Ask the Alumni: Waterproof Speakers

TAYLER REVIERE VERNINAS

ASST. OPINION EDITOR

The background music that enhances the memorable moments of life at the beach is an essential part of the ultimate San Diego experience.

University of San Diego alum, Stevie Patsis, has created an exotic and useful bluetooth speaker for times like these to occur.  His company, Speaqua Sound Co., recently released its newest speaker, the Barnacle, which is 100 percent waterproof, has a suction cup that allows it to hold onto surfaces, and is able to float in the water. It is a circular speaker that is tilted at a 45 degree angle to enables the sound to be projected at a louder volume.

Patsis’ idea for the company first began about a year ago when he was working for his dad’s business that deals with custom manufacturing and a supply chain.

“I wanted to create something for traveling surfers, where the fully sound and waterproof speaker would provide music for them,” Patsis said.

Patsis thoroughly enjoyed his working experience with his dad’s company and felt inspired to build a brand that would be sustainable throughout his entire life.

“I was dealing with the business development side and really enjoyed that aspect of the company,” Patsis said.  “I worked with Stack Electronics—a wholesale electronic brokerage in China.”

These factories were capable of creating products quickly and Patsis was able to use his connections with these companies in order to present his idea.

“The main obstacle in the beginning was doing business with a foreign country that spoke a different language,” Patsis said.  “Communication is a huge barrier and their method of doing business in China is completely different from the way business is run here.”

The first 10,000 speakers created had a static electricity problem that caused a shortage in the speaker.  Although this created a setback in the beginning, Patsis was able to utilize these prototypes to promote his product.  He shared them with his fellow surfing community in Hawaii where many of the professional surfers helped contribute to the recognition of brand awareness.

Patsis’ connections with the surf community also allowed the Speaqua Sound Co. to sponsor Skudin Surf Camp in New York and Fulcrum Surf Camp in Del Mar, Calif.; furthering Patsis goal of creating a sustainable brand.

The new set of speakers has been created just in time for summer, which Patsis believes to be a blessing in disguise.  Despite the tough times of running his business, Patsis believes his experience at USD has immensely impacted his success in the corporate world.

Fortunately, Patsis was able to build a team of USD students who were willing to work for him and provide good insight from their experience within the classroom along with professional feedback from professors.  His team consists of USD seniors—Blake Ferraro, Steven Melendez, Tyler Howard, Gill Soranejo, and Zack Hines.

Steven Melendez, the Global Marketing and Sales Executive for the company, enjoys this opportunity to be able to network with others, build new relationships, travel, and continue his passion for photography.

Melendez admits that it is not easy introducing a new company, yet he believes that there is no better place to do so than at USD.

“It brings out a little bit of the school spirit in the sense of the strong entrepreneurial values that we have been taught,” Melendez said. “I think it is awesome how a community can come together in this way!”

These fun-colored, tennis ball sized speakers are currently being sold for $40 at the USD ToreroStore and Active Ride Shop, as well as surf shop stores throughout the United States and South America. Those interested in the company can also find it via Instagram.

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