Feb 22 2018
Dan credits his uncle with inspiring him to pick up a guitar. “He played this awesome old Gibson Les Paul. I’d hear him practise downstairs and wish I could play like that”. Today, Dan tours internationally with his band, October Drift. He’s played his Fender Jazzmaster, purchased using Take it away, at Glastonbury, the BBC 6 Festival and The Great Escape. In 2018, October Drift are supporting Editors’ sold out UK album shows.
Dan found out about Take it away when he was looking at guitars in Mansons in Exeter; “They were, and still are, awesome – helping me set up my guitar when I bought it and then giving it a 6-month check.”
The best moment in Dan’s music career so far? “Playing the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury - to finally walk out into that stage was a real honour.”
Dan’s tip for aspiring musicians is “surround yourself with people who believe in you and will push you on when you get disheartened.”
Feb 22 2018
Financial help to buy a first piano
When children develop an interest in music, it’s often left to parents to ensure those skills are nurtured. Investing in their musical development can be expensive and many parents are concerned about their long-term commitment. Whether you are from a musical background or not, where to start can be overwhelming. Parents will have many questions. Will my child continue to play? What’s the best instrument to choose? Can we buy a second-hand instrument or should we buy new?
The first port of call is often your school music teacher or local music shop – if you’re lucky enough to have one.
Helen comes from a musical family, so in many ways had a head start in investing in musical instruments. However, she still found the choice overwhelming.
She had always played music and her husband is a guitar teacher, as a result, they started their children playing early. They enrolled both of their children, Louis and Emilie in music classes at age 3, encouraging them to experiment with different instruments.
Both children became interested in the piano, and it soon became apparent that they would need to upgrade their keyboard to a good quality instrument that would last.
When Helen’s son began to progress with the piano, she first researched piano models online. The family set their sights on a Yamaha U3. Helen knew that this would be a financial strain and researched finance options for buying musical instruments. She found a specialist retailer who offered the Take it away scheme and was able to afford their dream piano. The shop even offered a buyback scheme, as many do.
For Louis and Emilie, learning the piano has extended to much wider musical interests. Emilie passed Grade 1 with merit and is now pursuing the guitar. Louis is at grade 7 and gained the confidence to take up the organ. Now an organ scholar, he is supported by the Dr Martin Clarke Young Organ Scholars’ Trust and has an interest in becoming a conductor.
“This instrument helped our son make progress and establish a good technique.”
Feb 22 2018
Billy Bowman Music is a general music store established for over 25 years.
We speak to Store Manager Janet Osborne about the importance of flexible payment options.
“Some people can’t afford the best so it’s very important that we can offer the Take it away scheme"
Billy Bowman Music Ltd has been established for more than 25 years. They are one of the most respected music businesses in Cumbria with friendly knowledgeable staff. Their long-established shop is the natural centre for music-making in the area and has one of the largest selections of musical instruments and accessories in the County.
As well as selling pianos, guitars, drums, etc, Billy Bowman Music offers more unusual and specialist musical equipment. These include folk instruments, African and Indian Drums, Bongos, Congos, Balalaika, Mandolas and more…
These instruments are available on a “try before you buy scheme” which alleviates some of the anxiety of buying. Music shop manager, Janet Osborne, recognises that buying a musical instrument can be a financial commitment and customers need flexibility. She says “being able to offer Take it away is brilliant. We also try to match the internet prices, which nowadays you have to”.
Their 5-star reviews make many references to the outstanding customer service and huge range of stock.
And it’s not just the customers that are loyal. Janet says “We’ve just had a member of staff leave after 25 years and the amazing thing is the guy he replaced all those years ago, has come back and replaced him – we can’t be too bad to work for!”
Feb 22 2018
As many of our retailers are considering integrating online sales into their websites, here we share some insights from David Bamford, Managing Director of Symphony Music & Technology Centre
Former musician, David Bamford and Michelle Mosley-Bamford, opened Symphony Music in Ashton-in Makerfield 11 years ago. It is now a thriving business based in Wigan. They have offered Take it away interest-free finance for years and recently integrated the loan software into their website.
The shop prides itself on it’s face to face customer advice and service but recognised that customers also need to buy online.
When you enter their shop you find three floors of instruments, including over 400 guitars. David believes that the experience of being in-store, holding and trying out an instrument to find the right one is really important. “It’s a far better way of making sure you’re getting something appropriate”.
Introduction of eCommerce software
They have recently invested in integrating the Omni Capital Retailer software with their website. He has found that it’s made a significant difference to their sales. He says, “We use Omni for all our finance, even for non-eligible customers; I like their system and their rates are good”. They now sell both new and second-hand musical instruments in store and online.
Symphony Music won a Take it away Retailer of the Year Award shortly after they had opened. The award meant national exposure for the business, and according to David “it put us on the map”.
Symphony Music has continued to win awards, in 2016 they won ‘Best Small Music Retailer’.
Customers are remembered and valued, returning customers represent the majority of sales. David advises customers to “treat the purchase as if they’re making an investment. It’s about investing in the pursuit of music.”
“Take it away was very influential, it helped get us on the map, especially in the first few years. We started around the same time; we’ve almost grown up together and certainly in the last year or two it’s become a big part of the business"
For more information about Symphony Music, please visit their website.
Feb 22 2018
As Bass Direct celebrate their 10th anniversary, we find out about the passion that is behind the business
Mark Stickley set up Bass Direct with the goal “to get the state of the art, best gear available today into our customers’ hands.” He was driven by his experience in music equipment distribution and knew there were many products unavailable in the UK.
For 10 years, Bass Direct has seen success specialising in bass guitars and associated items of equipment. Between 50-60% of the products they sell are exclusive to England or Europe. They import from businesses that don’t work through the usual distribution channels.
Mark is a great believer in the Take it away scheme, “I think it’s a marvellous idea, it helps get much higher end instruments into much younger people’s hands".
“We always think it is better to buy the best instrument you can afford. What we are trying to do is to get people to buy once and buy sensibly.”
All Take it away retailers use the Omni Capital Retail Finance loan processing software. This processes the loans for customers at the point of sale and can integrate with eCommerce platforms. When a retailer joins the scheme, they receive training on this software. Mark finds the Omni Finance system extremely user-friendly to both staff and customers. “We can email the details straight to the customer and they can apply online. It’s a godsend.”
For more information about Bass Direct, please visit their website.