Presenting our inaugural list of the industry’s most inventive and resourceful talents. Get to know Jason Lucash & Mike Szymczak of Origaudio (asi/75254).
Jason Lucash and Mike Szymczak are having a blast.
That’s a big reason why the company they founded, Origaudio (asi/75254), consistently delivers some of the most unique and innovative products in the promo industry. It’s why the ingenious pair is always working to implement cutting-edge production and service models to keep their California-based supplier firm ahead of competitors. For Lucash and Szymczak, two millennial entrepreneurs who come off more as laid-back dudes than buttoned-up executives, driving evolution in product and process isn’t work; it’s a good time.
“Our goal,” says Szymczak, “is to be a creative powerhouse.”
The business partners are already that, and have been so since their first collaborative invention – foldable, portable speakers made from recycled paper that were inspired by origami and Chinese food takeout boxes. Time magazine named the Fold n’ Play speakers one of the 50 best inventions of 2009.
Origaudio – the name stemming from the origami-influenced Fold n’ Play speakers – has been delivering innovative products ever since. Annually, Origaudio freshens its line with items that proponents say can’t be found in other industry collections. The products are internally conceived and developed through a process that includes overseas and domestic retail/factory/trade show research and soliciting extensive feedback from core customers.
This year, Origaudio launched 27 new products – a lean, carefully crafted line designed to fill gaps in the marketplace. New items include the Flyington Selfie Drone. It takes real-time videos and pictures (yep, selfies), and performs aerobatic flight maneuvers. Boasting a large imprint area relative to its convenient pocket size, the drone is remote-controlled through a smart phone app. The initial run sold out in two weeks.
While tech products have been Origaudio’s bread and butter, the firm has expanded into more traditional categories, doing so with characteristic ingenuity. For instance, Origaudio offers fashion-forward backpacks that can be cut-and-sewn and digitally printed at no minimum – all delivered in three days. Indeed, the retail-inspired backpacks, with their styling, practical touches and clever imprinting, have been sales drivers since launching in 2017. “We did 60,000 backpacks last year and we want to double that this year,” says Lucash.
Other products Origaudio debuted in 2018 are killing it, too. The Boltron enables users to power three wireless-charging-enabled devices by simply placing them on its surface; another two devices can be charged via USB outputs. Meanwhile, super-savvy wireless tech fuels the Hive speaker. Users can get their wireless jam on with a single Hive or sync multiple units together to create a portable surround sound system.
The inventiveness in product and service has earned Origaudio loyal clients and growing revenue – Origaudio’s sales grew 140% between 2015 and 2017. Sales were up 65% year-over-year during 2018’s first quarter.
“We care about customers, we care about being creative, and we get to do what we love,” says Lucash. “It’s pretty cool.”