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Retailers Love Rain

The Chapmans, Owners of The Acoustic Shoppe – The Customer Experience

by | Apr 4, 2022

Episode Summary

John, Jeremy, and Jason Chapman of The Acoustic Shoppe sit down with Eric Thornton of Rain Retail Software to talk about how the Chapman brothers have turned happy accidents from their life into a successful music store recognized as a leader in specialized music business.

The Chapmans and Eric tell the story of how they grew the business from its roots in providing lessons into a full service music store. From taking over the lease of the shop they taught lessons in to building on the relationships they have nurtured throughout their career.

Everytime life placed a challenge before them, they took the opportunity to grow and expand. The Chapmans used their interest and expertise to take advantage of technology and new business processes to rise above their challenges to find a better way to do business.

Key Insights

  • Prepare and be open to new opportunities, but be ready to ride a wave with new possibilities
  • Specializing in a particular segment of the music market can help you stand out
  • Open up you business to a broad market in order to find your audience
  • Don’t hide from the challenges your business faces—tackle them head on
  • Be self reliant and understand many areas of your business and be able run them independently

Episode Highlights

  • “It’s never a good time for a pandemic to hit, but I think with technology, a lot of businesses survived and thrived as a result of that and not just with our website and the sales we were doing but in other areas.”
  • “We signed up with with Rain and Rain was already ready for us. When the pandemic hit, we were able to do curbside pickup. We’d never done that before. It was already built in. It was already there. We had moved forward and done ideas that most stores hadn’t touched before and it’s just because we’re so open, we weren’t stuck in any ways.” 
  • “I have to say, this is the trick. Relationships was the key throughout this. Everybody knows that inventory was impossible and it was really hard to figure out how to, not only what to get in, but also to figure out how to get it and most of the suppliers weren’t able to get us what we all wanted, so it took relationships. I was on the phone every single day, going all right, talk to me.” 
  • “You just have some of the old guard that has had a music store, a retail store for so long, that they’ve really… This is how it’s done, and this is how we do things…”

Guest Bio

John, Jeremy, and Jason Chapman were touring musicians who started The Acoustic Shoppe in 2012 first as an extension of music lessons they were teaching. The three brothers have always been eager to try new technologies to help give themselves a bigger stage to play on. Their desire to go bigger helped them grow their music business into the success it is today.

Website: https://www.theacousticshoppe.com/

View Transcript

[00:00:00] Eric Thornton: All right, everyone. Thanks for being here today and tuning in. Today, we have The Acoustic Shoppe, which features the Chapman brothers. Let’s go ahead and, if you guys would introduce yourselves and kind of your role there at the store, just so everyone knows who you are.

[00:00:15] John Chapman: They said earlier that I should go first because I’m the oldest and that is the case. I am John. I am the head of sales and inventory management here at The Acoustic Shoppe and also the actual face of the business. Everybody looks to me to be the face of our business…. maybe not. Moving on… 

[00:00:35] Jeremy Chapman: Self-appointed face of the business. I am Jeremy, the middle brother. I handle more of the backend stuff, kind of the different moving parts of the business and the office work. I deal with you guys pretty directly on the website and the point of sale system and that’s kind of my role; all those different softwares that we use and making sure the bills are paid and the back office stuff. And I get out in front of the camera every now and then when John will get out of the way.

[00:01:00] Jason Chapman: He does business development. Technically on his name badge, it says integrator, I believe. And on my name badge, it says marketing and that’s pretty much it. I’m the marketer. I’m Jason Chapman, the youngest brother and I’m in charge of microphones.

[00:01:15] Eric: Yeah, but you get to deal with the cool stuff, all the technical, the set up of this podcast. So you are responsible for how well this goes, right? 

[00:01:22] Jeremy: So here’s a good way to say it. He comes to me with the new equipment that we have to buy. So I approved the equipment so that we can film him. So it’s all kind of…

[00:01:31] John: Yeah, he’s the guy that eats up all of our budgets. That’s basically what his job is. 

[00:01:36] Eric: So I’m curious how far back this actually goes, this pecking order of John, the ultimate approver, I mean, I’m sure it goes back a long time. But let’s talk about that. So you guys being brothers, when did this idea of a store, like what was the conception of that like? Was somebody working at a store? Did somebody start it, or how did that all work? 

