Tech innovators open shop in York city centre (complete with loudspeaker windows)

Damson Global's James Talbot and Steph Gott outside their High Petergate shop. Photograph: YorkMix
27 Aug 2020 @ 5.32 pm
| Shopping

An innovative tech brand has opened a shop in York city centre – and it comes with a unique window display.

Damson Global’s High Petergate store is filled with sleek audio equipment.

And that includes a wireless gadget which turns any surface – including an ordinary window – into a speaker.

The window as a loudspeaker
How it looks on the other side

Its inventor – and owner of Damson Global – James Talbot – said: “You can place them on a flat surface.

“They’re like a trumpet. You use the funnel to amplify the sound out, then we use the suction to push the sound through the window.”

Business partner Stephanie Gott said the speakers were perfect for showers – and UK barbecues in case of rain.

Taking on the big boys

Inside the High Petergate Damson shop

“We are a disruptive electronics company,” James said of Damson. “So we want to take on the likes of – and this is bold, we know – Bose and Sonos. The big boys out there.

“But we want to do it differently – better quality, better priced, and with better service. Our customer service is pretty highly regarded.”

Everything in the Damson range has been designed in York. It includes wireless speakers, headphones, and the S-Series home cinema surround sound set-up – designed in collaboration with Dolby Atmos.

The S-Series surround sound home cinema system

James also created headbones.

“They allow you to listen to sounds through your skull, so it keeps your ears free. So predominantly we use this for cyclists and runners so they can still hear their surroundings and their music.

“We’re one of only a handful of companies around the world that are developing a product like that.”

He took that idea on to Dragons’ Den in 2016 but didn’t manage to get any dragon to bite. It’s their loss – they now sell around the world.

Lit up the boardroom

Listen to the Cisor speaker as you shower

James launched the company in 2012. “I used to travel extensively, and music was my escape from the boredom of hotel rooms and planes.

“That’s why noise cancelling was important to me, and the sound quality of a small speaker when you got to the hotel.

“I designed a speaker in my spare time. I was doing a pitch to a FTSE 250 company using the vibration speaker. And rather than being interested in what I thought was a great presentation, they said ‘what’s that?’

“The speaker lit up the boardroom.”

Another view of the shop

He describes his customers as “anybody who likes audio – watching Netflix, listening to Spotify, who wants something a bit different that isn’t just your black box you can get from John Lewis.

“And people who want to support a British company – not just going to Chinese or American/Japanese brands. We get a lot of loyalty.”

Likens his brand to Mercedes and BMW – “we’re not Ferrari, where we are a bit more German efficiency designed in Yorkshire.

“We’re friendly, we’re quirky, we’re different.”

A lot of sound from a little speaker

The company previously operated from Clifton Moor.

“We were finding with the products we’ve got, there were a lot of people pre-lockdown that wanted to come in store and try the equipment.

“What we sell is quite tactile, and they wanted to listen to it before buying. So we thought let’s get a retail store.”

And despite moving in during a pandemic, James is very pleased with the response to his store so far.

Damson’s next big launch is a new version of their noise-cancelling headphones. Developed during lockdown they should be out next month, and will sell for under £100.