Upon lockdown, Graham immediately closed the workshop and began formulating ways to continue production on the microphones. "Safety was the utmost priority. We quickly figured out we could send our builders home with parts and have them construct the mics on their own. Certain mics were assigned to certain builders; I would drop off the necessary materials, and pick up the completed mics from them to ship out. Two of our employees live together, others and myself are in separate bubbles, so as time went on we realized we could have people in the workshop again if we took it in shifts. We are continuing that practice to this day, and I am so grateful to report that we have all remained healthy.”
After the initial shock and implementation of safety measures, the question then became how to effectively market and continue to sell microphones when musicians can’t tour and perform. Known primarily for their live use, Ear Trumpet Labs began to see an uptick in users selecting the mics for their livestream concerts and home recording setups. "We always knew that the mics work beautifully for livestreams and home recording due to their sound quality and ease of setup, but we had never specifically marketed them for that use."
Moving quickly, Ear Trumpet Labs built a page on their website dedicated to live streaming and home recording. The page is informative and easy to navigate, guiding customers through best practices. Major artists such as Sarah Jarosz, Watkins Family Hour, Amythyst Kiah, Mary Gauthier, and Rhiannon Giddens were all early adopters, further cementing Ear Trumpet Labs as a top option for live streaming and home recording; proving that the quality of their products translates from the biggest stages to the most intimate living rooms.
Like many this year, 2020 also served as a pause for Ear Trumpet Labs to step back and assess the values they stand for and how they can direct their funds to support those values. "With the shutdown, the cancellation of many of our regularly sponsored festivals, and the racial injustices and social climate of this year, we used the time to reflect and realized we could be doing so much more to support people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and indigenous people. Our employees made the decision to begin donating 10% of our profits each quarter to causes we believe in and directing our sponsorships towards events and festivals that align with our beliefs," adds Graham.
Among those new sponsorships this year was the Shout & Shine showcase at IBMA, which promotes diversity and inclusion in bluegrass and roots music, as well as The Omni Sound Project's Signal Gain conference, which is striving to make the audio engineering industry more inclusive and representative for marginalized genders.
Graham looks forward to the safe resurgence of live music, but affirms there were immense strides to be made and that the effects of this year will be felt for many to come. "I am proud of my staff and this company; that we continue to challenge ourselves as people and try to live our lives in line with our values. I strive to run the business the same way. My priority will always be to keep everyone safe; the fact that we also managed to increase our sales while doing so is just the cherry on top."