[00:02:00] John: The whole business has kind of been like, everything that we do seems to be an accident that works out. We originally started as musicians. We worked in a family band together for many years starting in, I think it was 1989. Is that correct? I believe that was our first year and started with our mom and dad playing music together. We started touring around, playing and doing shows, did that for a long time, turned into teaching lessons on the side for me and Jeremy and my dad. And when we were doing that, we were working in a music store. I worked at a music store out in Colorado, along with my dad. When we moved to Missouri, we continued to do teaching and then it turned into us working in a store and actually starting our own store.

[00:02:40] Jeremy: The shop that me and John were teaching out of had to close its doors suddenly. So we took on the rent payment for the building and continued teaching lessons cause we couldn’t really find anywhere else to teach the students, and then that became, “you got all this extra space. Why don’t we throw some strings on the wall and just kind of see how that goes.” And it was started on a shoestring budget, but it grew into a sustainable business where now we’re actually not touring as a band. Everyone started families and kind of settled into the Southwest Missouri area. And so the day-to-day is just running the music shop right now.

[00:03:12] Eric: So if we put a rough year on it, when was it that, “hey, we’re teaching lessons and the now owner is no longer running things and we have to pay rent.” When was that happening?

[00:03:24] Jeremy: That was the end of 2012. It was like the day that we officially made the decision to was 12/12/12. We talked to the owners of the building and got their approval to just kind of switch the lease over into our name and decided, “Hey, let’s just go full retail.” I think that we had taught lessons in the building one month up to that and then we’re like, I got all this extra space. Why don’t we put something together and see what happens? So that was the end of 2012 and we actually opened, I think we got a first sale in 2013 in February, but our official grand opening was in May of 2013.

[00:03:57] Eric: Did you have anyone guiding you along in this process or, I mean, John mentioned, what was it? Was it the word accident? 

[00:04:05] Jason: It was everybody really

[00:04:07] Eric: Did you have this store owner that was guiding you, Jason? 

[00:04:10] Jason: John and Dad both worked at a music store in Colorado. So they’ve been running that. John ran that for like 15 or 16 [years], I think. Something like that. Is that right? 

[00:04:20] John: Something like that.

[00:04:22] Jason: So, I mean, we had a lot of experience on that end. We all kind of grew up around music, but also the big help we had was a lot of the vendors that supported us; guys like Ben Cole from D’Addario, Eastman Guitars, GHS strings, all these people while we were connected with as a band, helped us out getting the stuff we needed.

[00:04:42] Eric: So you had vendor relations from being in the band.

[00:04:46] Jeremy: Yeah, a lot of these companies we had endorsements with, including Eastman and GHS strings, D’Addario, they kind of helped us when we were first getting started by giving us, here’s the best selling products we can do. We normally have this minimum buy-in, but since we already have a relationship with you guys, we can kind of lower that. Luckily some of our earliest adopters, customer-wise, recommended would get in touch with Score, which is a great, free service that I think just about every city has of former business owners or, you know, current mentors, which give you free advice and mentorship for starting a business.

[00:05:16] So we signed up with Score and I learned quite a bit from our Score mentor. But a lot of it was really calling on those previous relationships we had with people in the industry that we had met and got to know as a band that then were able to help us out when we made that transition to a retail shop.

[00:05:31] Eric: So, I mean, that’s a great connection to have. That’s news to me, I didn’t realize that you guys had that. 

[00:05:36] John: I don’t think we’d have been able to do it without it, really. 

[00:05:40] Eric: So now you’re selling and my guess is that your first thought is local retail. Take us through how that’s evolved over time being local retail. Now you guys have a nationwide presence. So walk us through how that has happened and kind of some strategies that you guys have used to go from local to a more broad scale and find success there.

[00:06:01] Jeremy: So I think starting out you’re exactly right. We were just mainly planning on selling to our students. As they came in, they’d need extra strings, they’d want to upgrade an instrument. We had some options there. But I think again, I credit a lot of our success to the history we had as a band, where as a band, you have to self promote and really try to get out there.

[00:06:19] So we had been doing a lot with YouTube as a band before that. And we said we should just film demos of these instruments as we get them in. And so pretty early, they were pretty awful videos. We still have a couple of them online, or it was just us sitting in our somewhat empty guitar room playing a mandolin or a guitar and demoing it and just putting it on YouTube and, putting a thing on Facebook, “Hey, check out this video,” but still with the plans on that, mostly being local and maybe a phone call here and there.

