The Founders Story

It's been a crazy couple years here at Loop. And as we get ready for the next big thing, we’ve been taking some time to look back. From the founders’ original inception to our expanding collection, here’s where we’ve been, where we’re at now, and what’s coming next. 

The inspiration: How Loop got its start

Our co-founders Dimitri O and Maarten Bodewes started Loop back in 2016. From studying engineering to a shared love of music and nightlife, the two had a lot in common to bond over. Including tinnitus.  

They tried every earplug on the market in search of a solution but found no earplug that could deliver all three things they were looking for: protection, comfort and style.  

Feeling frustrated and inspired in equal measure, they left their careers behind to embark on a new adventure. And so Loop Earplugs was born. 

The evolution: From mostly music to so much more

In the beginning, Loop’s biggest focus was concert and festival-goers – with The New York Times calling Loops ‘the best earplugs for concerts’. But when Covid hit and events came to a grinding halt, it was time to get creative. 

We started learning about a growing fanbase using Loops for sleep, focus, noise sensitivity, live music, travel, parenting and more. We re-thought our strategy, changed our approach and watched our growth explode.  

2022 was a big year. We clocked up €42 million in revenue, 350% growth in one year and over 2 million sets of earplugs sold. We were also named an Employee Engagement Award winner, LinkedIn Top Start-up and the fastest-growing Belgian tech company by the Deloitte Fast 50 – thanks to sales growth of a whopping 15,275% since 2018.  

And we’re continuing to make waves. There are now over 200 full-time Loopers split between our Antwerp HQ and our hubs in Amsterdam, New York and Shanghai (with a presence in Japan as well). That number is growing fast, and we're pretty sure one of the reasons is how we set ourselves apart as an employer – with a focus on flexibility, autonomy, creativity and personal growth for every Looper within our team. Most importantly, we also recognize that we’re only as strong as the talent we bring in and help grow.  

The motivation: Why we’ll keep going

Outside of our team, there’s a lot of reasons our founders continue leading the charge in elevating earplugs to earwear – and in making sure that earwear becomes an everyday staple.  

Sound shapes all of our lives, no matter our background, job or lifestyle. And as the world becomes a noisier place, it’s only getting harder to live life at our own volume. At Loop, our biggest focus is empowering more people to do exactly that. And before we get to exactly how we’re doing it, we’ll tell you why.  

This increase in noise has an inevitable impact on our health, happiness and well-being – and it’s bigger than you might think. According to the World Health Organization, over a billion people regularly expose themselves to noise levels that can lead to permanent hearing damage. One in five people are also neurodiverse, meaning they’ll likely navigate noise sensitivity and sensory overload on a consistent basis with tangible physical effects.  

While we initially focused on earwear for nightlife, our understanding around the importance of hearing protection has been expanding and evolving ever since. Through helping prevent things like stress, migraines, hearing damage and sensory overload, quality earplugs have a direct and positive impact on our mental health too. We now recognize that earplugs can benefit lots of people – like those who are sensitive to noise, those who want to sleep better and those who need help with focus and productivity while working from home.  

Despite all the benefits, many still choose to skip out on earplugs. One of the biggest reasons for this is the stigma around hearing protection that we’re working hard to break down. We want people to think of earplugs like sunglasses: if you wouldn’t think twice about putting your shades on when things get bright, why treat your ears any differently when it comes to noise? 

The approach: How we’re doing it and what’s next

Now that we’ve covered the ‘why’, how exactly are we empowering people to live life at their own volume? In short: a whole lot of innovation in earplug technology and design. Out with the old (dated look, muffled sound, awkward feel) and in with the new (earplugs that look, sound and feel great). To keep things fresh, we also launch limited and seasonal editions of our core collection throughout the year, alongside exciting collaborations with other brands and designers. 

We believe that when choosing earplugs, everyone should consider sound, look, comfort and price. Our goal has always been to create the first earplug that doesn’t compromise in any of these areas – and so far, we think we’re doing a pretty good job.  

The result? Bold, design-driven earplugs that use powerful and innovative technology to manage sound and provide certified hearing protection. Earplugs that look great – allowing for colorful self-expression in all forms – while being comfortable, durable, reusable, washable, secure and easy to insert or remove. And above all, earplugs that give our audience the freedom to choose how they hear the world, and how they leave their mark.   

So what does the future hold? If the next couple years are anything like the last, our guess is a lot. And with our sights set on the smart hearables market next, there’s no stopping us from redefining how the world thinks about sound.  

Our earplugs

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