Hosa: Aggressively Pursuing Growth At 30

Celebrating 30 years of business and growth, Hosa Technology has come a long way from its initial offering of 16 interconnects, says Mayumi Martinez, CEO.
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Mayumi Martinez, CEO, Hosa Technology Celebrating 30 years of business and growth, Hosa Technology has come a long way from its initial offering of 16 interconnects, says Mayumi Martinez, CEO. Martinez’ father, Sho Sato, began the company with the suite of stereo and multichannel RCA and 1/4-inch TS cable assemblies, five of which are still in Hosa’s top 200 sellers and one of those remains in the top 20. “Today, our product line covers over 2,000 products and several different line extensions,” says Martinez. “We have simplified our microphone, guitar and speaker cable lines to a good/better/best selection, which provides an option for every budget. Other new items include High Speed HDMI with Ethernet and USB 3.0.”

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In Hosa’s initial 10 years of business, the catalog “grew quickly to encompass most of what dealers think of when they think of Hosa: analog audio snakes, interconnects, Y cables and adaptors,” reports Martinez. “By 1994, when modular digital multitrack recorders such as the Alesis ADAT and TASCAM DA-88 were all the rage, we addressed this market segment with offerings such as custom snakes, sync cables, and TosLink optical cabling.” In the next 10 years, Hosa diversified into non-audio connectivity— video cables, data cables, and power cords, including VGA extension cables, USB 2.0 cables and power Y cables.

“Fast forward another 10 years, and our good/better/best selection of mic, guitar and speaker cables continue to play an integral role in our product offerings,” she elaborates. “We’ve also expanded our offerings to include the latest products in the audiovisual and data products market segments, because hard disk-based, workstation-centered recording is a huge part of the business these days, as is the market for presentation spaces, distance learning and so on.”

From its beginnings with Sato as the sole employee, “we’ve grown to a multi-department organization with 40 people at present,” Martinez informs, including admin, product development, sales and marketing, customer service and shipping and receiving departments, still headquartered in Buena Park, CA, but augmented by a second warehouse located in Taiwan, developed to support Hosa’s international customer base. “Perhaps most indicative of our growth,” says Martinez, “is the fact that we now have an extensive network of sales representatives and distributors to support our sales efforts worldwide.”

Martinez credits Hosa’s success to the company’s stated mission: “Hosa’s team is passionate about providing solutions that fulfill our customers’ needs through service and value. It’s important to have more than a good product at an affordable price. The customer is of the upmost importance to us, and we do our best to take care of each and every one of them. Our core values are Fun, Family, Flair, Pride, Responsibility and Drive. We believe in hard work and developing products we can be proud of, but we also believe we should have fun doing it.”

From its MI origins, Hosa’s customer base has evolved with its product line. “Hosa accessorizes the brands its reps sell,” explains Martinez. “A full 75 percent of our sales reps serve both the live sound and Pro AV-install markets. The remaining 25 percent primarily serve the MI market, but are eager to expand into the Pro AV-install market. It is well known that the MI/Pro Audio and Pro AV-install markets are the two largest market segments. While we’re well entrenched in the MI segment, we believe that a large percentage of our future growth—and, very possibly, the best opportunity to expand— lies in Pro AV–install.”

For that market, both bulk cable and pre-terminated cable assemblies are deployed. “Presently, we have all the connectivity installers require for those aspects of a project that reside outside the wall,” says Martinez. “If an installer needs bulk cable for inwall installation, we’re not there yet, but we will certainly take a good hard look at this area should the opportunity present itself.” While keeping confidential how the exact percentages of Hosa’s business divide between the various vertical market segments where they are active, Martinez does share that Hosa serves MI, Pro Audio, AV/CE, Broadcast/Video, and Education “roughly in that order in terms of our level of market penetration.” Hosa’s key clientele “remains little changed from 30 years ago. The large retail chains such as Guitar Center and Sam Ash are a vital part of our business, as are the larger independent operations such as Sweetwater, Amazon and B&H Photo Video,” as well as the small, family-operated music supply retailers across the USA. Along with North America, “the Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions—especially Australia and Japan—are all vital to present and future growth,” says Martinez. “We also hope to replicate our APAC plan throughout Europe by working with Hyperactive Benelux, our master distributor on that continent. Looking forward still further, we plan on opening an east-cost hub to better service North America’s major population centers east of the Mississippi.”

As for the next decade, Martinez has set a goal of doubling Hosa’s sales, “which means expanding beyond MI and pro audio, and adding more technology cables. I want to make Hosa the go-to brand for professional connectivity products of all types. Everyone needs HDMI, USB and other technology cables, but pros are often forced to use consumer-grade products. I believe Hosa can excel in that niche, with cables built for the specific job at hand.”

The bulk of that growth is expected to come in the AV integration industry, says Martinez, “bridging the gap between audio and video. AV integration is bringing audio and video closer together than ever before, and many dealers that have traditionally focused on video and consumer electronics are bringing pro audio products to a larger share of the market than ever. Since the DSLR camera has become the go-to tool for videographers, even camera stores are carrying an ever-increasing selection of Hosa products. My goal is to make Hosa the leading name in connectivity solutions, regardless of the market.”
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