Transcript of Video Titled “Interview with Infinite Therapeutics VP, Jim Coppins (Part 3)”
Dr. Alan Weidner: You know, you guys usually come out with a model that’s quite different from the one before. I mean, when you look at the IT-8500, and the 7800, the 9800 and the Iyashi, like they’re very different chairs. It’s not like, well, like we were talking, it’s not like the 8200, 8500. All of them are very different, so it’s always exciting to get a new model, especially when you know there’s going to be something different about it, something cool.
Jim Coppins: I agree, like I alluded to, I – you know, you see companies that pump out a new chair, it seems like every month with a different flavor – you know, this one has heat, this one has a foot roller. I don’t know, to us, it doesn’t seem to serve a purpose, you know, a slight variation to me, really doesn’t warrant a new model, unless you have a new design or a new therapy, like when we came out with the glute massage of the Iyashi. So, we don’t try to just launch products, you know, 15 or 20 SKUs in the Infinity family. We try to launch products with a specific purpose to meet a specific need, that have something new and different compared to the rest of the product line.
Jim: So, we try to present it that way, hopefully it comes across that way, to have some sound reasoning behind the different items in our family.
Alan: Well great, looking forward to see it. Now, the company Infinite Therapeutics, you guys have been around a while, now the chairs is a fairly recent thing, I mean, recent within the last few years. How did you come upon the massage chair niche, as part of your whole, your company picture, your whole picture?
Jim: That’s a great question. I’m not sure, it was on one of our early, our first site when we first launched the product line. Myself and my partner, Michael Garceau, we were actually at an event, and we both sat in, and experienced a massage chair. We both have lower back problems.
Jim: We both experienced some relief from it, and based on our history, and kind of product development, product research, supply chain logistics, we felt like it was a product that we could work with, we felt like it had a demand, and that was going way back really, so that was early 2009 really, when conceptually Infinite Therapeutics really came to be. Shortly thereafter, the design, I told you, we went and toured factories all over Taiwan, all over China, and started to put together what we wanted the initial product offering to look like. So really, it initiated by myself and my partner sitting in a massage chair, and thinking that the product had a tremendous amount of merit. We knew that the market penetration in the US – I think we touched upon it on our last call that didn’t go well – in Asia-Pac, the amount of, the percentage of homes that actually have a massage chair is, I think, tenfold what it is in the US.
Jim: We felt, based on the US community, it’s a pretty – obviously one of the world’s most affluent communities – that the benefits of massage would be well met …
Jim: And it would be a product that we felt like would have a lot of play and a lot of penetration once we ramped it up.
Alan: Well, I think you’re right, and I think this is really a, it’s a very infantile industry in the US.
Alan: I mean overall, the industry’s only been around since 1959 or 1960, when a Japanese sewing machine parts salesman put together a chair out of sewing machine parts for his daughter, because she was having terrible headaches, and that’s what started it. That was in 1959, and I don’t think the first massage chair company came in to being until 1960 or ’61. So, in the grand scheme of things, the whole industry’s very young.
Alan: But in the United States, it’s particularly infantile, and I think now with these baby boomers and these seniors – of which, the baby boomers, of which I am a part, you know, we’re hurting, you know, all those of playing hockey, and football, and basketball, and you know, playing with kids, all these years – and you know what, it takes a toll on the body, and these massage chairs are just the perfect panacea for it. I think you got right in, at the right time, and it seems to be – I have a feeling that the industry is kind of gradually growing, and I think it’s going to hit that, that little, that bell – the beginning of the bell curve, where it really kind of, hits an upper swing, and maybe we’re in it right now, I don’t know, I don’t think so, but I have a feeling that that’s where we’re headed. Then, it’ll just kind of catch on, and really take, get a real firm footing, and then bang, it’ll take off, and I think that’s where we’re headed. I hope so, it’d be good for business.
Jim: Yeah, no. I certainly would agree, and to your comment about the baby boomers, we have a showroom here that we said we’d love to have you out at, and I obviously have one in my home, and I’ve been extremely busy, I have a trip, I’m going to be out for 10 days, I haven’t been in my chair, or a chair, for probably almost three days for me, which is a long period of time. It’s amazing, the benefits that you feel from regular massage, when you have regular massage, what it does for you, physically and mentally, with the stress relief, et cetera, and whatnot. A lot of people don’t get that, massage is a lot like exercise. If I jogged once a month, it wouldn’t do me much good, or if I got a massage once a month, it wouldn’t do me much well either, but when you run two or three times a week, or if you get a massage two or three times a week, the benefits are obviously exponential, and I think a lot of people don’t get that. I think we truly are – I think we’re probably right here, I think the bell – I think we’re starting the up kick on the bell curve, and it’s really going to take off.
Alan: Well, I think so too, and I hope so, and it’s kind of fun being a part of it, and it’s fun getting to know folks like you that have committed, you know, basically their careers and livelihood to bringing these chairs in, and innovating, and you know, making these things more accessible to people, and the price points allow that, and I think that’s fantastic. So Jim, is there anything else that I haven’t asked about that you might want to touch on, or any other things that you had on your mind that you wanted to offer today, if we haven’t covered it already?
