Playing to its audience
Whether it’s a DJ spinning in a lower Manhattan nightclub or a skateboarder catching air at a park in Austin or a snowboarder contemplating the next run in Park City, UT, Skullcandy deeply understands its customers. This depth of understanding makes sense as the company was born on that chairlift in Park City, when founder Rick Alden, troubled by his inability to use headphones for both listening to music and taking phone calls, decided to find a better solution.
Park City-based Skullcandy is the second largest headphone retailer in the United States and the leading performance and youth culture audio brand. It exists at the confluence of outdoor action sports, art, technology, music, and fashion and is embraced by those who easily navigate that landscape in pursuit of self-expression and a compelling audio experience.
Skullcandy’s intimacy with this demographic is well-entrenched and powers the innovation for which it has become known and which is essential to its success. The company has found that the best way to serve this demographic, which is so often comprised of risk takers, pioneers, and underdogs, is to employ the very same people – pioneers who don’t play by the rules as they seek to develop products that are intended to be abused and stand up in the face of the intense activity that comes with living loud.
Skullcandy’s path to the summit of its industry has been as circuitous as it has been steep. Since its conception in 2003, Skullcandy grew at a remarkable pace, IPO’d in 2011, and remained public until October, 2016 when private equity firm, Mill Road Capital Management, acquired it for just shy of $200 million (43% premium on its prior day close).
Through its primary brands, Skullcandy and Astro Gaming, the company produces not only headphones and earphones, but also hands-free devices, audio backpacks and helmets, and high-end gaming equipment. In keeping with the innovation on which it was founded, Skullcandy refreshes its product line annually and regularly enters into partnerships with like-minded businesses which help fulfill its goal of providing amazing audio experiences for its customers.
Beyond its commercial success, Skullcandy remains customer-focused and invests in areas they care about – the community and research that helps them achieve their potential. As of 2015, all of Skullcandy’s proceeds from sales in Park City are reinvested in community programs focused on athletics and art. Similarly, 10% of all Utah sales are routed to local and state charities that align with the company’s mission and values.
Amplifying Skullcandy’s future
Skullcandy’s success has been rapid and intense. What else would one expect from a company that serves a community which adheres to these same virtues? To continue its growth trajectory, and fund product innovation, international expansion, and strategic growth priorities, Skullcandy needed an agile audit provider that offered services specific to its needs and circumstances. Grant Thornton was appointed Skullcandy’s auditor in 2016 and is eager to provide the high-quality service Skullcandy needs as it shapes its future.