Brothers brings unique sound to Provo with carbon fiber guitars | News, Sports, Jobs
Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald
As children, Ian and Adam Klosowiak vacationed in Utah and everything went well. Since then, the two Midwestern brothers have made their lives in Provo while pursuing their musical dreams – not to play music professionally, but to design and sell unique carbon fiber instruments around the world.
The company started in late 2014 when Ian Klosowiak was a mechanical engineering student. He had a duty to build something with a polymer and settled on carbon fiber, so he decided to build a guitar – something he had in mind for years.
“I built the first one for myself,” he said. It took Ian over 100 hours on that first guitar and it came with the promise of never building another. Instead, he found people liked him. Every time he took the guitar on a trip, people asked what brand it was and where they could get theirs.
While applying for business program grants, just to get a few hundred extra dollars, he was teaching Adam to play the guitar. Adam’s first guitar, a wooden acoustic instrument he bought from his brother, cracked after leaving the window open on a ski trip. At the same time, Adam is moving away from his studies in electrical engineering and turning more towards entrepreneurship. It took good things to fall into place for the duo, but a business was born.
The two were accepted into a summer accelerator program at Princeton University, along with three other team members, to work on business strategies, marketing, manufacturing and design while running a campaign. Kickstarter for additional funds. They brought in enough money that Ian stopped looking for other jobs and jumped in head first.
Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald
That’s not to say their journey hasn’t had some bumps along the way. They walked 30 minutes each way, every day, to work in their lab at Princeton, just to use high-quality epoxies, saws, and materials in a lab for computer work. Eventually they tried making them in their dorms only to be kicked out by the public safety department when the epoxy set off the fire alarms.
The Klosowiaks remained in the program, but their manufacturing team was sent back to Utah for practical work. KLOS Guitars is one of the last companies in this summer program to exist.
“Most businesses, especially college ideas, fizzle out and fail and this idea is one that could very easily be had. There (were) so many times where we were so close to failing,” Adam said. Every part of the guitar, from neck and fretboard to screws, has a story attached, a time when it all could have been over.
The brothers are also proud to have gotten where they are on their own. The closest thing to a family financial contribution came when their parents bought a guitar in the first Kickstarter. This dose of realism kept Adam and Ian focused on making the best product possible. For most of the company’s existence, they sold online, directly to consumers. So they sought to change things and develop.
They’ve made a concerted effort over the past year to market their products in physical music stores at all 50 locations, aiming to be in 100 stores by June for the National Music Merchants Association show. music.
One aspect that has helped KLOS stand out from the crowd is having its inventory at your fingertips. “When we say, ‘Yeah, we have (inventory) and we can ship tomorrow,’ they’re like, ‘What? That’s crazy,'” Adam said. “It honestly blows people’s minds.”
The best-selling item in their store right now? Always the travel guitar. The very first model is still the most sought after product, with the cheapest model, the Acoustic Hybrid Material, costing $839 and the most expensive, the Full Carbon Acoustic/Electric, costing $1,579.
Although their guitars are not cheap, they are made to last. At their store in Provo, the KLOS team glues soundboards, puts the finishing touches, and inspects each guitar to make sure it meets their standards. They have also found success by focusing on practicality.
Their guitars are also only two pieces, compared to the more than a dozen found on a standard wooden guitar. This allows them to quickly assemble and ship as many guitars as needed. They also don’t paint their guitars, which reduces complexity and cost, giving the products a sleek, reflective look.
“We have extremely high standards, everyone here plays guitar or plays ukulele,” Ian said. “Customers are really impressed with the quality because everyone who builds it has their hearts set on it.”
Although they are proud whenever someone takes a KLOS guitar on the road, the most interesting person to buy one, according to the brothers, was not a professional musician.
Skateboarder Tony Hawk bought “like five” of their guitars on Kickstarter. After doubting whether or not this was “the” Tony Hawk, they dug into his Twitter feed and found a photo of Hawk’s wife playing a KLOS guitar.
Once the shock wore off, Adam emailed Hawk about the purchase and received what Adam called one of the most normal responses he could imagine.
“He’s like, ‘Yeah, I love guitars. They travel really well, they’re super durable,'” Adam said. give to his children – so people will stop stealing his.The Killers also have a KLOS in their repertoire, according to the brothers, who added that Imagine Dragons, John Mayer and many others have used the instruments.
Carbon fiber guitars were designed, as their name suggests, to travel. The two always hear from friends and others on social media when a KLOS guitar is spotted in the wild.
“My friend was on a flight to Amsterdam, another friend was on the train to DC, another friend was on his way home to visit relatives in Arizona and they were taking pictures of these instruments,” Adam said. “Our clientele is made up of incredibly adventurous and passionate people.
Every step of the way, Adam and Ian Klosowiak are proud of their product and eager to see what happens in the future. The company’s website has over 1,900 customer testimonials and a handful of songs recorded using their instruments. However, anyone who buys will be greeted with a little pop-up in the corner of the site indicating whenever someone decides to take a KLOS guitar home – and wherever it may go.