Since its establishment in 1949, the German company König & Meyer has been a key player in pro audio’s accessory market, producing microphone and loudspeaker stands for a variety of products. Following in her family’s footsteps is the grand-daughter of company founder Karl König, CEO Gabriela König, who since 2005 has brought the company into new markets, introducing multimedia items for iPads and tablets, as well as maintaining standards for the more traditional products that have long been staples of K&M’s offerings.
Gabriela König “I started working in the company in 1996 in Marketing and Sales,” explained Gabriela König. “As a member of the König family, I am committed to continue the work my grandfather had started and which my father expanded.”
König studied economics and engineering, which she said helps with her decision making as CEO: “I can better evaluate and judge certain issues or find solutions to various questions. One of my passions is marketing, and in the past few years, we have worked on new corporate designs and a new image campaign, updated website, advertising, trade shows, new innovative products, direct marketing activities, POS and more,” König said.
K&M has an extensive catalogue of products, from mic stands to speaker stands to racks and accessories for 19-inch rack-mounted gear, which creates a challenge when it comes to educating dealers about everything the company offers. While K&M is known for creating the standard 21090 microphone stand and the self-expanding mandrel, its entire catalog expands into other areas, including tablet technology.
“Many people still don’t know the full inventory we offer since it covers so many different categories,” König said. “An enjoyable and rewarding challenge continues to be capitalizing on the different skill sets within the company, formulating the best teams accordingly, and subsequently implementing the best strategies. My favorite aspect of the job is meeting customers face-to-face at trade shows or in their own environments, which enables me to get a good picture of the complete industry.”
In more recent years, as use of iPads and tablets has increased, K&M has developed a series of accessories for this market. “Our iPad stands deliver seriously durable options with which our evolving industry can rely upon. I’m proud we can offer a five-year warranty (although our stands tend to last much longer), along with a 10-year parts replacement program to support our customers.”
Based in Wertheim, Germany, the company still remains a family-run organization, and every product is produced in house. Currently, K&M employs 270 people, with König running the company as CEO and Martin König as President. K&M’s U.S. distributor is East Northport, NY-based Connolly Music Company, which oversees 16 sales territories of Pro Audio Reps throughout the United States.
K&M’s overall mission is to “produce high quality, innovative, environmentally friendly products so that all musicians can concentrate on the essentials—their music,” König explained. The philosophy of König & Meyer is simple, aiming to keep a consistent focus on employees to make sure customers are assured quality products and customer service. “We also have had a decadeslong commitment to the environment, both as it relates to the outer world as well as our personal business environment,” König explained.
K&M’s biggest market lies with touring, sound and corporate events, while the installation market is growing. “K&M has expanded this segment with new wall mounts and other audio/visual products. The install/ integration segment continues to grow nicely as well, and even though fewer stands are used in these jobs, we have many ‘problem solvers’ that the integrators like because it makes their jobs easier,” König said.
König said her long-term goal as CEO is to keep K&M a “Made in Germany” production. “The big advantages of our production facilities in Wertheim are the infrastructure and our skilled and dedicated workers here,” she said. “To keep costs down in the manufacturing process, we will continue to invest in new state-of-the-art technologies. The more that customers demand quality, the better match our products are, but we do understand the need to expand our message to a younger audience who may not be familiar with our 65-year-old brand, as well as continuing to focus on product innovations.”
The company’s commitment to manufacturing in Germany also illustrates how it deals with competition, since many companies have moved production to China, said König, which she felt in turn affected the quality of those competitors’ products. “Quality and design are paramount to the company culture; K&M is top shelf in lasting quality,” she said.
Looking to the future, König said she is always taking the suggestions of customers and tries to apply them to the design of new products: “Every year, there are new products coming to the market. We also look at how we can improve current models when we find new manufacturing techniques that enable us to elevate the quality of the manufacturing process.”
König & Meyer