I'd like to start this post with a disclaimer. If you don't agree, understand or approve of what I do and my methods, then my products and services aren't aimed at you. It's as simple as that and I make no apologies for it.
With my business growing in size and demand I thought it might be time I explained my thoughts and attitude for how my business works and where it sits in the commercial world. While my long term customers already know and understand, I am currently attracting lots of new customers through some of my current products who don't really understand or appreciate what it is I do and why I do it. This will hopefully give you an insight into who I am on a personal and business level. I could type for hours but it would probably just bore most of you.
I believe that making money is not the primary function of a business. Of course it has to make money to survive, but it's not the reason for a business to exist. This goes against most peoples understanding and beliefs but to me it's totally logical. A businesses primary function is to supply a product or service to a customer who needs or wants what that business can provide. Unfortunately in this current "me, me, now, now" greed driven world, this is no longer the case.
The world we live in now is all about mass consumption at the lowest possible price. This is not the world I want to pass onto future generations. While there are a lot of areas where I feel passionate about this, the field of music in all it's forms and the processes in how it is formed, produced, captured and eventually exhibited is closest to my heart.
This immoral and unethical form of production, distribution and marketing is not sustainable for either the planet, or humankind. Excessive manufacturing of cheaper and lower quality products can not and will not sustain us in the long run. If it can and does in the short term, satisfy you, that's great for you, and again you are not the customer I aim my products or services at.
I'd like to participate and survive in a business world where manufacturing and businesses aren't dictated to or forced to build and supply products to a price and/or an expectation of urgency and demand. Once upon a time, products were made a certain way because that's the only way they could be made. Then as production techniques improved and mass production took over, certain skills and talents were lost in favor of quicker and cheaper manufacturing or expectations of how long something "should" take. In the last 20 years, in the time I have been doing this, the world has changed dramatically and a whole generation of people now expect everything to be cheap and quick.
Well, that's not how I work, and to my detriment both financially and for my health I choose to do things the way I want to do them. By myself, by hand. This is becoming a lost art as we loose craftspeople and artists in all fields where that little piece of humanity actually counts. Whether its making fine furniture or shaping surfboards, restoring old cars or printing using wood carving, the world market now dictates that everything be available now and cheap, and I for one think that's a real shame.
Im not saying everything has to be produced this way, in fact the world would grind to a halt if it was. I'm not saying you have to agree with me or support businesses that do. That's the thing, if you don't agree with this you're actually in a much better position as a consumer as the majority of the world is geared to keep you happy. It's actually the people who do believe in this model who pay for it, both economically and patiently. It's a choice you make.
If you want to live in a world where things are done this way, thankfully there a small pockets of communities that still operate like this, but those are being swallowed up in the machine. As a musician and a business owner I can't believe there is any other way of doing it, but there is. The people I do work for understand and appreciate what I do and why I do it. Most of them probably believe their music is done the same way. Not for financial gain or recognition (although that would be nice) but because that's how it's done. Pure and simple.
Luckily for me and other businesses like mine, there are enough people who understand this. At any given time I book repair work 3-4 months in advance. People who want me to fix their stuff know that if they want my services, they have to wait. People who want me to custom design and make stuff for them know that they have to wait. People who want my service understand I'm busy because other people like them want my services. It's hard trying to convince people when they walk in off the street that I won't be able to LOOK at their repair for 10 weeks, and most people leave to find another repairer. Some however stop and consider that maybe because they have to wait 10 weeks is because sometimes things are worth waiting for. These are my customers.
In the past ten years I've watched businesses like mine close down due to competition from cheap, mass produced products from overseas. Skilled "old school" craftspeople much cleverer and more skilled than me who's chosen field just simply can't compete on the unfair consumer mass market. Once these people close down, chances are they, and their skills will never be available again, and I personally think that's a real shame.
I truly believe that there will always be a market, be it very small and insignificant in the market of most products and services out there, that want the services of other humans who do things based on a mutual love and admiration of what they're doing and not based on a price point, although to be totally honest most products and services I'm talking about are truly undervalued when taking all the real world issues into account. As long as I believe that and meet people who express it and feel the same (and I can stay in business) , I will offer my services and products to them.
While a lot of people won't understand or agree with my theories or methods, I don't argue these points with them. There really is no argument here. I believe in what I do. If you don't, so be it. The points I'm trying to make here aren't open for interpretation. They are how I choose to live my life and run my business.