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Skullcandy founder making 'noise' in Park City



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PARK CITY -- A small business owner in Park City is one of five finalists for "Entrepreneur of the Year," an annual recognition given by Entrepreneur magazine. Rick Alden's company has been in business for just six years, but it's making a lot of noise.

"Believe it or not, we've now made it to where Skullcandy is the No. 2 selling headphone in the world. The only company that sells more headphones than us is Sony," Alden said.

He and his wife launched the company in 2003, operating out of their house. He now has 80 employees working in a large contemporary office near Kimball Junction. Headphones are everywhere--on shelves, on desks and, of course, on employees' heads.

Alden says he started the company, because he noticed that headphones weren't very stylish and, for the most part, black in color.

Skullcandy founder making 'noise' in Park City

"So we thought: A pair of headphones really occupies a prominent piece of cranial real estate. So, we thought we could dress that up a bit, make it more interesting," Alden said.

Now there are dozens of models in a variety of colors and patterns with hundreds of options. The company can also put their systems in bike and board helmets, where they connect with both your phone and iPod.

With fashion being a huge part of Skullcandy's strategy--and young people the major demographic--the company's designers are also branching out into new territory by matching headphones with sneakers and other clothing.

"We take the same materials from the shoe and build a great pair of headphones that matches up. So now, all of the sudden, we're not just selling headphones in consumer electronic shops, we're selling them in sneaker-freak shops and athletic stores," Alden said.

Celebrities are on board too. Snoop Dogg has his own specially-designed headphones, and so do a number of professional athletes.

Business is good at Skullcandy. The headphones are now selling in 60 countries, but Alden says there's still more work to do.

"I guess the only place we can target is we gotta knock Sony off," he said.

Alden is a finalist for "Entrepreneur of the Year," but he needs your help in an online poll. To vote, CLICK HERE.

The winner will be announced later this year.

E-mail: kmccord@ksl.com

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Keith McCord

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