Driven By Sound [actually drvnbysound] began as an America Online (AOL) username well over 10 years ago – created out of passion for car audio. For those who may not know, sound level is measured in decibels, or dBs – hence also an acronym for Driven By Sound.
The Business and its Evolution
As a business, Driven By Sound was founded in 2003. As with the name, it began with the passion for car audio and custom installations. The primary goal was to offer products and installation services to those looking to upgrade their vehicle’s audio system. I sought out a number of distributors and became a reseller of various brands of car audio components and installation accessories.
In May of 2004, I purchased the domain name, drivenbysound.net and built my first website. The initial goal was to ‘legitimize’ the business – specifically for online sales. I am certainly not a great web-developer [as you can continue to see today], but at the time I simply could not afford the prices I was quoted to have the site built for me. The site was overhauled in 2007, and FINALLY again now in 2013.
During the summer of 2004, I had the idea to begin offering customers window decals to further advertise the business [and website]. Upon purchases I wanted to offer drivenbysound.net decals. Rather than pay another company to do these for me, I figured it would also be a great opportunity to expand the business and offer custom window graphics as well. A couple of months later, I purchased my first vinyl plotter and began offering vinyl decals. The expansion was successful and expanded much more than I thought it would – including items such as coroplast signs, banners, and even business signage.
Having accounts with a few vinyl distributors, I later noticed they offered low-cost products for fabric imprinting (via heat press). In 2006, the initial idea was that I could make Driven By Sound shirts that I could wear during installations, and also offer custom designed shirts to customers as well. After a bit of research, I found that I could cut heat transfer material with the vinyl plotter I already owned and thus purchased a heat press. Having the ability to offer fabric imprinting, I setup accounts with a few distributors offering imprintable apparel (t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, hoodies, pants, jerseys, etc). Along with the Driven By Sound shirts, I also made apparel for individuals, car clubs and other non-profit organizations, other businesses, as well as jerseys for local baseball and basketball teams.
With the background in car audio, I had also been following home audio & video for quite some time; I wanted to know about surround sound technologies and whole-home audio. After installing a number of systems for myself, family, and friends I also began offering home audio and video services in 2006. This included 2 commercial audio jobs for hotels that were also built that year.
Unbeknownst to many, while beginning and expanding the business as mentioned above, I was also attending college; Driven By Sound is quite a bit of the reason I took lesser class loads and took ~6 years to graduate. In the fall of 2006, I graduated with a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering.
Career + Driven By Sound
In July of 2007 I began working full-time as an engineer for the Naval Surface Warfare Center (a US Naval Command). I simply could not pass up the opportunity to work at NSWC – it’s certainly a great job and career move. Because of this, I knew that I was going to have to scale back the business and in the summer of 2008 I listed the vinyl plotter and heat press for sale. In September of 2008 I sold the vinyl plotter. I continue to have a passion for the work I offer via Driven By Sound, but obviously have less time to obligate to it.
Recent + Reflection
Due to numerous requests over past few the years, in the spring of 2012 I decided to purchase another [larger] vinyl plotter and began offering decals and signage again – this time also including interior wall decals for home and business use. I never sold, and thus still own the heat press, although I have not done any fabric imprinting work in a few years.
A continued theme that I’ve begun to notice over the years is that I find various fields that I want to get involved in, usually somehow related to Driven By Sound… As an engineer, I dive into research and figure out how to do the various things (e.g. web design, vinyl graphics, etc). After doing so, and with requests I end up offering the information and knowledge I’ve found to others – many times as a service through the business. As I continue to grow as a person, [for now] the business will likely continue to grow with me. As mentioned on the home page, I hope this site creates the medium to share that growth… and in a quicker way than ever before.