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Kirsten Black, Halo Headphones

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This article was first published in November 2009. Kirsten recently participated as a panellist in Anthill’s first Young Entrepreneurs’ Night Out event in Sydney, NSW, on 13 April 2010.

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What is 30under30?

30under30 is an Anthill initiative that was launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians. Each year, we invite our readers to nominate young Australian entrepreneurs deserving of recognition for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours. Anthill’s editorial team then trawls through hundreds of applications and identifies and profiles the top 30 Australian entrepreneurs under the age of 30. The process culminates in an event held in Melbourne where the 30 winners network and celebrate. We’ve been releasing profiles of this year’s Anthill 30under30 winners via our Twitter account – youngest to oldest.

Kirsten Black, halo headphones, 30under30 winner, anthillName: Kirsten Black

Year: 1979
State: NSW
Industry: Electronics
Company: Halo Headphones

Kirsten Black started her entrepreneurial career developing her innovative Halo Headphones, which feature specially designed high fidelity speakers that can be inserted into a comfortable headband. If you’re sick of headphones dropping out of your ears or the wires flicking on the side of your face, perhaps give this new Australian innovation a try.

The Halo Headphones is a concept Black had been developing for more than six years. They can be used in any situation, whether you are walking, running or training at the gym.

After turning down an initial $200,000 offer for a 50 percent share in her product, Black worked for a number of years as crew member in the private yachting industry. She came back to Australia with enough capital to fund the first production run of 5000 units, and subsequently launched them in December 2008.

Within the first five months Black sold 2000 units from 34 stores around Australia, including Myer and a number of independent Apple stores. This resulted in a turnover of $75,000.

“I have never imagined that Halo Headphones would not succeed, so I’ve never had an exit strategy!” Black says. She considers herself incredibly lucky to have a fantastic high school and university education, where she achieved a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design and a Certificate in Small Business Management.

Now with Trademarks, Patents and Registered Designs in over 30 countries, Black is doing product mock-ups for a US marketing giant. She is also developing Halo Wireless headphones with Bluetooth capability.

In the long run, Black’s goal is to develop a personalised listening system in nursing homes, so she can assist music therapists to heal people with dementia.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP ACCORDING TO KIRSTEN

As an entrepreneur, what activities occupy your average day?

My To-Dos:

  1. Contact the product Merchant for Apple & find out what is involved in getting Halo on the shelves of Apple stores worldwide.
  2. I need PR representation. Find a good PR agency.
  3. Continue to develop Halo wireless with Bluetooth capability. Review the latest CAD drawings from the manufacturer.
  4. Marketing: How do I get Halo into airport retail and inflight shopping magazines?
  5. Maintain design registrations in Australia, China, USA & EU. Begin filing Provisional Patent overseas.
  6. Product mock-up for US marketing giant.
  7. Write a letter to Jabra Halo, they are infringing on my Trademark.

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