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What’s Actually Amazing About Strandberg’s RESQ:D Guitars
Hint: It's Not the Guitar
In an effort to be more sustainable, recently the Swedish guitar company Strandberg announced a line of guitars called RESQ:D (pronounced “rescued”) made of wood that is usually discarded because of imperfections. The resulting instruments are still mechanically perfect, making these what the industry usually calls b-stock. And to visually emphasize the sustainable nature of the product line, all the guitars are painted coral pink:
When they announced the guitars something amazing happened: they sold out immediately. And now there’s a waitlist for them. All this while there’s plenty of “regular” discounted b-stock Standberg guitars available in a variety of colors.
There’s an obvious design lesson here. If your company is based on selling a high-quality, innovative product at a premium price point in a market of passionate consumers, there will be a sufficiently large segment who also care about sustainability. And because sustainability is part of these customers’ identity, they will want to broadcast who they are with, in this case, a color that stands out.
But for me the actually amazing aspect of RESQ:D is this:
The product was launched by the CEO, Ola Strandberg.
If you’re curious, here’s the launch video:
Strandberg is a brilliant guitar designer. But he’s not exactly a natural part of media-groomed TikTok culture—his voice is soft and his speech is littered with “ums”. But that’s part of what makes this brilliant: the guy who runs the entire company cares enough about this initiative to announce it himself and not hand it off to some beautiful spokesperson or product manager. He also did an hour-long livestream about the product launch that’s just him talking. There’s no shots of him playing, no sound clips of the guitars themselves, just the CEO directly answering questions from customers and fans.
To me this falls into the category not only of product innovation but also of management innovation. Because this announcement originated with the founder, the message is not simply “we figured out a way to make a profit from what we used to throw away.” The most important message, I think, isn’t even for customers or the public but to Strandberg employees, partners, and investors that:
This is who we are.
This is how things will be done in the future because we give a shit.
Let’s do more of this.
Of course, there are many ways we could criticize not only this product line but the entire idea of Strandberg, since the world doesn’t exactly need more electric guitars. But Strandberg himself admits this is a small step forward and there’s more to come. And I think that’s a pretty good first step.
Since you went away the days grow long And soon I'll hear old winter's song But I miss you most of all my darling When autumn leaves start to fall
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