• 07-30-2010

    Austin residents find success in innovation Austin residents find success in innovation

    AUSTIN — In the midst of a rough economy, sometimes all it takes to get a business off the ground is an innovative idea, a perseverant attitude and faith in something unknown.


    This philosophy and dedication helped Austin residents David Terrell and Raymond McGlamery bring to market a new acoustic guitar product called the O-Port. Within a year of the O-Port's first presentation, Terrell and McGlamery were approached by D'Addario — a guitar product manufacturing company — September 2009. They signed a deal four months ago and last week they celebrated the deal with a showcase event at the Gibson Guitar Showroom on South Congress Avenue. The O-Port is now sold in every Guitar Center around the nation.


    The O-Port is the first of its kind, Terrell said, a product so unique that bringing it to fruition was not only a challenge in production, but a challenge in marketing.


    "It's something we had nothing in, and we created our box, our design, our logo, our feel for the product from ground zero — all done in Austin," Terrell said.


    In essence, the product boils down to a cone-like shape made of plastic that fits within the hole of an acoustic guitar. It tunes the port of the acoustic guitar, similar to how speaker ports are tuned for optimal sound quality. Sound waves build up energy within the acoustic guitar, and the O-Port funnels and increases that energy to produce a tighter and richer sound, McGlamery said. 


    McGlamery was involved in extensive testing of the product in New York, where he compared the tonal quality of guitars with and without the O-Port installed. It was discovered that rattling of the guitar's wooden body is reduced, he said, and it was revealed that the O-Port actually reduces acoustic feedback when the guitar is amplified.


    Five partners, including Terrell and McGlamery, helped mature the product from just an idea to a professional acoustic product. Their friend Eric Schmitt designed the O-Port, but was unsure of how to market it. Three years ago McGlamery approached Terrell with a conundrum: how do you explain a product that has never existed before and how do you convince people that it works?


    The two hit the ground running with the branding and design of the product. After acquiring enough funds to manufacture the product, they presented it at Musikmesse, an international fair for musical instruments in Germany in April 2009. It was there that the product received its first six distributors and by the end of 2009 the O-Port was in 18 countries. This attracted D'Addario's attention resulting in worldwide distribution of the O-Port.

    "We were bootstrapped the whole way," McGlamery said, noting that working with a small initial investment brought challenges in manufacturing. "It was a good thing it happened that way, because we learned a lot. We learned how to be frugal, how to be tight budgeted, how to make the most out of something that we didn't have much of."


    They now have their eyes set on developing a larger guitar product company that specializes in innovative technology to improve not only acoustic guitars, but electric as well. Their company, Dare Music Group, is slated to release two more products with D'Addario, and they have two other products in their initial design phase.

    To other entrepreneurs looking to start up a company in an unforgiving economy, Terrell and McGlamery said the best advice they can give is to educate yourself fully in your product. Educate yourself in how it can be manufactured, but more importantly educate yourself in what it takes to appropriately advertise and market the product, they said. Above all else, you must continue fighting for your innovation, McGlamery said.


    "Don't ever just send it out in the world and let go of it," he said. "No one is going to care as much as you are at the end of the day."

    Although Terrell and McGlamery no longer have to worry about a distributor, they are not just sitting idle, waiting for cash to flow in.

    "That isn't what we got into this for," McGlamery said. "We wanted to build a company and that's what we are going to do."




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