Black Cat Cable was based on a handful of innovations that were developed over the course of about four or five years. Most importantly, the ability for me to insulate my own conductors with a dielectric design that was at least equal, and possibly superior to the dielectric materials that were being used in my subcontracted designs. This was no mean feat, because I was using (and still use, for the core of my digital cables), a U.S. based military/aerospace contractor that has some quite special capabilities in house.
The development of the AERON process made this possible, and from that the original Morpheus (which later evolved to NeoMorpheus) cable prototypes emerged. At that moment in time, my business had been all but decimated. The economy wasn't kind to us, and my traditional distribution network had basically melted away - retreating into more established (and easier to sell) brands. The Black Cat Cable "moment" was when I realized that I was going to abandon the traditionally-distributed retail model as an exclusive sales channel and, instead, also reach out to customers directly. I called this direct-sales+dealers model "Hybrid Direct" and it has worked fairly well over the last several years. It allows me to keep on dealers who are ok with smaller margins, while also selling direct to enthusiasts who don't have dealers nearby.
Here is where I discovered the kind of value that you just can't get from a purely, exclusively traditional business architecture. Being able to more closely interact and communicate with my customers turned out to be one of the most delightful aspects of doing business this way.
I'm also really into my work ... I love being directly involved with the manufacture of my products, beginning at the point that they are just a collection of raw materials, to the point that I have packaged them to be sent to you. It's very personal for me, and this is an unexpectedly delightful benefit of having developed my own processes. When you receive your Black Cat Cable, you've gotten an authentic, original product that was created, manufactured, and assembled in my personal workshop.
For the past several years, when we were still living in Atlanta, Georgia, I had an apprentice par-excellence - Tarik - who was learning and working alongside me. Now that we have moved to Japan, I have been working solo again.
This has clarified some things for me: Even though my processes are quite scalable, and could be easily industrialized, I don't see the point in it. I'm pretty happy the ways things are.
Because of this, I'm able to do things that the big boys just aren't able to do.
- I'm not dependent upon industrial subcontractors squeezing out miles of thermoplastic-covered cables ... I can make 50 feet of a custom design any time I care to, even at midnight on a Sunday if the mood strikes me.
- I don't have to sustain a commercial building, either. No employees at this moment (though if Tarik wants to move out we've always got room for him - he's family), so our overhead is very low.
- More importantly, staying small means that I can do something that the big brands cannot do - I can personally build every cable that leaves my little atelier, no matter how inexpensive it may be. You just can't get that kind of personal involvement from the creators and founders of the big brands, and that kind of personal touch is important to me.
This presents a problem to people who have the mindset of an investment banker, because I am not able to produce high volumes of product. This is why I only rarely add a dealership to the roster. By keeping the business small, I get to be personally involved with every stage of my product - and my customers get to have a cable that has been hand-crafted and packaged by myself.
It will usually mean some waiting between the time you order and the time I ship. Sometimes that means we will have temporarily run out of something ... apologies in advance, in case you encounter that issue.
It may have taken me 23+ years to arrive at this moment, through various struggles and mistakes, but I'm here and I'm happy ... and I hope that all of this translates into the kind of lasting and meaningful value that is as important to you as it is to me.
~ Chris Sommovigo