What is Grado labs?
Grado Labs is a headphone and audio company that was founded in 1953 in Brooklyn, NY. It was started by Joseph Grado, who then sold it to John Grado, my father, in 1991. We started making phonocartridges for turntables and then went into making our signature headphones. All of our full-sized headphones are handmade in Brooklyn.
What is your role as social media director?
Well about a year and a half ago after an Internship Showcase here at Quinnipiac, I realized that I couldn't put some of the odd jobs I do for Grado down on a resume or portfolio. I went home that weekend and asked my dad if I could have a title, and at the time I would do about ten minutes of social media work for Grado a week. Nothing special at all. We really had no online social presence. I thought I could help out in that area, and a few minutes later I had the title of Social Media Director. In the past fourteen months we’ve gone from 300 Facebook likes and 200 Twitter followers to 30,000 likes and 6,000 followers (which is pretty big for us). Grado is very old school, we haven’t advertised since 1964, we announce new products by sending out press releases to our distributers. That was really it. Now with social media, we have a direct line to thousands of fans.
Also, last year I started an online sales company on Amazon named 4OurEars. The company has done very well, about 1.5 million in sales last year. You can check out 4OurEars here.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Some of the best parts are definitely connecting with fans and traveling. I’ve gotten to go out to the West coast a few times in the past year, making connections and going to a couple conventions. Plus the food there, amazing. Other than food, talking to fans is always fun too. Anything from answering questions about headphones to talking about different music is great. Twitter, Facebook, or in person, any medium is fine with me.
I also had a role in bringing our first in-ear headphones (iGi, GR8, GR10) to life. It was the first time I was able to be a part of the headphone creation process from a few sketches on a napkin to a physical product that I use every day. That was really exciting for me.
Oh, and my other favorite part is the business cards. They. Are. Awesome.
Is there anything special you can hint at?
I'm putting together new giveaways, designs for a few social media campaigns coming up, and I'm really excited about some prototypes we have at Grado Labs. I can't get into too much detail but right now we are working on some new products, including something we've never done before, we think people are going to love. We have some of the most loyal fans out there and we'd love to see them happy.
Who is your favorite musical influence?
I don't think I have a single favorite musical influence but I can think of a few that's had an effect on me. I grew up to my dad playing The Beatles and my mom played 70's music whenever she'd drive my brother and me to school. To this day I'll start singing to different 70's music that'll come on and deal with the stares of friends who have no clue music even existed then.
What makes Grado special and different from the rest?
Grado headphones are made right in Brooklyn, New York. We have a unique look to our headphones that also give an open and wide soundstage to your music. We're a family owned and operated company, and we don't have many employees. I used to live above Grado and I'd go downstairs when I was four to just hang out with some of the employees and make* my own headphones. We like to think of anyone who uses Grados part of our family.
*and by "make", I mean smash pieces together until it was nap time.
Any advice on getting into a social media job role?
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to jump right into a social media job, but the thing is it didn't exist for Grado Labs before I suggested it. It's rapidly caught on in the past few years, but there are still some companies out there with no social media position or social presence at all. If you're in that field I'd say suggest to the company that you'd like to be an intern for a social media position. That's a foot in the door and you can possibly make it a paying job after the internship is done.
Whose the most interesting person you’ve met?
Fortunately, I've been able to meet many celebrities and powerful people in the industry recently (my favorite being a few people from Dreamworks who are now good friends of mine). The most interesting person though, is probably Mark Rivera. He's a singer and the sax player for Billy Joel, Ringo, and a few others. He is probably the most laid back person I've ever met, but always has a good time. He's met so many amazing people I can't put a number to it. Look for him in the music video for The Longest Time by Billy Joel, he's the high pitch voice you hear. I laugh everytime I see him in it, it's fantastic.
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