An elevator convo with Peter Olafsson. See here for more from our Next Up series.
What do you do?
I’m the founder of an audio tech company called ONANOFF. We develop products and technologies that empower safe usage of smart devices. Statistically, more than 10% of young kids have hearing damage directly caused by listening to devices with the volume too high. That’s insane! We’re working hard to educate people about this risk and help prevent further hearing damage.
How does ONANOFF work?
We design, develop and now sell our products to 63 countries worldwide. We’re based in Hong Kong but have operations in Europe and the USA too. We have about 20 people working for us, so just like one big family, we work together to deal with all the challenges of growing a meaningful brand.
How did your business get started?
ONANOFF started when I was running a design and product development company for several years with another Icelandic friend, Bjarki Gardarsson, and we decided to team up with our current business partner, Yvonne Lo. Soon after, we noticed Yvonne’s kids were frequently using headphones without a limit to how loud they could set the volume. When she wasn’t able to find affordable, quality options that capped the volume at safe levels, we started our signature series of BuddyPhones, the world’s first waterproof and wireless volume-limiting kids’ headphones.
Who are your clients?
Globally, you can find our BuddyPhones in big retailers like Toys’R’Us, Target and Amazon. Locally, we work with Logon, HMV, Sound & Vision and Bookazine, to name a few. On a personal level, we have a lot of interest from conscientious parents who are looking for a product that is safe and fun for kids.
What is a day in your working life like?
Busy! But good busy. I’m a morning person, so I‘m normally at my desk by 8am, answering emails and requests coming in from overseas. As the day goes on, I move on to handling our current development and design projects. No matter how busy the day is, I break it up with a 5- to 7-km run that allows me to breathe and think a bit. It’s a sacred bit of time out of the office.
Where do you see your business in the future?
We want to keep educating people about the risk of hearing damage caused by listening devices and develop more safe audio products that protect our kids.