In 2010, Audio Fox was born. Two wireless stereo speakers grip the back of a chair, bed or couch, picking up and amplifying audio signals to create what the inventor calls “an envelope of sound” around the ears of the person in need of a little extra volume. A headphone jack allows people to listen that way if they prefer.
Though he’d put in the time to develop the product, Rex was not ready to come out of retirement. So he enlisted his wife Karen, and sons Rich and Eric, to jointly found Sound Product Solutions. Rich Clark, who had followed his father as president of Rex Plastics, would also head up the new corporation.
Sound Products Solutions hires Rex Plastics for its manufacturing, meaning that Audio Fox is made in the U.S.A., Rich noted.
Sales have been strong, he said, but the company had to overcome a technological challenge early on.
“Our second year of sales, we had about 350 percent growth over the first year,” Rich explained. “Then we ran in to issues with the circuitry, and spent a portion of the third year without any product to sell – almost half of it. Once we fixed that problem, we were able to nearly match the previous year’s sale levels. Other than that obstacle, growth has been steady.”
Rich attributes the circuitry problem to a former supplier, and said that Audio Fox is now made with circuits produced by a more reliable source.
Sound Product Solutions auditioned for “Shark Tank,” the ABC reality show that features business pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs. Though the company was cut after two rounds and did not make it on the air, the Clarks decided to seek guidance from “Shark Tank” host and entrepreneur Daymond John through a coaching academy that John runs.
“Members of the academy get access to him and his contacts, plus advice and coaching,” Rich said. “Sound Product Solutions joined the academy in an effort to promote Audio Fox further. But at the same time, Rex Plastics was approved as a vendor for the Daymond John Academy.”
That arrangement helped both businesses, Rich said. Rex Plastics is gaining referrals from entrepreneurs looking to develop products. And Sound Product Solutions has made contacts that have helped with marketing and expanding sales.
Today, Audio Fox is still available online and through Amazon.com, and Rich is working to get the product into the hands of more hearing health distributors.
“We’re mostly focused on growth,” said Rich. “We want to reach a national saturation point in the next three to five years, and be in retail stores. I think the long-term plan for the company is to hold it for at least 15 years.”