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Kris Springer's Tech Blog - Soundbar Brackets
Soundbar Brackets 10-25-19
Kris Springer

In the summer of 2008 I was working for a Home Automation company in Coeur d'Alene, ID. One of the things I did was hang flatscreen TV's and install speakers. One day I was on a job and hung a TV in a corner, and the client also wanted a soundbar mounted with it. The soundbar was a long heavy rectangle that wasn't built to install in a corner, so we took some metal bars from the trash and mounted the speaker directly under the TV using it's existing mounting holes. That sparked an idea for a product that didn't exist. My dad had a metal fabrication workshop and a computer controlled plasma cutting table at the time, so I drew up a design and cut out some prototypes. They worked! I called them Soundbar Brackets, because that's what they were, and I built a simple website and started selling them online. Product was only selling a few per month for a while, and then they started to catch on. About a year later I was able to get a silent partner and investor, and a year after that I had patents, commercials, and also acquired a steady monthly order. It continued to grow and I got some large orders from a distributor in Canada. My sales were steady enough that my company was able to support my family for many months when I got laid off in the summer of 2012.

Then my sales started to decline. There wasn't anything wrong with my product; it was the Chinese ripoffs that was killing my sales. There were products being sold that were literal copies that even stole my graphics and instruction sheets and just had my logo removed. I contacted my Patent attorney and was told that patents were nice to have, but were not enforcable unless you had a lot of money to sue the infringing company. I could sue, and might even win, but I would basically bankrupt my own company without any financial return. Patents are a joke.

So because of the declining sales combined with my manufacturer flaking out I tried to sell the patents to an interested person, but one of my silent partners got gready and soured that deal. So I decided to just shut down the company in 2015. I still own the patents, but they're useless. It was a great 7 year run and I learned a lot about business, manufacturing, production, and sales.

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