Fame and Fortune: Klegg Electronics Owner Links with Celebrity to Compete with Industry Giants

Article excerpt

When Paula Abdul handed out Klegg Minis to audience members on The TonyDanza Show in February, she did more than put the smallest color-display MP3 player into the hands of eager recipients. The American Idol diva put the spotlight on a product developed by a black-owned firm.

The brainchild of Dennis Gentles, the Klegg Mini has appeared on CBS and NBC, on VHI's The Fabulous Life (on which Abdul performed while holding the MP3 player) and at the Virgin

Megastore in Times Square (where it was the focus of a three-day promotional event).

So what's the buzz about, you ask? Well, it's all over a 1.8-by-l.6-inch MP3 player that holds up to 250 songs and 10,000 images. It sells for $49.99 to $99.99, depending on memory size, via the company's Website (www.klegg.com) and at select retailers. The product was developed and manufactured by Las Vegas-based Klegg Electronics Inc., which Gentles, 32, launched in 2003 with $70,000 of his own money. In addition to MP3 players, the company's consumer products line offers slim-line televisions and high-end home theater systems.

Klegg's current product lineup includes the M6 501 surround-sound home theater system, the KP line of plasma televisions, the R6150 and R6110 LCD remote controls, and the C7 and I9 in-wall/ceiling speakers. Using technology and aesthetics as a foundation, the firm's engineers have designed a home theater system with speakers that are only slightly larger than a credit card yet powerful enough to provide "thunderous but precise base resolution," explains Gentles.

The 13-employee company got its start as a distributor for a European-based consumer electronics brand, which Gentles later purchased and brought to the United States. Having previously run a computer consulting firm for 10 years, Gentles says his dream was to build a business that could bring consumer electronics products together in a seamless fashion through home networks and similar systems. …