Bridget Hilton’s work at a record label gave her a legitimate excuse to browse YouTube on the job. While navigating her way through a sea of music videos, she caught a viral video of a woman her own age hearing for the first time and was deeply affected by it. Sound and music had impacted the course of her entire life, and the chance viewing of this video inspired her to find a way to give that powerful gift on a global scale. She and a friend created headphone company LSTN in 2012. For every pair of headphones they sell, they help restore hearing to a person in need through the Starkey Hearing Foundation through a program they call Giving Back – Amplified. In just one year, they have given the gift of hearing to over 15,000 people in the U.S., Peru, Uganda and Kenya. LSTN has gotten a lot of love in the press for their social component, their quality and their aesthetic (we won’t be the first to say they’re quite possibly the coolest headphones ever) and they can now be found in retailers such as Nordstrom and Whole Foods.
Five years from now I see myself and my company… As a global force for change through music.
What makes you different from your competition? We don’t have much in common with other headphone companies. Our product looks different and was founded specifically to help the Starkey Hearing Foundation.
My tips for using social media are… Have a real voice. Don’t be overly corporate, and don’t post a million times a day.
I knew I wanted to ___ when ___: I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to LSTN on my first trip to Peru, when I met an 18-year-old girl who had never heard before. When she heard for the first time, her mom was crying, I was crying, everyone was crying. It was overwhelming to think I had changed her life forever.
If I had to do it all over I would… Start earlier.
I always outsource… Grocery shopping – Blue Apron is the way to go!
I funded my dream by… Not paying myself
The best people to work with always… Have passion for the company they’re working for.
I am most proud of… Starting a company that matters and building a great team of people to grow it.
LET’S GET PERSONAL:
My favorite TV shows are… Shark Tank, Mad Men and Shameless
My favorite singer/album is… Ryan Adams/Whiskeytown
My favorite movie is… Almost Famous
My favorite food is… Sushi! Katsuya and Sugarfish (in LA) are my favorites.
My favorite quote is… “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes”. Traveling has made me grow more than anything.
Lately I’m inspired by… The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun.
On my playlist right now… Alt-J, Kanye West and Jamestown Revival
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be… There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than being an entrepreneur. If I weren’t involved with LSTN, I’d be starting another social enterprise.
The most important thing I have learned so far… Work is such a big part of your life, so find what you are passionate about and do it.