“The world is my customer.” That’s what Tom Nuyts, one of the two founders and owners of Ilumnia, says. In September 2017, the Nuyts brothers will present their Magister floorstander at the XFi in Veldhoven. It has an electromagnetically suspended floating woofer, a technological innovation. Now, a year later, Ilumnia has an excellent press and they have a Lunar Eclipse Award of 6Moons. As a relatively young manufacturer, how do you respond to this? On the one hand everything is possible, but on the other hand your possibilities are limited. In the choices you make, you involuntarily remain true to your identity. That’s your DNA, so to speak.
Tom and I meet at the end of December next to the Christmas tree at Tom’s home in Meerhout Belgium. We’ve met a couple of times before, which I reported on Alpha-Audio. I am very curious how they now view their success and how they want to continue with their business. I’d like to know how Ilumnia has changed. After all, circumstances change quickly, so you have to be flexible as a manufacturer. But, most of all, I want to know what the constant is. What is the company DNA of Ilumnia?
The 6Moons award generates interest from home and abroad, for example from America, Asia and Australia. That’s nice, but from a business management point of view, it also raises issues that require attention. It’s mainly about growth. As a developer, you want as many people as possible to enjoy your product. But, as an entrepreneur, you also know that growth has to be controlled. The quality must be maintained and you must continue to have sufficient liquid assets, to name but a few things.
Tom Nuyts has definite ideas about this. He wants to combine the immeasurable of the world market and the human dimension. He emphasizes several times that he and his brother want to maintain their lifestyle. After all, there is a chance that you, as an entrepreneur, will be dragged into the growth of your product, with the risk that you will become alienated from that same product.
He wants to sell the Magister and Vocalis, the two speaker models of Ilumnia, in principle geographically spread all over the world and at the same time he has made some choices that put a brake on growth. Ilumnia should be a boutique brand and move towards the higher price segments. By producing in limited series, the brand will remain exclusive. Although the technology of the Magister will remain the reference of everything Ilumnia does, quality improvement through, for example, an even better choice of materials will support the exclusive image. By extension, Nuyts wants to work with a limited number of selected distributors per country. Completing the dealer network is currently one of Nuyts’ spearheads.
To the question whether Ilumnia will still take into account taste differences between different parts of the world, Tom gives a clear answer: Ilumnia has one sound image, sold anywhere. On the one hand this is an expression of faith and loyalty to one’s own product, but on the other hand it is also a way to keep it all manageable.
What if the demand is growing fast and more distributors and importers apply for Ilumnia? In that case, you’ll have to wait, Tom Nuyts. Customers of the first hour come first. Tom has a firm opinion about loyalty to customers. If there is a queue for the Ilumnia speakers in the long run, then that’s just the way it is, even if customers drop out because of that. The Nuyts brothers want to produce top quality speakers with a long lifespan at a pace that is achievable for them.