US earphone company Jaybird homes in on the Coast
FOUNDER of wildly successful audio device and wireless earphones company Jaybird, Kawana resident Judd Armstrong, is today launching his brand in Australia.
The move follows Logitech's acquisition of Jaybird, reportedly for $50million, in April.
It will see Jaybird Freedom earphones sold at JB Hi-Fi stores across Australia.
Jaybird's tiny, tapered 'earbuds' are tough, sweatproof and create "insanely great sound", Mr Armstrong said.
Mr Armstrong lived in America from 1999-2007, and sold his first business, which facilitated quick online access to medical records for insurance companies and lawyers, for $2million.
The windfall gave him "room to breathe" and he set about creating a new venture that would allow him the lifestyle he wanted.
"I thought about what I want to do - to make a product that's fun," he said.
"Where you can innovate and be different."
As a keen surfer, basketballer and snowboarder he knew how annoying earphone cables were.
"I was out running and just saw the flopping cable - flopping around my eyes - and just thought, 'this thing's got to go'," he said.
That was the beginning of Jaybird.
In 2006 he started the company, based at Salt Lake City, Utah, and a year later he moved back to the Sunshine Coast where he was raised.
A graduate of Immanuel Lutheran College in Buderim, he grew up among "mud, mosquitoes and motorbikes" in Forest Glen.
Now 42, Mr Armstrong, his wife and four children lived in Mudjimba until moving to Kawana in 2012.
Living on the Sunshine Coast afforded him and his family an excellent lifestyle, but living in America had been a good place to start his first business, he said.
"There's more of a (entrepreneurial) culture in America and it goes deeper - people love to get involved in something entrepreneurial," he said. "They just say, 'Yeah, let's go for it!'"
"Belief is everything, right? So if you've got a will there's a way. There's a feeling of abundance over there."
He said he was sure Jaybird's bluetooth-connected wireless earphones would be "huge" among the Sunshine Coast community, where sports were such a part of the everyday lifestyle.
Plus, he joked, his mates can now stop poaching from his personal supply.
"You know, what's funny is I've had to keep a stash and an inventory at my house because so many people stop by saying they need some," he said.
"I've had guys want to buy 20 headphones for their mates at the gym."