Written by Barb Consiglio.
Brandyn Armstrong has been making music all his life. At the age of 13, he began recording in professional studios, but was only able to record a small fraction of the music he wrote because studio time was too costly. Determined to find an economical way to get professional results outside of the studio, Armstrong started Studio Stick in Cleveland, Ohio. The company offers a portable sound studio with all the equipment needed to produce professional recordings — giving musicians the flexibility to capture their inspiration whenever and wherever it strikes.
“Having access to a studio is a challenge for a lot of musicians. There is creativity happening among local artists that may never be heard without an affordable option,” said Armstrong. “For the price of a few hours in the studio, a musician can own a Studio Stick and have unlimited access to a creative outlet with professional results.”
Studio Stick includes a small case that houses a professional-grade microphone, two sound filters and an adjustable stand to hold your smartphone. The microphone connects to the user’s phone and records audio tracks to the Studio Stick app. After recording, the app allows users to easily mix, edit and save their files.
As a young entrepreneur, Armstrong says there was a time in his life when being a business owner seemed like an unattainable goal. Like many of his peers in East Cleveland, he dropped out of high school as a teen. However, Armstrong says he refused to allow his surroundings to deter him from success. He earned his GED and won a business plan competition while attending Cleveland State University that awarded him $1,500 to build a prototype, apply for a patent and trademark his product. He has since earned two degrees and is working to begin manufacturing the Studio Stick and growing his business.
Armstrong began working with JumpStart, a northeast Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier, in their Core City: Cleveland Program. It provides entrepreneurial mentorship to startups in underserved areas. He worked with mentors to refine his business plan, find his target market and pitch his business to investors. After completing the program, Armstrong was awarded $2,000, which allowed him to finalize the patent process and begin marketing the Studio Stick.
“Everyone at JumpStart took the time to answer my questions and show me the next steps, and it gave me the opportunity to be around like-minded people in the area,” said Armstrong. “They gave Studio Stick exposure through connections and entrepreneurial events like Startup Scaleup, and continue to help me with business decisions as the product moves closer to market.”
Armstrong says when he had the idea for Studio Stick, he didn’t know how to translate it into a business until he discovered the resources available in northeast Ohio. Organizations in the Cleveland area helped him push forward to where the business is today, and Studio Stick is preparing to release its product. The company was recently featured on LeBron James’ CNBC entrepreneurial reality show, Cleveland Hustles.
“I was considered an at-risk youth, and it’s easy to feel like the odds are stacked against you. But Cleveland has truly embraced this idea, and now Studio Stick has a bright future for growth,” said Armstrong. “I’m proud to show others in East Cleveland that there is a path to success, and that the startup community will support you. If you’re willing to work hard, there’s no limit to your potential.”