LSTN Headphones, recently profiled on SocialBusiness.org, is an exciting new social enterprise that provides a socially conscious and environmentally friendly alternative in the booming luxury headphone market. The high quality headphones benefit children in deaf schools by providing hearing aids, medical care and funding prevention efforts, a model that is enabled by LSTN's partnership with the charity Sound Seekers.
SocialBusiness.org had the pleasure of chatting with Bridget Hilton, founder of LSTN, who combined her passions to build a beneficial, changemaking business with admirable core values.
1. How did the idea for the business model come about?
I love companies like TOMS, Warby Parker, Krochet Kids, FEED, Charity: Water, etc. - huge supporter of social enterprise. One day I was thinking about how odd it was that there were no major music-related social enterprises. Since my life revolves around music, I immediately knew that's what I should do - start a music related social enterprise. Then I saw a video on YouTube of this woman who was my age and heard her voice for the first time. Amazing! If TOMS and Warby Parker can give people sight, I could figure out a way to give them hearing. The headphones to hearing model seemed to make a lot of sense for me, so after a lot of research, I found a really cool manufacturer to partner with on creating a unique product that sounds and looks great. From there, I found an interesting charity called Sound Seekers, who we eventually partnered with for LSTN to provide hearing for children in deaf schools. It all happened extremely fast and I couldn't be more excited!
2. How did you decide to join this sector?
I've been working in the music industry since I was in high school, but more importantly have been a lifelong fan of music. I'm also extremely into nature and charity, and this was a great way to combine those three passions.
3. How do you get your inspiration?
Being able to give someone the gift of hearing is pretty powerful. To have never heard music, laughter, nature etc - that's unimaginable for me, and I'm inspired to enable people to have that joy in their lives. The rise in social entrepreneurship is also very inspiring - being around others who make a difference is pretty amazing. You only live once, make it count!
4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
I love to go camping with my friends. We have ventured out on some really great road trips this summer to beautiful spots in California such as Big Sur, Redwood National Park, Kings Canyon and Santa Cruz. I enjoy going places where there is no cell phone service once in a while to reset and enjoy nature. No real rituals besides attending hot yoga and drinking a ridiculous amount of tea!