From a living room in Cambridge to a device in over one million homes across the globe, Eddie Latham, along with PJ Scott founded Majority in 2012, passionate about good quality affordable audio. To kick off our Meet the Makers series, we talked to Latham about Majority’s early years, Lockdown and his favourite Majority device.
Majority has gone from a living room start-up to an Amazon best-seller in under ten years?
I never look back at anything I do. It’s all about what happens today and not yesterday. I’ve invested quite a lot, but I’ve never looked back. Always tried to make this better and that better. I’m quite a compulsive person, I can be quite obsessive. Everything I do is all or nothing. With this business, I’ve sunk my heart and soul into it and never thought about it being a success. I’m just enjoying obsessing about it, and whatever happens, if there is ever an end, I know I gave it my all. You get what you put in. I don’t look at it as a success and I think it was amazing to be a part of it and what we’ve built.
Behind any business, behind every entrepreneur, there is someone saying “Look at what everyone else is doing and saying I think I can do it better”. You can only ever bridge the gap. I can’t do anything about my natural abilities, its set-in-stone but there’s everything I can do about how hard I work. What I’ve always said, is if I’m going to do this, I’m going to put my heart and soul into it. It’s the passion that’s going to make it work, not your natural ability. It’s fundamental to starting a business.
I used to have a hang-up about this business and people would say it’s great. We haven’t saved anyone’s life, but at the same time, it’s a pretty boring business, really. Two guys who didn’t like their jobs started a business on £1.5k and which now makes about £40 million a year. It’s a story I like to tell people, so they can say isn’t Eddie Latham just a normal human being doing everyday things. There’s an opportunity for a lot of people given the right time and the right place to do similar. It comes back to that desire. If you find something you believe in, you don’t need to be the brains of Britain, we can all do it with a bit of determination.
What does Majority mean to you? How would you define the brand?
Where did the Majority Forest come from?
Dave Newman, our Brand Manager. It comes back to being our brand, not my brand. I want people to have ideas and ideas that are true to them because I ran out of ideas ages ago and its the rest of the team that has kept us going.
I’ve worked with PJ now for years and I haven’t always agreed with PJ’s views on the company, but I’ve never questioned him when he has a glint in his eye. Even if I’m right because he believes in what’s he’s doing, he’ll make it a success. The passion and the belief behind it is 90% of how you’re a success.
Between the Majority Forest and Recyclable packaging, Majority are very eco-friendly. As an audio company, what made you want to do this?
We wanted to be honourable. I want to see this company grow up into something we can be proud of. It’s all about us leaving our mark on the world, but the right mark. A lot of that is where you minimize the negative externalities a brand produces. We are nowhere near being perfect in that respect but being open and honest is how we’re going to improve. We’re not perfect, but if you liken us to a person, we’re a decent human being. As the world is becoming more populated and we’re running out of natural resources, we need to start taking care of the planet.
I’ll never be able to fix that hole, especially in the consumer market but we’re getting better at creating a positive impact.
What has lockdown been like for Majority?
Because we’ve had less noise, we’ve had time to rationalise everything and follow up on meetings because of zoom calls.
It’s been a time of reflection for everyone. At the beginning of lockdown, I was burnt out. As someone that works a lot of the time, I don’t have a work-life balance. I’d rather be working than doing nothing, that’s just the way I operate. When lockdown came around, my lack of enthusiasm came from a lack of ideas. I was still going through the motions and still enjoying the business, but I didn’t give myself any breathing room to take the brand forward or employ people who can. Having this downtime and the travel ban and not see my friends, has made me concentrate on my own life.
When you’ve got a growing company and you’re winning all these awards, it’s really easy to say we’re doing good and we’re beating these other people. But when you ask yourself am I doing the best you can, I didn’t think I was. When lockdown came around, all of us looked at our own lives, it makes you realise, is this what I want to be doing, living my life?
And since we’ve had the tree initiative, my pride in the brand has been rekindled. At the beginning of lockdown, I thought we have to go back to the drawing board, I can’t do these long haul flights to trade shows every couple of months, I’m not going to be knackered, I want to take care of my own personal life. We’re going to trim Majority back and grow it back stronger, and it has, really quickly. The people we’ve hired and what they’ve delivered has been amazing to see.
Seeing their personal development and seeing how much good they bring to the table; I can honestly say the last year has been the most enjoyable year I’ve had. I looked at it, as a period of investment.
What led you to Majority?
We started this business, a little after a year after my dad died after a long battle with cancer. I was 25/26. He had the most confidence in me than anyone I’ve ever met. I’ve always wanted a business and after he died, I gave up my job and started working casually and went travelling to India for 3 months. I got completely lucky with timing and I started this business because he had all this confidence in me, and I wanted to prove him right.
I think there is a specific sort of people I get along with, and everyone we’ve employed fits that mould. We all get along just as mates and we’re all pulling in the same direction. Before I had this job, I never managed anyone, so it’s been a learning curve. I never liked any job I had before Majority and I think it’s because I was never given any ownership in my roles. So, I’ve tried to give people ownership of their roles. I’ve learned to give boundaries, to give my employees the room to be creative but to perform. I want to watch them fly.
I feel like some days I feel like a talent scout. I get huge amounts of pleasure in seeing the potential in people. I’m going to give this person an opportunity to fulfil what they’re capable of. Not what their upbringings or education has defined, and I can help make this person into what they deserve to be. Unlocking that potential is so enjoyable to see.
What is your favourite Majority product?