Forging a New Brand
StereoNET member, Simon Lenz, is a passionate audio hobbyist that has decided to take things one step further. Realising the need for a solid speaker stand for desktop audio enthusiasts and gamers, Simon's entrepreneurial mind starting joining the dots.
Ion Forge, Simon Lenz' new company that launched initially with desktop speaker stands and headphone stands wasn't born overnight however. It's taken a few years of designing, prototyping, dealing with manufacturing challenges, and even once all that was overcome, there's the sales and marketing involved to get a brand off the ground.
Simon told us:
As StereoNET readers will know from their own experiences, there is something really special, magical and very satisfying about building and tweaking your own audio system and listening space. It is this addictive hobby, and my passion for cool and well-designed audio gear, that inspired me to create the Ion Forge brand and our first line of products.
Ion Forge might be a small team, but they're highly capable. Simon Lenz heads up the company as Director and Principal Designer. Domenic van der Merwe fills the shoes of Industrial Designer, while Garth Ivers takes care of all things in the graphic and web design department. They also rely on a number of specialised boutique manufacturers to fabricate their product components.
It all started when Simon was setting up his own desktop audio space. Being disappointed with commercially available speaker stands, his first prototype quickly sprang to life, and in his words, "When I listened to the system for the first time using the prototypes, I and could not stop grinning. I was pleasantly surprised at the difference good speaker stands made to my listening experience. I knew right then there was a market for this type of product."
The Pro Series Desktop Speaker Stands are now commercially available and sold direct via their well-crafted webstore. Suited to mid-sized monitor speakers in a near-field environment, the stands are adjustable to perfectly match the speakers to your desk, and listening position. They also have base colour and highlight colour options available at time of ordering to tailor the look to your preference. Made from solid-steel and aluminium, they're rigid, sturdy and sure to last many years.
The Pro Series Speaker Stands seemed to fit well with my ethos of creating products that would be of benefit to audio enthusiasts. Once these were refined, complete and ready for sale it was time to look towards another product. Our first manufacturing run of Headphone Stands is now underway.
Ion Forge's Mk.2 Pro Series Headphone Stands are the ideal way to display and protect your headphones while not in use. The original design of the Headphone Stands was completed some time ago, however according to Simon the design proved to be too difficult to manufacture to Ion Forge's exacting and high specifications. They scrapped the design and started on Mk.2 from scratch.
For a start-up company operating on a shoe-string budget, abandoning the first design after significant R&D and tooling costs is no decision to be taken lightly. It's clear that Ion Forge is in this for the long-term, committed to their goals and believe in delivering only the best products.
With the ability to be personalised just like the Speaker Stands, the Pro Series Headphone Stands are expected to be available later in 2016, although expressions of interest can be made from their website already.
Starting a new business can be a daunting task, but it can also bring great satisfaction and reward. Simon recalls the moment he and Domenic received and assembled the first prototype set of Desktop Speaker Stands:
To see our design ‘come to life’ and to be able to handle and test the stands in person for the first time was really something special. I was walking around for the whole week with a permanent smile on my face.
In our own small way, we're helping to make other audio and gaming enthusiasts just like us happy via the products we design and create. That was always our goal, and so far we are achieving that.
The Ion Forge Desktop Speaker stands are available now for $360.00 /pair plus shipping, which incidentally, they're already shipping out worldwide. While there's apparently more innovative products in the pipeline for Ion Forge, they're focused right now on supporting the Speaker Stands, finalising the Headphone Stand's first production run and turning an Aussie start-up into a successful brand and company.
Hats off to them.
For more information visit Ion Forge Online.
StereoNET's Founder & Publisher and still buried deep in the review room auditioning everything from docks to soundbars, amplifiers and headphones. Marc is also the founder of the annual International HiFi Show.
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