[00:06:44] I don’t think we had a website. We reserved a website, but I don’t think there was anything on it except, “Hey store coming soon.” So it was geared all towards our local market with the hopes that some of these bigger instruments that are, maybe we need a broader market to sell to that they might stumble across that video, but because of the success we had with some of that early content and doing a lot of Facebook live stuff, we kept kind of upgrading the video equipment that we had.

[00:07:09] And then somewhat accidentally, there was a local music show on a local TV station which they had to quit producing it. So the station approached us about using some of our content and putting together our own 30 minutes once a week, television shows. So it’s on the local CBS affiliate here in Springfield and Southwest Missouri area.

[00:07:27] And we had the multi-camera shoots that we were already using for our YouTube content. So that became a really good spurring moment where we said, Hey, let’s really invest in this video and technology thing to help awareness out beyond just the local community, and I think that just all sort of snowballed.

[00:07:43] And then when we signed up with you guys and started to have the integration between our point of sale stuff that we’re doing in store, but also having the option to have people go to our website, and I think big, early on was Reverb. We were skeptical to get on Reverb because they’re so afraid we’d double sell something and have somebody buy something in store and it was still be listed on Reverb and we’d sell it on there. So when that integration happened, it just kind of opened up this opportunity for us to really start selling beyond our local market, and that’s why we really started pushing YouTube, and that’s where Jason is kind of the guy behind making our YouTube content so regular and always putting more content out. I think the goal is not necessarily to sell that one instrument, but just to make people feel familiar enough with us that they trust purchasing something from a thousand miles away that they don’t get to play, but they just our opinion in our care to the way we pack it. So, it’s all been, again, an accident.

[00:08:34] Eric: Okay. So, Jason you’ve been tasked with, and I’m sure there is some group involvement in this but, managing these different channels of how are we going to get this content out? Because we found that people do like this, we’re putting stuff on YouTube, and better camera, better mix, better quality. So you’ve had to figure out this strategy, what’s that been like to figure out, okay well, where’s our time going to be spent across different channels? How do you even decide that and yeah, just figure that out to continue to grow?

[00:09:01] Jason: So it’s exactly what you said. It’s figuring it out. I mean, when you asked the question, when did we make the switch from local to a broader, internet audience?, We never thought local when we started, I think we are always thinking that it’s going to go mostly to the internet. So, we pretty much do the same thing we did as a band and shotgun approach.

[00:09:22] I mean, it started out with two cameras, one we already had and we matched it with another camera and just started figuring things out and started out, I mean, mainly Facebook and YouTube. Now it’s grown into where we have a media team of five, I believe now or four that all handle all aspects of things, but now we’re on every channel that we could possibly, again, shotgun approach, everything we can do to get our name, our beautiful faces out there, we do it just to try to make it happen.

[00:09:50] Eric: So now you guys have found a lot of success doing this. You guys have been NAMM Top 100 how many times at this point?

[00:09:57] Jeremy: I think eight years.

[00:09:58] John: It’s either seven or eight years. I can’t remember which now.

[00:10:00] Eric: Which is huge from going from a non established business? I mean, just being NAMM Top 100 is awesome, just overall. But to go from a non-established business to having that so quickly too. That’s awesome. 

[00:10:12] John: I think the other weird thing about this top 100 thing is – we’ve discussed this many times – there are three top 100 dealers in Springfield, Missouri, which is crazy because of all the big cities, I don’t think there’s any city that has two. I mean, Chicago, New York, I don’t even think any of those cities have two. But yet Springfield, Missouri has three of the top 100 NAMM dealers in it. And so we got into a very saturated market not knowing it, but the only thing that gave us the advantage was we were actually getting to do our own version of a music store. It was specialized, it was all acoustic, it was only about what we knew and not the stuff that we didn’t know.

[00:10:51] And I think that, again, goes back to the key, to what success we are having. Music stores are great. Everybody knows music stores are great, but finding the one that is in your particular part of the music industry was the key in what we really wanted to specialize in. 

[00:11:07] Eric: That’s an interesting point. Going along with what’s happened over the last couple of years, you guys were, I feel like as well as you could be, pretty well set up for success because a lot of these stores that are just in the industry, a lot of them are kind of stuck in some older practices.

