Voyage Air Guitars is an innovative business that provides a clear solution to a problem that traveling musicians face.
Musical instruments, especially the stringed kind, are notoriously difficult to transport. Established musicians can afford to get their instruments transported separately while on tour. However, artists who function on a smaller scale face several issues if they choose to travel privately with their instruments.
Considering these problems, Jeff Cohen and his son Josh invented a folding guitar with a patented hinge technology. These guitars bend at the neck thanks to the hinge, and the guitarist can tuck the strings into a hole. Guitarists can then put their instruments in a bag small enough to fit in the overhead luggage compartment of an airplane.
Another major attraction point of the Voyage Air Guitars is that it retains its tuning through the whole folding and traveling process. Tuning a guitar can be a major hassle, but these folding guitars are ready to be played instantly after unfolding.
The guitars are also well manufactured and sound as good as any other name-brand guitar. Their selling point is their portable nature, but they also do not compromise quality.
There are other traveling guitars on the market that are smaller for ease of transportation. Voyage Air Guitars are full size and come with a special carrying case that is the size of a regular backpack. The carrying case makes the guitar an extension of the musician, ready to be taken anywhere.
Like any product that provides easy solutions to a common problem, Voyage Air Guitars found its market and continues to thrive. It is one of the biggest success stories to come out of Shark Tank, appearing in different seasons throughout the show. It is now estimated to be a multimillion-dollar business, striking deals with industry giants such as Fender.
How Did the Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Jeff and Josh Cohen appeared on the first season of Shark Tank in what is now an infamous pitch in the show’s history. Their product was high quality and showed immense potential.
The Sharks were interested from the get-go. It was, however, the clash of personalities between the Sharks and Jeff Cohen which made the pitch so memorable.
Jeff Cohen entered the room with his son Josh, but he was the one doing the talking. He introduced his product in a few simple words and instantly got down to business. He put forward a proposition of $500,000 in exchange for a 5% stake in his company, an amount that caught the Sharks by surprise as they saw it as a very optimistic company valuation.
The Sharks by now had caught on to the product’s potential. Kevin O’Leary was especially impressed when he found out that the guitar remained in tune after unfolding.
Further questioning by the Sharks revealed that the business had already sold 800 Units making $400,000 in sales. These numbers saw their business operate in negative cash flow. The Cohens needed an investor to build up inventory as they could not manufacture enough guitars to keep up with the demand. The Sharks wondered how these numbers justify Josh Cohen’s valuation of the business which was a whopping $ 100 million.
Robert Herjavec steered the conversation in a different direction by asking why Cohen doesn’t license the hinge and sell it to other major guitar manufacturers. Cohen responds that he will be willing to look into the idea and get a licensing agreement. When asked the valuation for his patent, Cohen replied that he would be ready to do a deal of 49-51% in his favor for a million dollars.
It was established that the Sharks were dealing with a determined yet quite an indecisive negotiator in Jeff Cohen. His motivations were clearly to make wealth, but he was also not willing to move from the manufacturing aspect. Robert Herjavec called out Cohen on his indecisiveness and pulled out of the negotiations.
Kevin O’Leary was sold on the product but disputed the valuation. He offered Cohen a deal of $500,000 for 51% of the company. Kevin Harrington offered to join the agreement to bring in the TV audience. Cohen stood his ground and said he was unwilling to give up 51% of his company.
Cohen rejected the deal and walked away from Shark Tank without a deal. O’ Leary, emotionally invested in the business, if not monetarily, uttered the famous “you’re dead to me” statement to Cohen.
The Shark Tank exposure made the business thrive and their sales dramatically increased. A follow-up piece to the business on season 2 of Shark Tank showed that the products were available in 200 retail outlets around the country.
The father-son duo returned to Shark Tank in season 3 and struck a deal with O’Leary despite being dead to him. The deal was never aired because the producers thought it was too complex for the average viewer.
The business made an appearance again in season 4. The viewers were informed that Cohen had signed a deal with O’Leary on the previous season and they were now working as partners. The pre-recorded package showed the two of them at Fender headquarters, where they had gone to work on a collaboration with the industry giants.
Our Review of Voyage Air Guitars
Voyage Air Guitars provide ease to customers who are actively looking for a solution to their problems. There has been a market trend that has seen companies launch products exclusively for travel. Many brands have product lines that they claim to be travel friendly. These products are usually smaller versions of the original product or not as good in quality.
Voyage Air Guitars are travel friendly without being a different version of the original product, which sets them apart from their competitors.
Musical instruments are significant investments for artists and a source of their income. They need to be of the highest quality to fulfill their needs. Voyage Air Guitars claims their products to be of the highest quality. However, their products have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Pros of Voyage Air Guitars
- The folding mechanism is simple and does not need many steps.
- The unique carrying case provided by the company is sturdy.
- The sound quality is very good for an inexpensive laminate guitar.
- Full-size guitar with a wide neck, unlike other backpacker models
- Stays in tune even after unfolding
- Also provides electric guitars
Cons of Voyage Air Guitars
- Does not always fit into overhead compartments
- Output jack issues on the electric guitars
- Some customers reported problems with audio quality
Who Is It For?
Any aspiring or established musician can use Voyage Air Guitars. However, its travel-friendly nature will help smaller artists gravitate toward it. Major artists can afford to transport their instruments separately, while smaller artists usually use commercial transport. Cohen’s specific mention that the guitars, when folded, can fit into an overhead compartment shows that the target audience for the guitars is recreational players or smaller artists.
Are There Any Alternatives?
There are many travel guitars on the market, but these do not feature the hinge used in Voyage Air Guitars. These are smaller guitars, and their size helps in ease of travel. Many brands like Yamaha and Martin provide smaller guitars that can be used for traveling. Some purists, however, might argue that these smaller guitars do not offer the same experience as the full-size ones.
Voyage Air Guitars fills a market gap and provides travel guitars without compromising quality. Their highly acclaimed products and their collaboration with Fender further cements them as a player in the guitar industry for the long run.