• Accessibility guide: Making your shop more accessible

    We’ve developed an accessibility guide for Take it away retailers which is designed to give you the confidence to make your shop, website, and promotional activity accessible and inclusive for all.  In this extract, we explore what it takes to make a retail premises more accessible for your customers.

    When assessing music retailers for Take it away membership, we always check the extent to which their shop is clean, tidy and well-lit, and how well equipped they are to accommodate visitors with access requirements. There are a few ways that you can make a customer’s visit to your shop a comfortable and enjoyable experience:

     

    • Ensure areas open to the public are always free from trip hazards
    • Keep heavy doors propped open
    • Keep your shop space step-free with the aid of hired ramps or lifts
    • Allow plenty of space to enable wheelchair users to manoeuvre freely in the shop
    • Use signage to provide clear directions and aid navigation throughout the shop
    • Ensure the shop is well-lit to aid visitors with visual impairments
    • Ensure contact payment machines can be removed from their cases
    • Provide seating to enable people to rest when visiting your shop
    • Provide accessible toilets with a hoist and red alarm cord
    • Provide water bowls for service animals

    The statistics below show why it is worth integrating accessibility into your business activity. It can help you to attract new customers, secure customer loyalty, and ensure you are reaching the widest possible audience.

    22%

    Percentage of the UK population who identify as disabled (13.9 million people)

    95%

    Percentage of disabled people who search a venue’s accessibility info online before visiting

    1

    Money lost every month by inaccessible high street shops

    Read more extracts from the Accessibility Guide

    Your Accessibility Statement

    The key information you should include about accessibility on your website. This can be in the form of a short statement outlining if your shop is accessible for people with limited mobility and highlighting any barriers customers may face when visiting. Read more

    Accessible Marketing Communications

    How you market and communicate your shop can help improve its overall accessibility. From getting involved in campaigns like Purple Tuesday or producing information in alternative formats, there are many ways you can help create a more inclusive shopping experience for all your customers.  Read more

    Making Events More Accessible

    Workshops and events, such as involvement in Learn to Play Day, are a great way of attracting new potential customers. Make sure you are attracting as wide an audience as possible. Read more

    Download the Accessibility Guide

    Accessibility guide front page
    Accessibility guide (pdf download)
  • Accessibility guide: Making events more accessible

    We’ve developed an accessibility guide for Take it away retailers which is designed to give you the confidence to make your shop, website, and promotional activity accessible and inclusive for all.  In this extract, we explore the accessibility requirements you need to consider when putting on events in your shop.

    Workshops and events, such as involvement in Learn to Play Day, are a great way of attracting new audiences and diversifying your customer base. To ensure you are attracting as wide an audience as possible, you may wish to consider the following points:

     

    • Provide plenty of chairs for those who would like to sit and rest during the event or workshop. It is always better to use regular height tables and chairs instead of poseur tables
    • If you are holding an event with a seated audience, leave plenty of space or a designated area for wheelchair users
    • If you are holding a ticketed event, make it clear that disabled guests do not need to pay to bring a support worker or access assistant
    • If there will be flash photography or flashing lights at an event, let your audience know
    • On invites, it is a good idea to highlight accessibility and provide a telephone number and email address if someone has access requirements. You can include the phrase ‘if you would like to discuss any access requirements before your visit, please get in touch’.

    The statistics below show why it is worth integrating accessibility into your business activity. It can help you to attract new customers, secure customer loyalty, and ensure you are reaching the widest possible audience.

    22%

    Percentage of the UK population who identify as disabled (13.9 million people)

    95%

    Percentage of disabled people who search a venue’s accessibility info online before visiting

    1

    Money lost every month by inaccessible high street shops

    Read more extracts from the Accessibility Guide

    Do You Have An Accessibility Statement?

    The key information you should include about accessibility on your website. This can be in the form of a short statement outlining if your shop is accessible for people with limited mobility and highlighting any barriers customers may face when visiting. Read more

    Making Your Shop More Accessible

    There are a few ways that you can make a disabled customer’s visit to your shop a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.  Read more

    Accessible Marketing and Communications

    How you market and communicate your shop can help improve its overall accessibility. From getting involved in campaigns like Purple Tuesday or producing information in alternative formats, there are many ways you can help create a more inclusive shopping experience for all your customers. Read more

    Download the Accessibility Guide

    Accessibility guide front page
    Accessibility guide (pdf download)
  • 60 Seconds with… Howarth of London

    Howarth of London are internationally known wind instrument specialists. The Howarth name can be traced back to wind instrument making in the 1870s! We spoke to Ben Couldwell, General Manager, who told us a bit more about Howarth’s rich history and what’s on now.

    How would you describe your shop in three words?

    Welcoming. Knowledgeable. Choice.

    How did the business get started?

    Howarth began as an oboe manufacturer in central London in 1948, the shop moving around the corner to our current address in 1968 and the factory moving out into Sussex. One of the founders, Tom Howarth gave his name to the company, but he was bought out early on by a group of entrepreneurial young men, including Nigel Clark who retired as our managing director last year.

    Howarth are most famous for our oboes and we are the last major woodwind manufacturer with a UK based factory.

    What does your shop specialise in?

    Howarth are most famous for our oboes and we are the last major woodwind manufacturer with a UK based factory. We also keep most of the other major oboe manufacturer’s instruments in stock. The shop is also home to one of the largest ranges of bassoons, clarinets and saxophones in Europe. All of our staff are knowledgeable players with degrees from a range of institutions and a variety of back grounds and experience.

    We offer masterclasses and workshops with visiting artists in store from time to time and of course have an extensive range of sheet music and accessories, including specialist reed making equipment,

    What additional services do you offer?

    • We have on site workshops offering anything from minor adjustments to full overhauls and bespoke keywork.
    • Our instrument rental scheme offers many beginners their first affordable access to woodwind instruments, particularly with double reeds.
    • Our own range of junior instruments is aimed at starting younger children on their journeys earlier than conventional instruments allow.
    • We also offer masterclasses and workshops with visiting artists in store from time to time and of course have an extensive range of sheet music and accessories, including specialist reed making equipment,

    What’s your favourite item for sale in the shop right now?

    It changes every week, but at the moment it’s probably the antique finish Puchner sat in our display cabinet, it plays exquisitely but also looks amazing as well. I’ll be very jealous of whoever decides to buy it!

    Name a favourite piece of music (From any genre you like, absolutely no judgement!)

    I can’t remember the last time I got to pick what I want to listen to rather than just listening to the radio, or everyone else’s choice but probably something from the 80’s. It’s running joke working in an oboe shop that my least favourite piece is definitely Gabriel’s oboe!

    Do you get involved in your local community? If so, how?

    Marylebone has a very close-knit village feel and colleagues recently participated in the Marylebone festival offering instrument taster sessions in a marquee on a Sunday afternoon. We often sponsor events and encourage music at the local schools. Being in central London we are very near to the conservatoires and regularly sponsor events with them as well. With Howarth having such an international clientele our sense of community quite wide, having friends all over the globe!

    Visit Howarths at:

    www.howarthlondon.com
    Howarth of London
    31 Chiltern Street
    London
    W1U 7PN

    Or follow on:

    Exterior of Howarth of London shop
    Photography by Olivia Wild

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic