Channeling the Two-Channel Message
The LSA Group’s president, Brian Warford, tells how communicating the listening-room experience to your custom clients can mean mega margins.
CustomRetailer: Please tell our readers how you got into the business.
Brian Warford: LSA was started in Kentucky. I had worked at Nicholson’s Hi-Fi in Nashville for 16 years and our company began carrying their speakers. The customers’ reaction to them was that they liked their looks and when they heard them and then heard the pricing, it was an easy sale.
The reason I decided to get involved with LSA and move from a very successful career in retail and custom installation into the manufacturing side of the business was seeing my own customers’ reaction to the products. The folks in Kentucky who had the business approached me about getting involved, and I was then able to bring in an investor, one of my larger custom installation clients. He essentially purchased the company and we reincorporated it in Tennessee in March 2006. There were at that time two speakers and one integrated amplifier, and we’ve been able to expand the line quite a bit since then, with products that make a lot of sense for today’s business climate.
CR: Your Web site talks up your speakers’ and components’ “organic sound.” The whole green movement in CE notwithstanding, what do you mean by that?
Warford: I think that in our industry, there’s a lot of stuff out there that is not relaxing to listen to and doesn’t have the same effect on you that real music does. I try to stay away from traditional audiophile clichés when describing our gear, because it doesn’t sound like traditional audiophile gear.
I define an audiophile as somebody who listens to equipment, not to music. But we build for music listeners. People say our equipment encourages them to listen to music for long periods—two or three hours at a time. They don’t get fatigued, because the equipment sounds natural. I’m a classical musician by background, am assistant conductor for the Nashville Symphony Chorus and direct an orchestra in my church, so that gives me a bit of a unique perspective on what music should sound like.