Skullcandy President Jeremy Andrus and Chief Marketing Officer Dan Levine were featured recently in Fortune magazine, answering questions on an array of topics, including the company’s strategies for managing costs in China, marketing secrets and product technology. Skullcandy CEO Rick Alden is scheduled to attend the Fortune Brainstorm Tech 2010, an exclusive conference for Fortune 500 companies and innovators to be held July 22-24.
Here’s a brief excerpt from the Fortune Q&A:
Fortune: What’s your marketing secret?
Levine: All of our athletes, advocates, musicians, and DJs that we partner with are truly friends of the brand. The best way to experience our brand is to come and visit us in Park City, Utah or visit our office in San Clemente, California and see a collection of individuals—extremely talented individuals—that are doing what they say and are living this. When a brand is honest about its lifestyle, you have a powerful brand—that’s what we have.
Fortune: Do you ever cut corners for fashion? Some people have been critical of the audio quality in Skullcandy products.
Levine: We really love critiques like that. We read all of our criticism and look inwardly at our performance and how we can improve the overall quality of the product. That being said, I would put our product up against any competitors in any of the price ranges we’re in. And the new products, there’s no doubt, they’re premium audio performance.
Fortune: Even in your lower priced earbuds from the ones that cost $14.95 to the $20-$30 range?
Andrus: They’re so good. For $20, I think you’d be hard pressed to find any earbuds under $50 that sound as good outside of the Skullcandy brand.
Fortune: How are you going to keep up with production and manufacturing labor costs in China if the price of labor eventually rises?
Andrus: We are beginning to face the same challenge that our competitors are facing in China—rising labor costs and capacity issues. We really believe that if we’re good partners to our suppliers and if we effectively manage the production and the product development process, we can’t beat the macrotrends, but we can certainly be better than our competitors.