father [Noel Lee, Founder of Monster Cable] is known for being a creative entrepreneur, regularly expanding the brand to new and different products lines. What inspired you to start your own company?”
Lee: “It was a personal decision. I’ve always shared the same passion as my father for music, sound, and for the power of music, but I grew up in the family business, so as the saying goes – ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’. Actually, the apple never really fell at all! So starting SOL was an opportunity that I decided to pursue. While my father gave me his full support, he also made it very clear that I’m on my own with this one.”
Dahud: “How does SOL Republic’s passion for an experience of better sound differ than past projects you’ve worked on?”
Lee: “The passion is the same, but while Monster has proven to be successful in expanding to many different product offerings,we’re also passionate about music discovery. We genuinely want to bring what’s new to music discovery, and good sound is just the easiest way for us to do that.”
Dahud: "What sort of technical innovations have you undergone to provide high-quality sound while remaining to keep costs low for consumers?”
Lee: “While I can’t get into specifics, I will say that a lot of work goes into advancement materials, and we have innovated how you get a good sound out of a headphone. We’ve spent a lot of time controlling the highs and gained a strong mid bass punch, so users can turn up their headphones to feel the bass, but still retain the clarity.”
Dahud: “What lengths has SOL Republic gone to keep style and personalization a focus point?”
Lee: “We've chosen a design that was not only appealing to look at, but also iconic. We center your attention on where the most important stuff is happening, which is the speakers, which we call the 'sound engines'. You can also swap the headbands, speakers and cables in different colors, designs and performance features.”
Dahud: "Why did you choose to target a demographic that may not be as aware, and thus not as willing, to spend top dollar for high-quality headphones?"
Lee: “Our goal is to fill a need for the market place around headphones that look good, sound good, and that are at the 100 or so dollar price point. No other headphones are out there that sound like ours for that price. Ultimately, we want to get more people to be aware of good sound, but in order to do that, it has to be about more than just sound; they have to have an emotional connection to the brand, and that could only be done by a company that’s hyper-focused around sound.”
This post is by regular Hypebot contributor, musician, and music marketer Hisham Dahud (@hishamdahud).