Safe and Sound: How Two Audiophiles’ Mental Health Journey Birthed An Idea To Disrupt the Audio Industry

When was the last time you listened to music in your headphones? Probably this morning on the commute to work! In today’s fast-paced world, music and immersive audio experiences have become an integral part of our lives. Finding the perfect pair of earphones or headphones is a quest that many embark upon, sifting through online reviews and watching countless YouTube video reviews of earphones before deciding on one product. However, as the demand for exceptional audio quality continues to rise, so do the prices of these coveted audio devices.

It seems that in the realm of audio products, a hefty price tag has become synonymous with superior sound. But why should we have to break the bank to enjoy our favourite tunes or immerse ourselves in the magic of a cinematic experience?

Enter Zerest Audio, a local earphone company set to challenge the notion that top-notch audio has to come at an exorbitant cost. Zerest Audio aims to revolutionise the audio industry by offering great quality audio products at an affordable price, shattering the silence on overpriced devices.

Kagami Wireless Prototype

Founded by Jeremy Lim and Melissa Lim, two audiophiles whose paths intertwined during their mental health journeys, Zerest Audio is set to redefine the way we experience sound. Their journey began 5 years ago when Melissa, a scientific researcher discovered her passion for creating handmade earphones. With a background in engineering and a burning passion for audio, Melissa embarked on her entrepreneurial journey. However, unable to manage the venture alone, she eventually stopped, until fate led her to Jeremy.

We caught up with Melissa who is the CTO and Co-founder of Zerest Audio to find out more about their journey through mental wellness as well as how Zerest Audio came to be.

Q: Could you share with our readers what sort of mental health issues did you and Jeremy face?

Melissa (M): Both Jeremy and I were recovering in the psych ward for depression and anxiety. On one of the nights; I came out to the lounge area and saw Jeremy alone. His speaker was playing a song by One Ok Rock, a Japanese band that I listened to. Immediately, I said, “Hi, you like One Ok Rock too?” We immediately hit it off and we sat there and started talking about music. I mentioned that I make earphones by hand and ran a business Zerest Audio that was in limbo because it was difficult to do so alone. I promised him a pair of earphones when we were both discharged. That night,we spent so long talking that even the nurses had to chase us off to bed.

Q: How did that lead the two of you to press on with this product idea?

M: After we were discharged we met at the park, and while listening to the earphones i gave him, he suggested that we run the business together. Jeremy had experience as a salesperson for an audio distributor, where he sold high end audio speakers and earphones. He is also pursuing a degree in marketing which was perfect because I needed someone with such expertise.

On my end, I am a scientist and a programmer, so I brought more technical skills to the team. We decided to take a leap of faith and restarted Zerest Audio together. Together we came up with the Kagami True Wireless, a wireless earbud with 8 hours of playing time, a total of 40 hours with the charging case. It has a dynamic driver and a balanced armature that makes the sound crisp yet warm and welcoming at the same time. We are selling this at an affordable price of S$99. We want music to bring people rest and comfort just like how music saved our lives and brought us comfort.

Q: Has creating a company helped in your mental health journey or were there struggles?

M: Of course working together was not without struggles. Sometimes when I was not doing well, I became less participative and it created an extra load on Jeremy to do more work. It both isolated and stressed him. After several disagreements, we both learnt to tailor to the needs of the other. First and foremost, we are friends and our well being comes before work. Till today, we are constantly learning and adjusting to be more supportive of each other’s mental health.

Q: What advice do you have for people facing similar mental health problems?

M: For people struggling with mental health, we want them to know that there is hope. Although we have been mocked by people, dismissed over our mental health, we want people to know that things can get better, albeit slowly. Recovery may not be a straight line, and others may not understand our day-to-day struggles, but it does not mean our struggles are invalid. There is always hope. Please seek the help you need. There is no need to be ashamed.


If you’d like to find out more about Zerest Audio and support them, do visit their website

Images: Zerest Audio

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