[00:11:24] So having an e-commerce [store] and really getting reached through the web is not a new thing, but like you mentioned, you focused on your niche, what you knew, getting that reach right now. Did you guys notice much of a, I mean, of course there were some but, did you notice any hiccups really over the last couple years as things changed with COVID or  what did that look like? Or do you just feel like you were totally prepped for it?

[00:11:47] Jeremy: I think you made a good point. We were positioned in a good spot for a pandemic. It’s never a good time for a pandemic to hit, but I think with technology, a lot of businesses survived and thrived as a result of that and not just with our website and the sales we were doing on there, but also our lesson department, we had switched to a full online software where we were already uploading lessons to our students.

[00:12:10] We had webcams in each room with a big screen on TV or on the wall where we were teaching in person lessons, but also uploading that to each student’s account. So when the shutdown happened, students were already used to logging into their software, getting their lesson from that. So, for them to just sit at home and do the same thing with a webcam. I think we lost two students over the entire pandemic that were not willing to do a virtual lesson instead of an in-person, which is huge because I know a lot of other stores, the lesson department completely shut down. 

[00:12:41] Web sales, again, I did an NAMM submission for this year’s top 100 and pre 2020, I think it was 28% of all of our sales were online and 80% of those sales were through Reverb. Post-pandemic all the way through the end of 2021, we now we’re at 64% of all our sales are online sales with our website accounting for 70% of the online. So it was a huge shift to mostly online for us, which is, it took gearing up to that so that we could handle the shipping and make sure we were getting the photos taken of the products and representing them on the website.

[00:13:16] But that shift in a consumer based where they’re more comfortable now shopping online, we were just kind of primed in the right position, I think, to take advantage of that. And like I said, the fact that it’s mostly been geared towards our website now rather than the third-party sellers is an even bigger bonus of all that extra effort on the marketing side, where people are finding us and then seeking our website out rather than stumbling across us through a third party.

[00:13:41] So it was, I guess we were kind of in the right position and thankfully we’re able to take advantage of some of the things we had done leading up to the shutdown.

[00:13:50] John: I think that also adds in because we were …so we’ve talked about this. We were such tech nerds and we’re younger and we weren’t set into the world of, like you said, the old stores that already did things this way. They were used to, “this is the system that we do.” We were already ready to go on. We signed up with you guys with Rain and Rain was already ready for us. When the pandemic hit, we were able to do curbside pickup. We’d never done that before. It was already built in. It was already there. We had moved forward and done ideas that most stores hadn’t touched before and it’s just because we’re so open, we weren’t stuck in any ways. There was no ideas that we automatically felt like this is how it has to be done. It was, ” let’s go with that.” 

[00:14:31] Eric: That’s interesting. sure you could look at it, a downside, oh, maybe we’re a smaller store but you guys found how that made you more agile. You were able to move, you were able to adjust because you didn’t have all that size, that overhead and all of that. 

[00:14:43] Talk through getting products and getting the products that your customers want, especially with how things have been.

[00:14:50] I know you guys, you talked about how you had these relationships already because of the band you were a part of, but it sounds like those relationships have continued. Yeah, just talk through the challenges of inventory; right now and, working with vendors, and what’s your experience been, and what you like. I mean, I want to leave it open-ended for you guys. Kinda talk through that and what your experience has been there.

[00:15:12] Jeremy: This is where John maybe didn’t take enough credit for. He was the face of the business, but he also does most of the purchasing and he has really established great relationships with our vendors. John can now explain what he did.

[00:15:23] John: I have to say, this is the trick. Relationships was the key throughout this. Everybody knows that inventory was impossible and it was really hard to figure out how to, not only what to get in, but also to figure out how to get it and most of the suppliers weren’t able to get us what we all wanted, so it took relationships. I was on the phone every single day, going all right, talk to me. This has changed. This is not the same world that we were in three weeks ago. This is not the same world that we were in a week ago, even. Let’s keep an open dialogue all the way through this. Let’s come up with a solution. You know that we need stuff, you know that you’re not getting it, but you know it is coming. So let’s talk about a system to kind of keep this going. 