Jim: I don’t think so. I know a lot of times when we have conversations, you know, you’d like to have the idea of kind of where we’ve been, and where we might be going, and you know, I think we’re always trying to be as forward looking as we can in the technology and industries that we’re in, and a couple of things really come to mind. I think the technology aspect of it, the apps and whatnot, and chairs that are Bluetooth enabled, is a big part of where we’re going, and I think that’s really going to kind of ramp us up the bell curve as far as the acceptance. I mean, technology today, there’s an app for that, you know, I mean, literally, you hear it every day. You know, there’s an app, my partner just got an app that he can open and close his garage doors, because the garage door is linked in to his home router, and that’s something I think Iyashi really kind of took a hold of, the fact that it’s Bluetooth enabled, it has the Android app, the Apple app’s not far behind it, that’s one thing. I think as you probably know, Doctor, the more comprehensive massage, the more body coverage, is getting greater and greater, and again, obviously with the roller track that you love on the Iyashi, the comprehensive arm massage, leg massage, I think that’s one of the other things that we’ll see people try to mimic, moving forward in the industry, but we’re real excited. We think ourselves, our dealer network, we’re in the right place at the right time, it’s a very exciting place to be.
Alan: Yeah. You know, I wonder if it’ll ever get to the point where they will do away with remotes altogether because, you know, the remotes are kind of a bother. They’re either on that pedestal, or they’re, you know, there’s a wire, and you got to put it somewhere. I wonder if with these apps, you know, maybe as the younger people get older, you know, maybe in the next twenty years, we’ll see a complete obliteration of the remote as we know it today, where everything will be done by the phone, I wonder if it’ll get to that point.
Jim: Well, I think we’re close. I absolutely would agree with you. It may not, I think everything out there in, probably within a few years, will have that option. As you’re probably well aware, Doctor, depending on where you are in that baby boomer segment, some folks are more tech savvy than others. So, there was an interesting article on Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, where they were poking at him because he still had a flip phone. So, depending on who the user is …
Jim: If they don’t have an iPhone, or an Android operating app, they may not quite be there yet to operate everything with a mobile device, but I think probably, in the next few years, I think all of your devices will be app ready. Then, probably another maybe five years from there, I’d be surprised if everything just didn’t come without a remote, and they were strictly app driven, download this on your phone, and you’re off and running.
Alan: Yeah. I can see that happening someday, because when you really think about it, like when look back on record albums, or eight-track cassette tapes, or even regular cassette tapes, and now DVDs, they seem kind of archaic, even though some of them are making a comeback now, like the albums, but I think to myself ‘Geez, that was the coolest thing we had back then.’ I remember my dad, when I was a kid, he had a big reel-to-reel thing, and I thought that was the coolest thing since sliced bread. Well, now of course, those are – that’s so archaic, and I think maybe one day that remote control, where it’s got a wire, and you know, it’s all connected to the chair – I could see maybe a day where that’ll be taken out, and it’ll just clean up the chair so much more. Who knows else will be different by then – I don’t know, maybe the bloody things will fly and drive by then, I don’t know – but who knows where we’re going.
Jim: I don’t know about that, but I would agree with you, I’m sure the remote, the days are numbered.
Alan: Yeah well, and I think not a minute too soon, they’re a bit of a bother anyway. Well, you know Jim, that is wonderful, I really appreciate your time today. I know you’re a busy guy, and I know we just did this a week and half ago, and I screwed up with the recording. Knock on wood, knock on wood, we got the recording right this time with the updated software. Thank you so much for taking time from your schedule to visit, and help people become informed about your product, and about the industry as a whole, and help to, you know, accelerate the – I think by doing things like this, I think we’re accelerating the speed at which massage chairs are accepted, and companies are validated, and credibility is built – and I think this helps the whole process for shoppers who are trying to decide if a chair’s right for them, and which chair’s right for them. So, thanks for being a part of that with me, and I appreciate that very, very much.
Jim: Thank you, Doctor. It’s always a pleasure to speak with you, and I agree 100%. I think the more the users get educated over the industry, and what’s available, and who the players are, and what companies are real valid within the industry, which obviously you do a tremendous job bringing that information base to the perspective buyers. So, we appreciate that, you’re one of our best dealers out there, and we appreciate your backing. We try to have the best products with the best support out there, and it’s nice, so to speak, to have you on our team.
Alan: Well, thanks very much. Ditto, I feel the exact same way about Infinite Therapeutics, thank you. Thanks for making a product I’m not embarrassed to refer to people.
Jim: Our pleasure.
Alan: That’s the essence of it, right there.
Jim: Our pleasure.
Alan: Well OK Jim, I’ll see if I can get out there, maybe in November, maybe in the new year, but I’ll come out there to New Hampshire, and – the guy that just bought the IT-7800 from me is in New Jersey – and he wants me to come on over for a home cooked Italian meal. His wife’s from Italy, and I love Italian food, so I might have to make a week of it, just go visit customers out there and eat and visit, but I’ll come out there and come see you.
Jim: Great, we’d love to have you.
Alan: Thanks Jim. Alright, we’ll talk to you soon.
Jim: Alright, have a good day.
Click on the following link to watch this entire interview with Jim Coppins, VP of Infinite Therapeutics, on our YouTube channel.