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Local innovators part of electronics trade show

January 16, 2014|By Candice Baker
  • Newport Beach-based Stelle Audio Couture's speakers are designed to blend into the home's decor. This pillar style with a Dwell Studio design goes for $399.
Newport Beach-based Stelle Audio Couture's speakers… (Stellé Audio…)

A First World family feud and a lights-out epiphany in Central America resulted in two of this year's most talked-about launches at the 2014 International CES, the world's largest consumer electronics trade show, held each January in Las Vegas.

For many of the show's big-name exhibitors, their new product lines were the result of years of market research, industry analysis and research and development. Their booths at the 2-million-square-foot annual geekstravaganza occupied vast swathes of the city's convention center last week, and the firms rented entire ballrooms in area hotels to convert to meeting space for wheeling and dealing.

But two local small businesses that set up booths for the first time this year took a different approach to product creation: personal necessity.

Newport Beach-based Stellé Audio Couture showed off its line of fashion-forward speakers created to marry form and function, while Fountain Valley's ZeroHour Innovations launched an innovative, tactical-grade flashlight with integrated dual USB battery backup.

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Stellé housed itself in the show's lifestyle-focused iLounge Pavilion, while ZeroHour set up in the Eureka Park area, dedicated to displaying the hottest new concepts by up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

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Beauty in the details

Stellé Chief Executive Anna Perelman's idea was simple: Figure out a way to get husband Wayne Ludlum's large, clunky black speakers out of the living room.

Rather than launch an all-out offensive against Ludlum, an audiophile and established speaker designer, she chose to work with him to develop a speaker that joins on-trend aesthetics with high-end acoustics — one that looks as good as it sounds. .

"As beautiful as the design is, if they take it home, and it doesn't sound great, then it's going to end up gathering dust," Ludlum said.

The company showcased its two wireless speaker designs: the minimalist Audio Pillar and the Audio Clutch, which resembles a handbag. Both won acclaim at the prestigious CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Awards.

"It was really exciting as a new company to win for both our products," Perelman said. "The show's been really, really great. We made a point of really differentiating ourselves from a design perspective, and also in the design of our booth, and people have been really positive and really complimentary. The feedback's been amazing."

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