Interview with Jim Coppins, VP of Infinite Therapeutics (10/24/13) – Part 1

Iyashi Red Straight Massage Chair

Transcript of Video Titled “Interview with Infinite Therapeutics VP, (Part 1)”

Iyashi_red_Straight_rightDr. Alan Weidner: Jim, I’m just going to introduce you to our viewers. This is Jim Coppins, he’s the vice president at Infinite Therapeutics, which is the company that imports and distributes the Infinity line of chairs – the 7800, the 8100, the 8500, the Iyashi, and the 9800 – and Jim, I appreciate you being on here. We interviewed over a year ago, and we talked about things then, in the industry and about your chairs, and it was the first time we’d actually ever met. It was a very informative session, but I’m glad that have a chance now to revisit, and to talk about some new things.

Jim Coppins: Me too.

Alan: But it’s good to have you here, welcome to the interview.

Jim: Thank you, Doctor, always a pleasure, good to see you again.

Alan: Now, what I thought maybe we’d start off with is talking about the models that are new since our last conversation, and the Iyashi and the 8100 are the new models, and we’ll go in to the Iyashi first. I just love the Iyashi, that 49-inch roller track is – I think it’s something that’s going to catch fire, and of course, we all know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, even though it is a bit irritating – but I have a feeling that this is going to become a standard model, or a standard feature, in at least one model for most companies before long. You guys seem to have kind of integrated it in to your lineup before anybody else, and I just think it’s phenomenal, like l love that chair. I enjoy sitting in it when the rollers come down to the butt. People will ask me ‘Which chair do you like, you know, what’s your favorite chair?’ Well, it’s hard to pick, but that feature right now is my favorite feature, and I think it’s awesome. Tell me a little bit about that chair, and your feelings on it, and how it came to be.

Jim: Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, we’re thrilled by the Iyashi. We certainly think we’re at the forefront when it comes to a lot of the technologies that we bring out in the Infinity line. It’s funny, we try to keep abreast of the reviews, you do a great job blogging, you seem to have a tremendous amount of reviews online, and I’ve yet to see a review that wasn’t raving about the Iyashi. Whether it’s the roller track, whether it’s the ‘Rubbing’ therapy, which is a favorite of mine, I think you’ve blogged on that, that’s probably the most soothing therapy that I’ve felt in a massage chair, but we’ve been thrilled. From head to toe, we wanted to come out again on the forefront, bring something new and innovative to the marketplace, and we really feel like, top to bottom, that chair encompasses more of what an end user wants than anything that’s out there today. I know you typically go through them, and review everything from the remote, to how the set up is, et cetera, and I think everything about the Iyashi really is at the top of the game. The remote, for instance, it’s the simplest menu-driven remote, I think, that exists out there today. It’s almost like using your iPhone or your Android operating system. It’s very, very friendly and easy to use.

Alan: Oh, very much so, I couldn’t agree more. As a matter of fact, it kind of reminded me of a TV remote. It just, had a menu, and was easy to pick, and very intuitive, I really like that, I love that feature.

Jim: Absolutely. If you pick an ‘Auto’ program, it gives you the choice, if you go to ‘Manual,’ it gives you the choice, it’s very, very simple, and very menu driven. Of course, we incorporated the Infinity foot rollers, which have been a big hit in our product line. I think 99% of most users love Paloma Achlen.

Alan: You know, I noticed – I just want to make a comment about that – I noticed on the Iyashi though, that different from the IT-8500, those airbags in the feet really shear the foot over top of the rollers. So, you’re kind of getting that added therapy of airbags, not just compressing, but moving, your feet over top of the rolling mechanism, and that really increases the intensity and the therapy of the feature, I think.

Jim: Absolutely, and it really – like the 49-inch track, and the additions we made to the ‘Compression’ therapy in the arm system – we were looking for ways to make more comprehensive coverage, and that feature, that’s what that feature came from, the ability for the airbags to move the foot over the rollers so you had better coverage of the sole for reflexology. So, that really, we’re really thrilled with the way that came out.

Alan: Yeah. The hip airbags kind of do the same thing with the butt. It inflates and shears the buttock across the rollers while the rollers are going down there, which is an added benefit, I think.

