Austere CEO Deena Ghazarian answers questions about the brand and its recent debut in Australia.
Q: What prompted you to found an accessory company to enhance the home entertainment experience?
A: There is a huge gap in the accessories category right now. You either have super-premium accessories or interchangeable non-descript ones that are not reliable. This gap was felt not only by customers, but also by the global consumer technology retailers. Austere was created to fill that gap. We use exceptional materials and the latest innovation to ensure the best performance. But beyond that, Austere pays unique attention to the details. Everything is done with purpose, from the packaging to its brand elements. It’s design with intent. Our name, Austere, defines our style discipline. But our tagline “More Than Expected” tells our customers that they should expect more from a brand.
Q: What differentiates Austere from its competitors?
A: We knew from day one that the power of the brand would make or break us. We needed the right name, style, out-of-box experience, product innovation and how we add value to both the retail partner and the consumer. Our relentless pursuit of the brand and applying its pillars to everything we do absolutely differentiates us from any other tech accessory brand out there. And it’s obvious from the look and feel of our POP and packaging to the performance of every single product that we are committed to challenging the status quo.
One of Austere’s founding pillars is our aDesign philosophy, which begins with a passion to create products with purpose and style. Every element of its design and material is handpicked for the consumer experience. I am very proud of that. You can go through every product we offer and find important design details that offer an improved experience.
Q: What can customers expect from Austere?
A: There’s a lot of tech accessories that do not perform to expectations or it easily breaks. And a ton of products that are antiquated and just boring to look at, from the packaging to the colors to the materials. Consumers are ready for a premium product that’s accessible and is curated with considerable intent.
We use exceptional materials and the latest innovation to ensure the best performance. But beyond that, Austere pays unique attention to the details in design. And we believe in our products so much, we guarantee them for life.
For example, packaging is so important to me. Our packaging is gorgeous with every element of its design and material handpicked for the experience. And further, it’s incredibly substantial and reusable. And it’s made from 100% recycled material because Austere and our target market care about the environment. This is just an example of the depth of the choices that we make every day. This is where our tagline, More Than Expected, comes from. Our customers can expect more from a home theater accessory brand in all ways. Always.
Q: What have you learned from your first year of running Austere?
A: More than Expected. Year one for any business is pretty rough but Austere’s first year was akin to the plot of a disaster movie. Not only did we have to address Chinese tariffs just as our first products were coming off the line, but 5 months later we were in a global pandemic. I am not sure it gets much more challenging than that for a business – let alone a start-up – to survive the first year. But, you know what? We did. Pretty seamlessly too. We are weathering the storm by staying focused on our core market: the home. Like most other companies we had to make smart decisions around spending and resources. But thankfully our focus is on the home, which is now the epicenter for work, education, entertainment…everything. Its serendipitous that we produce goods that are really important to keeping homes running, such as power solutions and cleaning products. For example, Austere Clean & Protect is one of the very few that is both anti-microbial and anti-bacterial and still safe for home electronics. It’s been of huge interest to our partners and customers as we navigate COVID. And honestly, if Austere can not only survive but also thrive during the last 12 months, then we can survive anything and will be around for a long time.
Q: Why launch in Australia now?
Australia is a powerful consumer technology market and its customers, who value finer things and who seek chic, sleek technology want the same from their tech accessories. If we had our way, we would have launched Australia the same time as the US. However, we’re a start-up and want to focus resources to a specific market at a specific time to ensure that Austere’s introduction and integration to both our retail partners and our customers is done right. That time is now and our entire team is dedicated and focused on a successful launch and lifetime with Australia.
Q: What’s something fun (or a fun memory) that reminds you of Australia?
Like most Americans, I love Australia! Uniquely, I also live in LA and I see Australia as such a wonderful integration of big cities that rival New York, Paris and London with the laid-back casual of California. It’s such a great blend. The people are also very cosmopolitan while in-touch with their casual side. And while the beaches are as gorgeous the people, I was especially struck while having cocktails at the Shangri-La. It’s obviously breathtaking but the particular night I was there was the first night of the art installation that projected on the Sydney Opera house. It was breathtaking and I’ll never forget it!