TechPulse spoke to Jonathan Potter, Teufel’s Netherlands and Belgium director, about what’s in store for the Berlin-based audio brand.
Where does the Teufel brand come from and what values does it represent?
Teufel is an audio brand in Berlin. It has over 40 years of experience in developing loudspeaker systems. It actually started as a very small company that had the idea of presenting speakers live and delivering them as groups. A kind of DIY project to assemble the speakers yourself. The speakers themselves and their components are all supplied and of course you get a manual to assemble them. This way you can get a very good, high quality speaker at a very competitive price.
It was actually a huge success, and as a result Tovel gradually gathered a fan base around him. Then in the 1990s came the introduction of home theater audio using home cinema systems. Teufel has specialized in this even more deeply: developing high-quality home cinema systems such as 5.1. These are no longer the construction tools of yesteryear, but just ready-made sound systems. For example, Teufel has actually continued to develop and has also kept up with trends and technologies such as portable speakers and streaming speakers, which are now trendy, but also in-ear to over-ear headphones with noise-canceling functions and similar products.
Does Tovel’s focus remain primarily on the speakers, or is the focus now elsewhere?
It depends on what you mean by “speakers”. Of course, the headphones also have a driver built into them. We actually create a mix of products. We make speakers that handle streaming and Bluetooth functions, which are actually compact models, but also, for example, a portable Bluetooth speaker or a speaker for the home. Our primary focus is still sound at home, but sound on the road plays a role too.
During the Corona pandemic, people have had to work from home en masse and easily make video calls with their colleagues. Did this change anything about TOFEL’s strategy?
Before the pandemic, we already had a very large product range. Thanks to the possibility of working from home, Teufel is becoming better known. People started working from home and bought sound systems for their home offices, which we already had in five different forms. But you can also connect headphones, from gaming headsets to Bluetooth headphones, to your laptop to listen to music or conduct video conferencing.
During the pandemic, we didn’t think “we’re seeing a trend in this, and now we’re going to shift the entire focus to home office equipment.” We’ve always stayed true to our core business, which is an affordable audio system with the best sound at the best price. So we didn’t suddenly change course.
What does 2024 hold for Teufel?
There are a number of new products coming. Additionally, we are actually quite new to the international markets. For example, in Belgium, where we had our own Belgian online store for three years, which is available in Dutch and French.
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In 2024, there will be a number of new streaming products for the home, from compact ones to somewhat larger ones. Then consider floor-standing column speakers with streaming functions. We will try to launch one or two new products before Christmas. These will be more interior products. So it’s not a portable Bluetooth speaker that you mainly use in the summer.
The Belgian webstore has been around for about three years. Will the speakers also be sold elsewhere?
Teufel’s business model is direct selling. We have an in-house product development team, but we also have an internet of market researchers and UX designers, all under one roof. This is where we really develop our speakers. We then offer these products through our own channels, and for Europe, this is already available online through our online store.
We have a number of stores in Germany. There is a flagship store in Berlin, but we also have brand stores in Cologne, Essen, Stuttgart and Leipzig, where customers can see and hear our products. Our goal is also to open a store in Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Poland and Italy, which are interesting countries for us.
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