BY SHALEEN DESTEFANO
It all started nearly 7 years ago in 2015 on the slopes of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Shea Gerhardt, Denver mom, entrepreneur and female founder of Buderflys, was in her happy place trying to enjoy two of her favorite past times at once; skiing and listing to audio-books. Fueled by the inspirational ideas of others and on a self -proclaimed, lifelong journey of learning, Shea is an avid listener of podcasts as well. Being dyslexic these two outlets have offered her the opportunity to devour a ton of information easily and efficiently. On that particular day, it was the audio-book Kill ’Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul by James McBride. “After only a couple runs with earbuds under my ski helmet, my ears were aching and sore.”
This moment in time, quickly turned into a few chairlift “focus groups” and then snowballed (forgive the pun) into several years of extensive research to determine that many people disliked their hard, plastic earbuds due to issues with fit and comfort. It makes complete sense, since earbud designs haven’t really changed in over a decade. This also shined a bright light on the fact that there was a specific market need not being fulfilled. As heavy listeners of the spoken word in between never-ending conference calls, Shea wanted to design comfortable earbuds to wear continually and securely while delivering incredible clarity of sound.
It’s no secret that listening habits have evolved, so much so, that Shea set out to invent the first earbud that would provide hours of comfort and to this day, Buderflys are the only product on the market to respond to this progression. “My original fix was to break the hard-plastic shell off my buds and wrap the internal speakers in swimmer’s wax. This created a mold that flexed with my ear whenever my jaw moved. It was a crude solution, but incredibly comfortable all day long. In addition, with this “custom” fit, my buds never fell out and provided a near-perfect seal ensuring clean, crisp sound due to the noise isolating environment. Our comfort technology and pristine sound profile are the result of a tireless four-year journey filled with research, exploration, and innovation.”
Shea was in the music industry for years, and to hear her speak about audio tech is inspiring. Being the incredibly smart, empathetic and dedicated person she is, Gerhardt quickly found an equally determined team of people with specialized expertise to invent something that had never been made before, that the market desperately needed. In addition to their proprietary comfort technology, they prioritized high-quality sound close to that of earbuds that normally cost upwards of $1,000, but for much less, because they believe everyone should have access to earbuds you can wear all day, that also happen to deliver great sound.
Every time you move, your ears flex and change shape. From day one, Buderflys made it their mission to redefine fit, comfort level and acoustical design for the industry. Shea is still scratching her head, confused by who ever thought hard-plastic earbuds were a good idea. Buderflys are the only earbuds in the world to use completely flexible material that adjusts to your ears as they move and works with your body temperature, making them more comfortable the longer you wear them. Buderflys Curiosity earbuds seamlessly connect and those who listen to learn, become inspired or simply enjoy.
Shea sees Buderflys as a path that allows you to indulge in a great read or a book that motivates you so that you can make use of those in-between times when you might otherwise just be sitting in traffic, walking the dog or getting a root canal. So, what about that name? “I’ve always been intrigued by the butterfly effect. The literal definition, is that of a phenomenon whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere. Essentially, a single flap of a butterfly wing can change the weather patterns on the other side of the world. So, too, can knowledge. How beautiful is this? Buderflys are the vehicle to take in factual knowledge and make change. In the future, I see earbuds as a way to replace the brick style cell phone we currently use. With voice assistance and connectivity, you won’t need to carry one around. And this starts with an earbud you can comfortably wear all day long.”
Shea, you are a true entrepreneur and a strong force in a male-dominated industry. You find pleasure in watching small business grow and this is something we can honestly relate to. You noticed the drastic shift in how we consume information and took a deep dive into how to develop a product that would change the face of the earbud industry. And we are all better for your tireless research, design and spirit. To learn more about Buderflys, Shea’s journey and to get your hands on a pair of your own, visit buderflys.com.