Jim: Absolutely. Exactly, same concept drove the foot rollers, drove the hip airbags, I mean, there’s a lot to talk about in the Iyashi. I mean, the space saving system is fantastic for a lot of people. I mean, that’s usually a challenge I think you’d probably deal with is ‘Where do I put it, how do I fit it?’

Alan: Yeah.

Jim: And the ability for that chair to be right against the wall, and when it’s activated, track out …

Alan: Yeah.

Jim: We think is a huge, huge plus. The technology, obviously it’s Bluetooth enabled so you sync up your mobile device and it sees the Iyashi. You can play your music playlists, which people love. It has the Android operating app, obviously you can run the entire chair off of the Android app. The Apple app, we hope, is not far behind that. So, there’s a lot to love about it.

Alan: Yeah.

Jim: You know, we really feel like – in the marketplace, whether it’s a $ 6000 or an $8000 chair – we don’t feel like there’s anything out there that truly competes with the Iyashi.

Alan: Yeah. It’s just so unique, it really is. Again, that roller track, that coupled – and the sliding base, of course, I mean, you could put that chair right up against the wall. Most chairs, if you ask for the – and I get calls a lot about asking for the dimensions of a chair – well, I have to always make the caveat, include the caveat, ‘Make sure you’ve got that chair a foot to maybe 18 inches away from the wall, so you don’t put holes in the wall when the chair reclines.’ We’ve done that in our showroom, repeatedly, with other models that we’ve put in, and reclined, and it was too close to the wall. I’ve got, I actually have spackle and paint at my showroom, all the time, because we never know when a chair’s going to hit the wall. That’s usually because we’re moving them, and shifting them around, or taking them out and bringing them back in, and sometimes they’re not placed right, but anyway, I’m off on a tangent. But I think with that 49-inch roller track, the sliding base, and the foot rollers, and then also, I think the airbags are kind of cool. Like, on the 8500, the airbags are more like, one cell on the bottom and one cell on the top, and they compress – on the Iyashi, which is kind of cool is, it has a cell, it feels like in the forearm, one in the wrist, and then one on the hand – so it kind of goes through this sequential motion, which I think enhances, and I don’t know, I’m certain there’s no study to validate this or back up the theory, but I think the theory is that it’ll enhance circulation of the blood and lymph in the extremities.

Jim: Correct, correct, that’s the point of it. The 8500 actually has, very similar to the 8100, it actually has dual airbags, top and bottom, but they typically work in conjunction with each other, where the system in the Iyashi is more advanced, where it actually – like you said, it works down the arm and back up the arm to benefit the circulation, which it’s a real – I think I overuse the word therapeutic – but it’s a real neat sensation, the way that operates.

Alan: Yeah. I think intuitively it makes sense. So, I think it’s a great idea, and any kind of motion you can get – compression is one thing – but to get compression combined with, like you say, with that motion, I think is fantastic. Now, I also noticed on the arm airbags, which I think is kind of cool, that it has those little knobs, those little rubber knobs on the linen, or the material, and I feel like, some chairs, the complaint is that when your arms are in the armrests, the airbags actually squeeze your arms out, and you have to consciously keep your arms in there. Well, I find that on the Iyashi, those little rubber knobs kind of grab your arms and hold them in there, which is kind of cool. I’ve never seen that before.

Jim: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a little bit twofold, that’s part of the purpose, and it also gives a little bit more breathing, where the fabric isn’t right up against your arm, or both the extremities, so that’s part of the equation.

Alan: That makes sense. The only push back I’ve had on the chair is the white color of the outside frame, and I know that in our last conversation we touched on this a little bit, but you know, you spoke to the fact that you are considering other colors, and maybe next year that something will come out. I have yet to meet a person that did not like the massage chair itself, like everybody loves the chair, but some of the women will say ‘Well, the white doesn’t really go with my, whatever my decorum is,’ but maybe you could speak a bit to that. I know you probably got some feedback on that.

Jim: No, no, absolutely, decorating with the design can be a little bit challenging, a lot of designers will put a throw blanket over it, or an additional pillow, to try to work within the design of the room. We have, we actually already have made a prototype of a black unit. We had some challenges with how that came off the line that we really weren’t comfortable with, so it’s something we’re still working on. I don’t, as you know me, we tend to like to under-promise and over-deliver. We hope to have that potentially at some point next year when it would be where we’re comfortable with the production, that the quality’s going to be there, I’m not sure when that’ll be.