[00:16:05] And we were actually, I think, extremely fortunate. I can’t think of any period of time where we absolutely felt like we were out of inventory. We had most other things. I mean, obviously there were certain SKUs that we couldn’t get cause they couldn’t be built or got to us, but we were able to create systems with all these vendors because it was a daily phone call or every single one of our vendors- Jeremy and Jason laugh about it and we all know it- they’re all sick and tired of hearing from me. They hear from me three to four times a day (some of them) and it was just coming up with a solution, though, and if you sat back and just waited for them to come up with a solution for you, it wasn’t going to happen. So you had to continually go, “alright, I can help you. You can help me. Let’s both figure out a way to get the product out to the people,” because everybody was wanting guitars. That’s just the facts. 

[00:16:56] Eric: Did you guys have to figure out any balance between local demand and online? Or was it just, “no, I mean, we’ve always had that” and we just kinda, we already had our solutions figured out to that. Did you find that there was more local demand with this or vice versa?

[00:17:12] John: I think it was all the way around everywhere. 

[00:17:15] Jeremy: We probably don’t want to make the entire episode about how we survived a pandemic. But really honestly, in the first couple of weeks of this when it was starting to unravel and everybody was a little unsure what was happening, we would hear from a lot of the older school retailers and people get advising us that just said, “stop payments to all your vendors, conserve cash, don’t buy anything,” basically go into a shell and try to survive this thing.

[00:17:38] We got together and had a conversation, ” what do we want to do guys?” And we all collectively said let’s try to come out of the other side of this stronger. So we actually, when it was shut down, we gutted our entire showroom and remodeled it and we were going into work more when we were supposed to be quarantined at home as the rest of the world. But as the owner, we were actually working more in there remodeling the shop then we were pre COVID. 

[00:18:01] Same thing with purchasing. We actually bought deeper into a lot of our brands because we were kind of getting the feeling that everybody else was taking the kind of “hide” approach and that might lead to an opportunity where we will be positioned to have the gear that nobody else did.

[00:18:15] So I think we took a bet and it paid off in the end, but it was a bit of a gamble, especially being so new to retail, to know everyone else’s telling us don’t spend money and we’re like, let’s go ahead and just do it.

[00:18:27] Eric: Step on the gas. 

[00:18:29] John: Cautiously. 

[00:18:30] Eric: Cautiously step on the gas. 

[00:18:31] John: I’ve had that discussion with a lot of our reps. You can’t just floor it all the way and just buy everything. That’s the cautionary tale on inventory. It was, be on the gas and ready to go, but do it cautiously recognizing that at any point now we need to let off, if it comes down to it, we need to stop and just pay attention to whatever was going on. 

[00:18:53] Eric: So that’s interesting you talk about that and I feel like those are traits that you have to have. You have to have the patience but you can’t be so risk averse that you don’t try something. So, what, are those traits that you feel like somebody in your role, somebody that wants to start up a shop, what are your thoughts on traits that they can have that can help them with doing something like what you guys are doing?

[00:19:14] Jason: Self-reliant. It’s the same thing we did as a band. I think self-reliance, figuring things out, not relying on subbing out everything you do and just relying on your relationships, but definitely self-reliance because there are so many things to do and you have to do it all yourself right away.

[00:19:31] Jeremy: If you hired out for everything, you’d go broke right away. Luckily we take on every hat that will fit.

[00:19:37] John: Yeah, to give me an example of what I think Jason’s talking about, I mean, how many people go: 

[00:19:42] “you ought to do a TV show.” 

[00:19:44] “Sure. We’ll produce it. We’ll film it. We’ll do all that stuff and just make it happen.” 

[00:19:48] “You want to do purchasing and buying.” 

[00:19:50] “Sure. Just go at it.”

[00:19:51] You kind of have to take on some of those roles. You can’t just expect everybody else to do it. So these guys, they all just take on all the roles. 

[00:19:58] Eric: What do you feel like, maybe based on other retail industries, what’s something that the music industry, what’s something that they can start doing? It may be something that you’re doing, but just overall, something that maybe kind of eats at you and you feel like we could do a better job as the music industry of doing X. What is something that you feel like consumers really want to see more from the music industry?

[00:20:20] John: That’s a tough one. 

[00:20:21] Jeremy: There might be a lot of different avenues for that, like in the music retail industry, what you had alluded to earlier where you just have some of the old guard that has had a music store, a retail store for so long, that they’ve really… This is how it’s done, and this is how we do things and, what surprised me, how many people are still doing the old credit card things that just press the credit card on a thermal paper or something, and use the old paper receipts. And they’re not willing to kind of jump into more modern technology. 

