It is funny how the world works. You might remember a few posts ago, I wrote about social enterprise Substation33 that recycle and reuse electronic waste to create jobs and training opportunities for disadvantaged jobseekers in Logan? (Here is the link if you missed it). After writing that post, I took a load of electronic waste to them, which included some old computers, keyboards, electrical cords, a tv, AND the speakers from my first car, circa 1994. Let me tell you, it was a very sad day for me to part with these speakers. These speakers had gotten me through a few broken hearts. (At the time) these speakers were, second to my car, one of my biggest purchases of my life. Back in the day, these speakers played My Sharona a few too many times. These speakers I have been
hoarding storing since 2003. These speakers (I had to keep reminding myself) were going to a good and worthy cause. Sob. Sob. Sob.
Well, happily, the story just got better! Last week I learnt that Substation33 have partnered with another social enterprise, AMPLFY that hand build portable speakers, from new and recycled electronic parts. Each speaker has been designed in a do-it-yourself kit form, so that the buyer (you) can gain an introduction into electronics, through the creation of your very own portable audio system. Don’t worry, if you are too much of a scaredy-cat, you can also purchase ready made speakers. AMPLFY has both environmental and social impacts, diverting waste from landfill, and using the supported workshop environment of Substation33 to create this very unique product.
Brad Clair is the clever and big hearted founder of AMPLFY. Brad told me a little bit about why he started AMPFLY…..
“After graduating from university, I moved to Cambodia to help women with HIV start their own business. When I came back to Brisbane, I was eager to make a difference so I began working on a start up which connected people with 3D printers to amputees, whereby 3D prosthetics were gifted to amputees in exchange for donations. Cambodia has a lot of amputees after the Khmer rouge.” Brad tells me.
“Despite my passion to make a difference, I was somewhat at a cross roads, as in my spare time I was spending more and more time, building and creating portable speakers, which seemed to offer little benefit to society. ” Brad said. Until AMPLFY was born – “the perfect combination of having a positive social and environmental impact on society, whilst doing what I love to do – playing music from a speaker you have hand-crafted is a unique experience as you really begin to appreciate the sounds that it creates; it was something that I became addicted too.”
By 2019, the bluetooth speaker market is estimated to be worth over $7 Billion (PRNewsWire 2014) Brad believes it is one of the most saturated and competitive marketplaces in the world. “They are mass produced speakers which look the same, sound the same, offer no benefit to society and ultimately end up as landfill.”
“What’s more, some of the biggest brands in the industry are earning millions of dollars, profiting off cheap electronics sold at premium prices, where the people on the ground floor, actually building the speakers (whose jobs are likely to become automated) aren’t learning a valuable skill, nor are they earning enough money to live comfortably.” Brad adds.
The AMPLFY mission is to provide an alternative, where portable speakers are better for the environment and are hand-crafted by their community, who are able to learn new skills, whilst earning additional income.
You can buy a do-it-yourself AMPFLY speaker kit for $179. Or if you are feeling slightly overwhelmed at the prospect of putting together your own speaker, AMPFLY are currently training people at Substation33 to build and sell portable speakers.
The AMPLFY ready-made speakers are built by Substation33 community/participants in supported employment and training programs.
“We are able to recycle computer batteries, switches, wiring, computer fan grills, speaker drivers, radio/bluetooth antennas, bi-cycle tyres, terminal blocks (from traffic lights) and ex-army ammunition cases. Not only is this better for the environment, but we are able to source better components which would otherwise be too expensive to purchase brand new. This also means that our builders at Substation33 are able to earn higher profit margins.” Builders will be featured on the AMPLFY facebook page.
AMAZING FATHERS DAY GIFT ALERT! Brad mentioned that some customers have had a great experience building an AMPFLY speaker with their dad – so Brad hopes more people get to share this experience and buy dad an AMPFLY speaker this Fathers day!
Go on, take Brad’s advice: “Music will never sound as great, as it does coming from the speaker you built with your own two hands. We provide the kit and the instructions, so that you can learn how to build the world’s most unique portable speaker at a fraction of the cost.”
It makes me feel very happy to know that these speakers will live again!