A Hunts headphone for every outfit

IF you see a child or young person with funky headphones, the electronics may have been designed in St Ives.

It is less than two years since Sork Limited, based in Nuffield Road, launched its CYW by Urbanz range of headphones and earphones for iPods, MP3 players and smart phones – using bright colours and vivid designs to catch the child, teen and young adult markets, instead of familiar monochrome.

CYW stands for Colour Your World – and the company’s most popular shades arethe old boy-and-girl favourites of blue and pink, still favoured over rival attractions like day-glo orange and yellow, tartan and animal prints.

“People buy different-coloured headphones to wear with different-coloured outfits, so it’s quite a big market,” said finance director Shirley Osborne, who set up Sork and its Urbanz brand with MD Robert Kennard in 2009.

“And we do smaller headphones for smaller heads. We are aiming at an affordable level, though they are quite good quality for the money. The brand is well-suited to the recession,” she added.

The company exports almost a third of the output that is designed by a small team in St Ives and manufactured at factories in southern China.

Headphones and earphones are 95 per cent of Sork’s �1m-plus turnover, but Sork also does portable speakers, sleeves and covers for music players and phones, bags and clothing like T-shirts. The company has already notched up big overseas successes, and its products are now sold in four continents.

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Having started exporting to Portugal, the Philippines and Singapore – following a brand launch in Hong Kong in October 2009 – its recent forays into Spain and Brazil have been with the help of UK Trade and Investments to which it was introduced by Business Link, the free business support service that is to be ditched by the Government in November.

In spite of its sales volume, the company has just two employees in addition to its two founders, though it hopes also to recruit someone to handle publicity and website design, Shirley said.