[00:20:44] And it’s the same thing with the online social media stuff. There are so many stores out there that have a Facebook page, and that’s about the extent of their social media attempts at marketing and even that is very poorly done.

[00:21:01] They’re just so old routines that they really haven’t learned how to adapt and take advantage of the new technology. And again, when we first met you guys, we had signed up with another one that was just, it was a locally based software for point of sale system that all the stores recommended we get.

[00:21:17] And it was so difficult for me to use, but all those people have been using it so long that they weren’t willing to kind of adopt the newer, cloud-based technology and being able to be more mobile and quicker and updating faster. It’s that, I think, is what the retail part of it’s missing is just the old school stores that have been around so long and are so well established aren’t really embracing new technology and new ways of doing stuff.

[00:21:41] John: Another thing that I think retailers and music industry people, and I think even entertainers have to recognize is, we’re in a new world right now. Autonomous retail places aren’t what people want to buy anymore. They don’t care about the generic store that has no person that they actually connect with. They already have that. There’s Amazon, there’s all these big companies, Walmarts, all these things that you can buy anything from. 

[00:22:06] When they want something, through, specialized, they want to know the person that they’re buying it from. They want to know who that is and they want to believe you. They want to trust you because otherwise they can get a cheaper price somewhere else.

[00:22:19] They can get two day shipping from somebody else. They can do all the things that you’re promising them, but the only thing they can’t do is a personal relationship. And I think that’s the key, whether you’re an entertainer, you have to be able to recognize that people want to know you as a person, as an entertainer, that whether you’re selling them equipment as a music store, they want to know you. They want to trust you. They want to be part of your family. 

[00:22:46] And I think that has been the thing that we’ve tried to adopt is, we all recognize that there is a personality here. I don’t know if you know this, Eric, but there are a lot of people that don’t like me. They don’t care for my personality. I know it’s hard to believe, but they may connect with Jeremy. They may connect with Jason. We have all of our staff here, we’ve made sure that every one of them is accessible to the customer base because there are people that don’t connect with anybody but this certain person that is maybe not me – or maybe it is me – and I think that’s a really important thing that most people need to recognize in this industry nowadays. 

[00:23:20] Jason: I think there’s also a broader word we’ve been working on: customer experience. In this industry, if we’re talking specifically about music retail, the customer experience is completely forgotten and it comes from that old school mentality of ” all sales are final.” You don’t have any trial times. We don’t go on the internet because that’s not worth it for us. We don’t take credit cards. We only do cash. 

[00:23:44] That’s the real harsh reality of one side of it. But 90% of this industry, it gives you no trial periods, no return periods, no taking care of shipping for you. All those things are forgotten. And we’re in a world right now where we’re competing in reality, I’m everyday competing with Amazon or, Walmart or any of those in truth, because that’s what people are used to right now. We’re also spoiled, including ourselves, that we expect no question returns.

[00:24:13] We expect trial periods. We expect free shipping tomorrow, all these things and to have great content, to let us make our decisions. So I think what this industry could do is really look at the broader world and realize that if they don’t start paying attention, they’re going to become dinosaurs and there’s going to be no place for them in reality.

[00:24:33] Eric: It’s good to see retail stores adopting that and finding success because I think it is a little bit difficult to embrace that and say, “well, I mean, if people are returning stuff more than we’re losing money, right?” When in reality it’s something that you guys have adopted and you realize it just brings more customers to the table.

[00:24:49] And instead of buying one thing from you, they’re now buying five things over time, simply because, I love working with these guys. It’s easy. I like it. That’s great feedback on that. 

[00:25:00] So I am curious, you guys have had this love for music for so long, and that’s what has got you into the business. In talking to you and seeing you guys still love all that stuff – that’s, very much a part of you – how have you kept that alive while still trying to manage and run the business side of things?

[00:25:17] John: I think we compartmentalize it a little bit more, recognized that we, as the musician side of us, kinda had to take a back seat. We’re not taking it as serious as what we used to as far as what we did for performing and, and that kinda stuff, and let us still love it. This is our job and even then when we were touring and playing music, it was our job and you had to recognize that. And you kind of have to space that, the different avenues of what music performance is, and being a musician are, there’s the enjoyment, there’s the music, there’s the art that we all love. There’s the business side of the art that we all love. And you have to recognize what each individual compartment of that is and be able to bring the one that’s the most important at the time to the forefront and still love what the other sides of that object there are.

