One Man Band
We recently announced the winner of our Take it away Retailer of the Year 2012 at the Music Industry Awards Ceremony in London. We had six fantastic finalists, but the eventual winner was One Man Band from Banbury.
We caught up with David from the shop to find out what we can expect from the shop in the coming months and how it feels to have won our award.
Can you tell us a bit about your store?
One Man Band started 17 years ago back in 1995. We started off in a tiny shop, but since moving twice we are now in three adjacent showrooms.
In our main showroom we stock about 150 guitars, and large selections of amplifiers, brass and woodwind instruments, sheet music and accessories. Opposite we have one of the Yamaha Homeworld showrooms stocking all the latest Yamaha Keyboards and digital pianos, and under the archway we have a showroom with new and used acoustic pianos.
Upstairs we have 8 teaching studios where about 180 pupils come in for lessons each week
How does it feel to be named Take it away Retailer of the Year 2012?
Being announced at the Awards was fantastic, we knew that many of our customers had voted for us, we had received lots of emails of support and had lots of customers popping in to tell us. The local radio station had also campaigned in the area to let local people know they needed to vote for us and the local papers offered great support too.
Have you got any exciting projects or events coming up?
We got involved with the Music Industries Association's 'Learn to Play Day' this year and had many new musicians coming in for free lessons. It was so successful in introducing us to new musicians that we have done many free weekend lessons since, and look forward to getting involved in the MIA day again on Saturday 16th March 2013
We also take selections of Yamaha digital pianos and keyboards on a monthly roadshow around the region showing everyone what the latest models offer. We target areas where there are no music shops and give them an opportunity to come and have a go, and we get the opportunity to meet new customers. The Take it away scheme is especially popular for these people who hadn't already budgeted to buy a new piano or keyboard, but have wanted to learn for years. The Take it away 0% finance scheme makes it possible and affordable for these people to learn.
We are starting our fourth keyboard club in January. We already have two Yamaha Tyros Clubs and a Yamaha Clavinova CVP club for owners to learn more about how their new instrument works and how to find the best features and sounds, but we are starting a new one for customers who have bought the Yamaha DGX series pianos.
What's the most popular instrument in your shop?
We probably sell more acoustic guitars than anything else, although ukuleles are growing in popularity at the moment and sales are higher than ever before.
What can customers expect from One Man Band over the festive period?
Christmas is always our busiest time, we find the electric and acoustic guitar packages are always popular, and in store we offer a service card with these instruments, so that our customers can bring back their guitars after 3 months for a full service and free restring. They can also come back after 6, 9 and 12 months for us to fit any new strings they buy and service their new guitar as necessary
Keyboards and pianos are always popular at this time of year to, but we like to deliver these and get them installed properly so that they are built properly and all the features are understood.
Do you play a musical instrument? What sort of music are you in to?
I mainly play the keyboard and piano, I dabble on other instruments but am most comfortable sat at a nice digital piano or a Yamaha Tyros Keyboard. I enjoy most genres of music, but particularly like Jazz.
Have you ever had any unusual or interesting questions from customers?
We have sold numerous guitar strings to engineers for contraptions they are developing, but regularly sell thin plain guitar strings for use on cheese board cutters.
We have had a couple of occasions where our younger staff (aged under 30) have asked famous musicians if they play. Nick Heywood from Haircut 100 was in buying a guitar, and one of our guys who was too young to know of him asked if he played in a band. Another member of the team asked Dave Pegg, Bass player of Fairport Convention, if he played.
What's the best thing about working in a music shop?
It is great working in a music shop, must be one of the dream jobs of many people. There are lots of routine parts of the job, but having customers return and seeing and hearing their progress is a fantastic opportunity and making many friends from the local music scene is a bonus.
What are your thoughts on the Take it away scheme?
The Take it away scheme has made a huge impact on our store. In the first full year after it was introduced nearly 25% of our years turnover was just on the Take it away 0% scheme.
The great thing is that Take it away has helped thousands of families avoid the poor quality instruments found on the internet at low prices and helped them spread out their payments to afford an instrument which will encourage their skills and develop their musicianship. So many children give up due to low quality instruments and think it is their playing. The 0% scheme helps them to get a known brand which will be much more durable and last them longer.