We recently sat down with KP Audio & Video co-founders Kevin Price and Emil Estrada to talk about the luxury end of residential integration, their relationship with Samsung, and technologies and products that are driving their business.
Samsung Connections: Thanks guys for carving out some time to talk with us. Who wants to dive in and give our readers some background on your company?
Kevin Price: I’ll kick things off, and thanks for letting us be a part of the Connections newsletter. We’re a Los Angeles-based full-service integration company founded in 2005. Over the years we’ve grown to an operation with between 15 – 20 employees depending on seasonal workloads and have revenue in the $3 – 5M range. 70 percent of our work is for luxury residences and 30 percent is for light commercial. And we are members of the ProSource buying group.
Emil Estrada: Let me add that our primary clientele are located in Beverly Hills, Montecito and Calabasas. When Kevin mentions that we cater to a luxury crowd, I’d add that we have been changing our business model over the past few years where we aren’t chasing jobs just for the sake of chasing jobs. We are focused on a very select clientele. And for those select customers of ours, they get our full attention, whether it’s consulting or integrating technology into their lifestyles or providing concierge-level service.
Connections: How are you getting the word out to this select clientele base? Beverly Hills and Montecito have some of the highest concentrated wealth in the country and lots of high-profile technology design firms.
KP: Good question! We have a few things going for us. First of all, without sounding brash, our work speaks volumes. From our Crestron Master Programmer credentials to our Control4 and Networking certifications, our ISF training, our qualification list is really, really long! Our attention to detail and level of service precedes every lead that comes our way.
We’re talking about clients in Los Angeles and they all like to entertain. When their friends see our work and wonder how they can get that same level of technology and design, we get a referral. And referrals drive our business.
EE: And don’t forget that the general contractors and designers who we’ve worked with are also recommending KP Audio to their new clients. We get a phone call and it’s typically, “So-and-so said I should call you and get you working on my new house.” I mean, as Kevin says, it’s really our work that gets noticed and how we take all of the various technologies in the house and make it all work together seamlessly. Every time.
KP: Reliability is what you’re talking about and I couldn’t agree more! We have two major goals we must accomplish on each and every job; first we have to work with the design team to make sure the aesthetics of our products support the vision of the homeowner and designers. And two, promises made have to be kept. If we say it’s going to be intuitive, then it’s going to be intuitive. If we say it will be reliable, then it’s going to be reliable.
Connections: Let’s talk Samsung. You guys have been very successful selling 8K TVs. How many of the 98” 8K models have you rolled? And how are you selling and positioning them?
EE: Four so far. And all of those were when it was still priced at $100,000! One of the reasons we have been successful is that we obviously have the clients who can afford these works of art. And most are in the entertainment industry. For example, one of our clients uses the 98” 8K product to evaluate film that is sent over by the studio so she can take notes on edits and how she envisions the flow of the footage should be. She’s using the Samsung 8K TV as her reference monitor.
KP: And don’t forget that in Los Angeles, where people all throw parties, having the biggest and the best TV is like having a new Bugatti parked near the front door. But our clients also want to invest in future-ready products, and we tell them that by investing in 8K products today, you are set for what’s coming down the road.
Connections: How are you installing large format displays?
KP: Our typical install starts with flush-mounting the TV to give it a beautiful aesthetic appeal. Our clients tell us all the time that Samsung TVs are gorgeous. Not just the picture, but the TV itself. I think Samsung clearly designs the best-looking TV products on the market.
Our Samsung sales rep keeps us up-to-date on which models require the One Connect box so we can ensure that we are specifying a 20” recessed housing in the wall behind those TVs that will need it.
EE: We are also specifying and recommending performance audio to compliment the large picture presentation. And obviously we are bringing all of the technologies together with either Crestron or Control4 control systems.
Connections: What content is being fed to the TVs?
KP: We use the 4K DirecTV receivers and 4K video distribution. Also 4K Apple TV. A lot of our clients have secure video servers installed that studios can download to, so they can watch their own content at home.
Connections: Tell us about doing business with Samsung.
EE: These past few years have been absolutely brilliant. Our program with Samsung is profitable and they are allocating products for our channel, so when we order we get what we need. That’s huge. And we feel that we have a say in what is happening and that we can reach out and talk to a real human about what we need to become more successful and make our systems all work together.
Connections: What technologies are hot right now and where are we headed?
EE: House music systems are getting bigger. With streaming and so much music available, and with all the entertaining going on, people are cranking up their systems. Where we would normally put in two architectural speakers and a sub, now we’re installing four speakers and two subs. Larger speakers and a more immersive experience is what’s happening in our market.
KP: Big Screen TVs continue to dominate. I think that large format videowalls like Samsung’s The Wall will appeal to many of our clients. And outdoor entertainment keeps getting more action, with better sound and larger outdoor TV products hitting the market.
Connections: Thanks guys and continued success!