[00:26:04] Jeremy: I think it probably evolved a little bit where before it was us experiencing learning how to play music and performing for people and just that love of music. And now we’re getting to almost share that, like we have that experience that we had growing up, how exciting it is to get a new instrument. I remember when dad would, we’d been practicing so hard on our instrument that he’s like, “Hey guys, it’s time. We’re going to upgrade and get you a better one.” 

[00:26:26] And now we get to see that in the customers in the shop or our students where when they come to me the next week and like, they learned that solo and they got that excitement of, “man, I pulled down this lesson that you instructed me with. I think I’ve got it down.” And there’s that excitement. We can relate to it cause we remember what that was like ourselves and the same thing with first time guitar or instrument buyers. We’re seeing that excitement in their eyes with the potential. And then those people making that upgrade to the next one that, re-invigoration of them getting to play a brand new instrument that really get them super pumped to pull that out of the case and learn something new. So it’s almost like we’re getting to share that experience that we grew up with a new generation or just a new base of customers. So it’s maybe seeing a different side of the music that we love and seeing it from a different point of view.

[00:27:09] Jason: I think for me, I think I’ve been able to, you know, I get the same joy and the same itch scratched that I did when I was touring cause I get to do the same things. I’m still involved in music. I’m still producing. My favorite thing when we were touring is just doing the show, producing a bigger show than I thought possible.

[00:27:28] And now I get to do that from a desk chair, which is… It’s good in some ways, it’s good and bad, but I mean, I’m still getting that same fulfillment. It’s still something that I have in me that I want to, I mean, I still love music. We’re essentially producing music here every week and constantly recording and editing and mixing.

[00:27:46] So I still get that fulfillment and I mean the tech side of it, I still get that fulfillment because I get to play with all kinds of cool new toys now that I didn’t before. Plus I get a budget now because as a musician, we were broke. I mean, we ain’t rich now, but I can at least buy a few things and get some cool equipment.

[00:28:06] Eric: So that’s the real secret. If you feel like you don’t have enough budget to buy all the cool music producing stuff that you want, start a business so you can have a budget to do so. 

[00:28:14] John: And then you could write it off!

[00:28:17] Eric: Then you can write it off! 

[00:28:18] John: There you go. 

[00:28:20] Eric: So I am going to ask a Rain specific question here. I know you guys have mentioned some things, but specifically, you know what’s… maybe there’s a lot of things, so you don’t have to pick your favorite, but what’s one thing individually in your roles that you have found something in Rain that you just love about Rain that has just absolutely helped your business?

[00:28:44] Jeremy: I think the biggest thing is the integration with online. Like if we had to build a website, the way we used to have to do where we’d have to build a page for each individual product, and then if it sells, somebody has to be paying attention, take it off the website, that sort of thing. It has made it so easy to sell online because it’s all one, like when we put a new product in. 

[00:29:05] There was an evolution of once we started the website, initially we were just using stock photos of the, like, this is a standard model guitar. Let’s just use the stock photos. And then we would get customers that would receive the guitar and get so mad that the woodgrain in this one isn’t the same one you had in the photos and then we would put it in the photo, “not actual instrument sold.” I’m trying to make it clear that this isn’t the instrument they’re getting.

[00:29:25] And pretty soon, because we slowly grew into that, we said, guys, we’ve got to fix this. We’re going to have to photograph every single instrument we get in stock and each one has to have its own listing online. 

[00:29:34] All those things started to evolve where we now take photos of every individual instrument, customer knows the exact instrument they’re going to get. We know the setup of it, all the details of it. Rain allowed us to build a product for each one of those instruments and have it listed online and not make that such a daunting task that it would have been if it wasn’t all integrated in the website, Reverb and in-store. I think that would be my number one bonus of working with you guys.

[00:30:03] Eric: Great. We’ve loved having you guys on the show today. You guys are always entertaining, always have fun opinions. 

[00:30:08] It’s great to get a fresh perspective, like we said, you know, there’s, there’s value in both. There’s value in these stores that have been around for a long time and have found a way to continue to grow, continue to succeed over such a long period of time. There’s value in hearing from newer stores like yourself that have found a way to find a place in the market. So we love having you guys on the show today. Always love hearing from you. Thanks so much for joining us today and being here.

[00:30:31] Jeremy: Thanks for inviting us.

[00:30:33] Eric: Yep. Thanks guys. 

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