WHEN he established Krome Technologies in 2003, Jason Lake had the vision of becoming a distributor of quality hardware products.
“I looked for products that weren’t available in New Zealand. The market has been flooded with stuff out of Asia, but my focus is purely on quality,” he says.
So he looked towards manufacturers in Europe, and now has the likes of German PC manufacturer Hush and Danish monitor maker Eyegonomic in his product stable.
Krome’s products range from computer systems and cases, digital capture cards and firewire/USB devices through to multiscreen editing systems and monitors.
“The point of difference with these pro-ducts is the quality and aesthetics. People aren’t price driven anymore. At the end of the day these are just toys, but functional, good-looking toys.”
Lake’s first passion was fashion design and he says his ten-year experience in the textile industry has affected how Krome approaches product research.
“I don’t buy into the price-driven mentality - that’s why our focus is on products built around quality and style.”
Though exclusive distribution deals for Australasia have been secured, he intends to focus on the local market before tackling the bigger and more difficult Australian market.
After spending the last two years putting the company infrastructure in place, Lake has taken on his first sales manager and says further growth isn’t a problem.
“I’ve spent two years getting Krome established. Now all the groundwork has been done, in terms of internal processes and documentation, so it’s time to get out there.”
Sales manager Nick Warren says his first goal is to get on the road and meet with resellers face to face.
“At the moment I’m getting inquiries daily from new resellers. There’s a huge market out there where price isn’t an issue,” he says.
Lake says the business is getting to the point where he can remove Krome’s online shop.
“It’s been a total catch-22. I’ve had to sell direct in order to get the business off the ground but, at the end of the day, I don’t want to sell to end-users.”
After spending several months showing the products to potential resellers, Lake says he decided to set up a direct sales channel because of the feedback he was getting.
“They all liked the product but said that it would never sell because of the price. While I know that resellers don’t like to be in competition with a direct channel it was the only way to get things moving.”
He believes the online shop will be redundant by the end of the year if the company’s growth continues and hopes resellers will take advantage of the opportunity.
“The market is shifting a bit and is going back to traditional roots so there is more incentive for resellers.”
Lake’s business strategy is built on customer commitment and he says that, in many cases, consumers are being sold inferior pro-ducts and receiving poor after-sales service.
“From day one we have been very particular about who represents us and our product lines. Our account application process ensures that time-wasters are filtered out from those who are genuinely interested in reselling our products.”
If he feels the quality of the reseller doesn’t meet his standards, the application won’t be approved, he adds.
“Our products are quality and we need to ensure this standard is maintained through the entire process - from packaging and distribution through to resellers and customer support.”
Warren says that Krome is always loo-king to increase its reseller base, especially amongst niche dealers as the products are specialist.
“Having said that, silent componentry seems to be really taking off. It’s moved away from the gaming market and is branching out into the business sector where the noise factor can be quite a significant factor to staff.”
He says Krome has been predominantly PC focused until now, but is planning to move into the Mac channel this year with specia-list products.
Krome began the year with the launch of the Miglia range from the UK that includes TV tuner and DVD recorders for PowerMacs, storage, audio and expansion products.