15 Minutes With:: Jessy Crabb, General Manager, Metra Home Theater Group
Technology Integrator: Metra Home Theater Group is part of Metra Electronics, a company widely known for mobile electronics. Please talk a bit about how and when this subsidiary grew.
Jessy Crabb: I started here about 11 years ago, and Metra Home Theater Group evolved over time. The home theater division of Metra Electronics was begun about 12 years ago.
Metra Electronics originally grew from a business that provided OEM kits and harnesses to car installers. And as the industry moved towards home theater installations, which was a natural progression because it involved a very similar skill set, we had more custom car installers who were wanting to do home theater installs and move their company structures in that direction as well. So we developed a home theater line of accessories, because Metra is known for accessories. It started out with the Tsunami brand, and then Ethereal, and now it’s evolved to Metra Home Theater Group, because we wanted to keep the ties to the Metra name and its 67 years in the accessories business.
TI: There are two sub-brands within the group: Ethereal Home Theater, which markets HDMI and other cables, bulk wire and power management solutions, and Audio Solutions, which markets cables and power management as well as mounting solutions. Please talk about how the two sub-brands are presented to differentiate them, and whether the channels they’re marketed through differ—and if so, how.
Crabb: We offer the Audio Solutions brand, which is geared toward retail—it’s all packaged, and built for retail applications. A lot of the products do cross over and are similar in function, but the packaging lends itself to retail.
Ethereal is more for the custom integrators. The packaging is custom integrator-friendly—polybags, white boxes and bulk wiring; integrators aren’t paying for the packaging because they just need the parts.
The SKUs are very similar, but somewhat different, because integrators go further than do-it-yourselfers. There are more advanced products in the Ethereal line.