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Marketing? Access To Suppliers?


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Hey all...

I've been thinking... How do I go about marketing my guitars and such, as well as gaining access to suppliers both domestic and abroad in order to take advantage of more cost effective materials. A while back I sorted things out on my end by narrowing things down with regard to what I'll have to offer. Beasically offering two different levels of instruments. One being mid priced, the other being, more or less upper crust. But I'm having trouble getting the 'business' aspect of things sorted out. Don't get me wrong, this is still in the planning stages. But I've run into a couple of road blocks.

The local market here in the high and low deserts of so cal really really stink. The local mom and pop dealers really aren't interested as the majority of their money comes from low-end Squier and Dean sales. I talked to my Bro at GC, and he can, more or less, only give me a deal similar to that which the average Joe gets when selling a guitar to GC. That is... They'll pay 30% of the MSRP. AND... Given that I don't really have a 'company' that's listed, that would be just about nil. The most I could get out of them would be about $700.00 unless I had a collectable or some such.

The other avenue would be Ebay. But... Here we go again... Unless it's got a well known name attached to the 'custom', I haven't found anything that has brought in much money. I mean... For the more expensive guitars I'd be selling, I'd have about $600.00 invested in parts alone (pickups and hardware alone are well over $400.00 [custom wound p'ups $200.00 for the trem, etc, etc) as well as a ton of labor. How the hell could I get a grand for an instrument on ebay? I don't see it happening.

Next order of business... Suppliers. As folks like me scour the internet for suppliers and such for hours on end, we still come up, for the most part, empty handed. How do we gain access to all these overseas folks?

Answer to both of these questions, to one degree or another... NAMM. Now then... How do we get into NAMM as a manufacturer? There's the $195.00 fee. Check. But then, you get into business licenses, brochures, catalogs, documentation of business to business transactions, etc, etc... ****. Whatta pain in the arse.

Is there an easier way to get into The Club?

MLAR, Cor

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well hey...i am not trying to dis you,but i have seen none of your work.have i missed it or have you not posted it?forgive me,but if your work is not top knotch,in every way,you will never get anyone to pay those prices when they can get better quality cheaper

if you want to build custom instruments,the quality has to be hands down better than those mass produced guitars,yet comparatively priced or cheaper than what,say,esp asks for a complete custom.

this leaves alot of room for you to carve out a place in the market,IF your work is quality

there have been too many guys on this forum wanting to sell guitars for exhorbitant amounts with shoddy workmanship for anyone to assume without examples that you are one of the few who produces class instruments

and no,ebay is not going to do it for you

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If it was easy, everybody would be doing it! :D

As for access to suppliers, all it takes is loads of cash - you can even have those Korean factories that make everybody else's price-point axes churning out your product in a few months, so long as you have the money to order the quantity necessary to get a good price. Then there's those other pesky expenses, like insurance, taxes, lawyers, accountants, licenses, promotion and employees. Any small-scale manufacturing business is an expensive start-up, and unless your product is extremely high quality, your chances of success are nil, for the reasons that Wes illustrated. You might want to take a look at Jim Donahue's book for some serious insider info - it's well worth a read-through. Best of luck, seriously!

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Don't even bother with ebay, trust me. I'm surprized the local mom & pop stores wouldn't help out, that's where ALL my business has come from...I've only consigned my instruments though, were you wondering about the store buying the instruments off you? I've wondered about doing that.

For suppliers get a business licence so you can get wholesale would be a suggestion. Maybe even talk with other small guitar companies about what they do.

Like Wes said, lets see some of your work.

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well hey...i am not trying to dis you,but i have seen none of your work.have i missed it or have you not posted it?forgive me,but if your work is not top knotch,in every way,you will never get anyone to pay those prices when they can get better quality cheaper

if you want to build custom instruments,the quality has to be hands down better than those mass produced guitars,yet comparatively priced or cheaper than what,say,esp asks for a complete custom.

this leaves alot of room for you to carve out a place in the market,IF your work is quality

there have been too many guys on this forum wanting to sell guitars for exhorbitant amounts with shoddy workmanship for anyone to assume without examples that you are one of the few who produces class instruments

and no,ebay is not going to do it for you

Well... No. You haven't seen any of my work. However... I exaggerated the initial statement. I said 'Upper Crust'. That was wrong of me. I'm not shooting for the $3,000 - $6,000 range with Suhr, Morgaine, Anderson quality. I didn't mean to imply that. Sorry. I'm actually shooting for about the $1,200 range. Let me assure you, however, I have no interest in overcharging. My interest lies only in making a little bit more money that I put into the instruments. That's it. I have no big plans of getting into major production or anything like that. I'm strictly smalltime.

