Many people use earbuds to listen to podcasts, audio books, or music while traveling, mowing the lawn, or on Zoom calls. But many of those people complain that they are uncomfortable and do not fit correctly. Buderflys, a Denver based company, set out to do something about it. Recognizing that the earbud industry is a $30 Billion industry and growing at a clip of 70% year to year, Shea Gerhardt invented Buderflys.
“The number one complaint in the earbud industry is fit and comfort,” said Shea Gerhardt, CEO of Buderflys. “We set out to solve it. The reason you get the ear fatigue and soreness is because your ear is constantly moving when you talk. Our material heats up with your body temperature and becomes softer and more comfortable over time. It also has a damping effect so it stops the vibration coming through.”
Gerhardt was o
n the ski slopes one day in Steamboat Springs in 2015, and after a few runs down the hill wearing a pair of earbuds, her ears started to ache. Gerhardt who had a technical background in the music industry cracked open her earbuds and placed the speakers inside her children’s swimmer’s wax. This created a mold that flexed with her ear whenever her jaw moved. She admits it was a crude solution, but incredibly comfortable all day long. In addition, with this “custom” fit, her buds never fell out and provided a near-perfect seal ensuring clean, crisp sound due to the noise isolating environment.
So, Gerhardt found a team of people with specialized expertise to invent something that had never been made before. In addition to their proprietary comfort technology, they prioritized high-quality sound close to that of earbuds that normally cost upwards of $800.
“Our whole premise is around fit and comfort and designed for spoken word and long-term use versus the short burst of music play,” said Gerhardt. “Research shows most people aren’t listening to music on their earbuds. People are mostly listening to Zoom calls, audio books, or podcasts. We have a really high-end speaker system that has high intelligibility for the spoken word. It sounds awesome with music but that’s not our audience. Our audience is people using it 3-6 hours per day for other reasons.”
Earbuds came to the market in 2014. Before that, people just used the buds that came with their device. Over the last seven years, earbud designs haven’t really changed. And even those buds with interchangeable rubber/foam tips still cause ear fatigue and soreness that dismay users.
This reporter had an opportunity to test Buderflys and the sound quality on both podcasts and music was stellar. It also worked very well for phone calls. The speaker system in it is equivalent to the $800 speaker systems but Buderflys kept this product in the $250 range. The speaker system comes from the hearing aid industry.
Buderflys is a U.S. based company with headquarters in Denver and the buds are manufactured in Virginia. Gerhardt grew up in Boulder, and is a Colorado native. She prides herself on being a U.S. company and most importantly, selling a quality product.
This fall, Buderflys is launching wireless earbuds. Visit buderflys.com for more information. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram @buderflys.earbuds.