HIGH END AUDIO is a trading entity owned by Ramosa Investments cc. The corporation was registered at the end of 1999 by founder Roy Davis and started very small.
Having been an audio enthusiast since 1980, Roy often experience the common frustration of desiring esoteric equipment, reviewed and advertised in the overseas magazines, but not being able to come close to affording it. It occurred to him that it was grossly unfair that the South African audio enthusiast was excluded from being able to own the means to enjoy beautiful music whereas those in other countries were able to do so. This determined him to find a means of putting some of the World’s finest within reach of the local enthusiast. Apart from SA being an extremely low volume market, a fact not understood by foreign suppliers given our nominal population of nearly 50 million people, and low value of the Rand in exchange, it was once worth more than the US Dollar, we are saddled with great distances from the countries of manufacture and the attendant high transport costs coupled with duties and other charges. In addition, as digital took an increasingly strong stranglehold on the audio industry, it seemed that the analogue enthusiast in this country was last in line when it came to interest, on the part of the trade, in the provision of services to those passionate in this discipline.
High End Audio’s first agency was Ringmat Developments and the list of agencies has rapidly increased to eleven currently active ones some having been dropped off along the way for various reasons. Apart from agencies not continued with after a brief flirtation, Roy receives agency offers of up to ten a month. He has certain parameters he applies when considering them. Among these are the following. His first reply is to explain, in detail, the small size of the market given the small size of the affluent population here. His principle is that, if there is not openness and frankness between parties from day one, a good relationship cannot be developed. Open cards is preached as a no-no in any good book on negotiating techniques but open cards works for us. If this means we are bad negotiators so be it.
If a manufacturer offering an agency asks for volume forecasts almost immediately discussions are opened, the answer is ‘no thanks’ we do not want your agency. They must understand, value and appreciate the South African enthusiast for what he or she is, namely, a highly discerning, extremely knowledgeable individual who appreciates the fine arts no less than aficionados of any other nationality. However, they must understand that there are, relative to the mass markets in Europe, the States and Asia, few of us. If there is no understanding of these facts from their side, we do not accept the agency.
Secondly, they must be nice people to deal with. If they are discourteous just for the sake of it, we will and have, resigned the agencies on several occasions.
Thirdly, the produce must be respected internationally. By applying these rules, we have acquired some of the most prestigious agencies Worldwide and are doing remarkably well with them. One of the prerequisites of analogue in particular is that the customer insists on dealing with those who have the same passion as he or she and the depth of knowledge to back it up. To a great extent we are offering knowledge rather than hardware. Our attitude to you, our customer and fellow enthusiast, is that, no matter how often you call even if only for information, you are always welcome. We look forward to your calls because it is our passion as well. It is a source of satisfaction to us that we pioneered the reintroduction of analogue in South Africa, starting when sales were almost non-existent, in many cases taking over agencies which were dormant, in others introducing products never before offered here, and making a tremendous success of them. Now that analogue is becoming a success once more others are entering the field.
This is the normal consequence of creating a successful business and, in that, we are happy to have been of service to the South African industry although it means more competition for us.