Thanks for the advice, Senor. :D

Cor

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Find a building in your area and open up a guitar store (away from any major guitar stores). Stock the shelves with items people will need and few of your guitars. People will come. I've seen this happen to a friend of mine. Now he has his wife work the store and he builds, does repairs, and gives guitar lessons. It is working for him.

It took awhile, but when he started the store he already had quite a few instruments built. He could not sell them (as was mentioned it is hard to sell without a name). Soon as the store opened he started carrying the inexpensive lines, but "sold" his own.

He found an area with no guitar stores and made it work. I can't find the website, but his company is Flying W guitars in Gig Harbor, Washington.

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Answer to both of these questions, to one degree or another... NAMM. Now then... How do we get into NAMM as a manufacturer? There's the $195.00 fee. Check. But then, you get into business licenses, brochures, catalogs, documentation of business to business transactions, etc, etc... ****. Whatta pain in the arse.

Something I remembered: Besides the registration fee, if you want to have a booth at NAMM, besides brochures/catalogues (which you'd need), the actuall price of the smallest booth, 10'X10', is $3000USD. :D

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If it was easy, everybody would be doing it! :D

As for access to suppliers, all it takes is loads of cash - you can even have those Korean factories that make everybody else's price-point axes churning out your product in a few months, so long as you have the money to order the quantity necessary to get a good price. Then there's those other pesky expenses, like insurance, taxes, lawyers, accountants, licenses, promotion and employees. Any small-scale manufacturing business is an expensive start-up, and unless your product is extremely high quality, your chances of success are nil, for the reasons that Wes illustrated. You might want to take a look at Jim Donahue's book for some serious insider info - it's well worth a read-through. Best of luck, seriously!

I getcha, Senor. It's a pretty dismal picture, f'r sure. Thanks for the link to the book, Senor. B)

Cor

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Don't even bother with ebay, trust me. I'm surprized the local mom & pop stores wouldn't help out, that's where ALL my business has come from...I've only consigned my instruments though, were you wondering about the store buying the instruments off you? I've wondered about doing that.

For suppliers get a business licence so you can get wholesale would be a suggestion. Maybe even talk with other small guitar companies about what they do.

Like Wes said, lets see some of your work.

Yeah... I've asked about consignment stuff. It turns out the owner usually picks the instrument up after it hangs on the wall for several months. :D That's why I was interested in selling the stuff to them directly. :::shrug:::

Respectfully, Cor

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It turns out the owner usually picks the instrument up after it hangs on the wall for several months.

I've had one go in a week. :D You'll have to start selling on consignment and get local musicians playing them and get a reputation going, then stores will be interested in buying them directly if they know they can move your product.

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Answer to both of these questions, to one degree or another... NAMM. Now then... How do we get into NAMM as a manufacturer? There's the $195.00 fee. Check. But then, you get into business licenses, brochures, catalogs, documentation of business to business transactions, etc, etc... ****. Whatta pain in the arse.

Something I remembered: Besides the registration fee, if you want to have a booth at NAMM, besides brochures/catalogues (which you'd need), the actuall price of the smallest booth, 10'X10', is $3000USD. :D

Thanks... Yeah. I know... It's expensive. I'm not interested in an exhibit at this point.

Cor

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Build something that looks impressive, plays well, and is different. Not 80's metal, pointy kill yourself if you fall over on the guitar different, just something "classic", but not a copied design. Build it, and they WILL come.

Get out there are promote yourself to guitarists and bands (im not telling you how thats done, work it out).

Get your name into every shop, even if they have never seen your work (easy, but you work it out).

Diversify your business. It cant all be about new guitars in the beginning.

Get a website, update it.

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Build something that looks impressive, plays well, and is different. Not 80's metal, pointy kill yourself if you fall over on the guitar different, just something "classic", but not a copied design. Build it, and they WILL come.

Get out there are promote yourself to guitarists and bands (im not telling you how thats done, work it out).

Get your name into every shop, even if they have never seen your work (easy, but you work it out).

Diversify your business. It cant all be about new guitars in the beginning.

Get a website, update it.

Thanks Rhoads... Yeah. I'm stickin' with the 'classic' shapes. They look almost the same (from the front) with the exception of more room on the lower horn for easier access to the higher register. Lotsa body sculpting, etc. Nothing special, really. You're right... "Build it and they will come."

I'm a bit outta the loop when it comes to the networking thing. I'll hafta work on that. :D

Thanks for your thoughts and your time as well. B)

Respectfully...

Cor

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