This time of year, with Earth Day coming up, we start to think a little harder about the impact our daily actions have on the planet. But there are some things that you use all the time that could be greener, that you’ve probably never even thought of. For example, your iPod speakers. All that plastic is no bueno, says David Laituri, founder of sustainable sound company Vers He’s made it his mission to develop quality, compact sound systems that are also eco-friendly.
We talked with David to learn more about why he founded Vers and his commitment to sustainability.
Q: How did the idea for “Vers” come to be?
Back in 2007, it was the height of the iPod dock era, and along with it an endless sea of look-alike plastic sound systems to match. It struck me that plastic is simply the worst material for a sound system, that the focus on sound quality had somehow been lost in all the enthusiasm for “10,000 songs in your pocket.” There had to be a way to bring sound quality to this awesome new music platform. And with that, Vers was born.
Q: What is the biggest challenge in developing an eco-friendly sound system?
We don’t own our own factories, so the biggest challenge was to build an impact reduction process with our suppliers. Sometimes it was with the design choices we made, in others we paid a little bit more for lower-impact alternatives, but the most effective choices we made were addressing the hundreds of small, almost invisible challenges – like eliminating twist ties in our packaging. We’ve removed about 12 miles of twist ties so far!
Q: Tell us a little about your background. Have you owned a business before?
My background is in design, and I have been ‘making’ one thing or another my whole life. I spent most of my career creating products for other companies, and launching Vers was a chance to make a difference rather then just another product.
Q: What is something readers would be surprised to know about you or your business?
Early on I decided to replant all of the wood used to produce our sound systems, cases and earphones. One for one made sense – you really should put back what you take, but I decided to make it 100 for one, to make it clear how serious we were about impact reduction. There are far more trees in the world today because of us!
Q: Did you encounter any skeptics during development phases? How did you overcome it?
I was fortunate to not have to convince anyone that we were on the right track – our customers did that for us! I simply let their enthusiastic reaction to what we were trying to do tell the story.