Alan: Well, you know, I appreciate that, and I think that maybe, maybe what it is, more than anything, you know, as I contemplate it – it may not be the color so much, because there’s other white chairs for heaven’s sake, I mean, like it seems like every model has a ‘Cream,’ an ‘Ivory,’ or a ‘White,’ or an ‘Off White’ – maybe it’s just the whole look of it, because it’s such an innovative look that plastic outer shell is so contemporary and futuristic that maybe, maybe that’s the thing that maybe takes people, gets them, catches them a little bit off guard. If they’re expecting it to look like the traditional massage chair, they’re not going to get it, and kind of like the Sogno innovated that body design that became kind of a standard amongst newer massage chair models, maybe this Iyashi design is going to be a, you know, kind of a forerunner of similar body frames in the future. So, maybe it isn’t the color, who knows, maybe it’s just ‘This is just so different, I’m just not used it,’ and maybe that’s the issue, I don’t know.

Jim: I think that’s probably part of it, I would agree with that sentiment. I think there’s also already been some – copycat’s a real strong word – I think there’s been some look-alikes that have come out since we launched the Iyashi, kind of going to a similar design. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if we move in that direction, especially based on the fact that everybody’s trying to have a more comprehensive massage for more body coverage.

Alan: Yeah.

Jim: I think the traditional look, based on the frame and what you’re trying to house, was a little bit restricted to accomplish that.

Alan: Right. OK. Well, I get it, I think it’s an awesome chair. I actually like the look, and when people walk in to my showroom, their eyes are drawn to that chair immediately, and everybody wants to try it out, especially when they see that roller track going down in to the seat. Now, how much input do you have – like I know that these chairs are created in China, I know that you have input on, maybe the software, or some of the programming of the hardware – tell me how much input you have in the actual design or the creation of it. Then also, talk a little bit about – excuse me, I should’ve had some water here – but talk to me a little bit about the time it takes from concept to launch for a chair model, and I know it varies, but maybe speak to those issues a little bit.

Jim: OK. We have a tremendous amount of input that we’re going to put in to the product that we’re going to put on the streets in the United States. We move, as you’re probably aware, the Infinity brand is probably quickly becoming one of the largest well-respected brands in the country. So, we have, I think we talked about this briefly before, when you recommend a chair, you’re recommending the company, you’re recommending the support, there’s a lot to it, and the same holds true for us. When we put a product out on to the market – you know, it seems like some companies pump out a new chair every few weeks, which kind of astounds me – we want to make sure that the chair has some new feature or benefit, that all the technology within the chair, the programming, the auto programs, the features and benefits of the chair are going to meet a need, and bring a new experience to the end user. So we, it’s not a matter of just going through a catalog and saying ‘This looks good, that looks good.’ Everything that we produce and bring to market really was almost exclusively made and designed for us based on our input and what we wanted the chair to encompass. As far as timing, that can vary greatly, when you look at – I know you wanted to touch upon the 8100 – when you look at the 8100, it has many of the Infinity technologies in it, but it doesn’t have the technological advancement levels of the Iyashi, for instance, so the Iyashi for us really was a process of a little over 18 months …

Alan: Wow.

Jim: From the initial stages to actually until we were comfortable to launch that chair, and a lot goes in to that. Obviously, the new track was cutting edge, but all the programming, the Bluetooth, the Android app, et cetera, that technology certainly drags out that process.

Alan: Yeah.

Jim: On the flip side …

Alan: Well, and it’s still dragging it out, I mean, you’re still waiting for the Apple app, so yeah, it’s still in process.

Jim: Absolutely. Great point. On the 8100, for instance, it was, we kind of refined and tweaked – there were some new things that we added to the 8100 that weren’t in some of our other products, but it didn’t have kind of the cutting edge advancements that are in the Iyashi, that one, kind of, from conception to launch was about six months, to launch.

Alan: Oh wow, that is a big difference.

Jim: So, much, much quicker.

Alan: You know …

 

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