“I am Adam North and whilst studing at BIMM I have setup my own small Business Adam North Guitar Repairs.”
How did you get into guitar repairs?
“A few years ago I inherited a Banjo and brought it back to life, it was a 1900’s Clifford Essex and required a lot of attention. I knew no-one I could fully trust with it and so undertook the work myself. I had never been happy with my guitars (set-up wise), so I began tinkering with them myself. This is how the business began. I started repairing guitars for my music teacher and pupils, and then when starting at BIMM I wanted to expand further.
With assistance from BIMM and the places where I work in Manchester, plus huge amounts of help from tutors and students, the business has grown. I have reinvested profits, meaning I have never been in debt to anyone. I feel this is a key element for a start-up business.
I recently received two major investments to help grow the business further and increase the quality of my work. I have spent most of this on tools and set aside parts for an endorsement/distribution deal with LOXX. An endorsement deal helps you build up contacts not just with the company, but with customers and potential collaborators. It was worth a risk. If the product hasn’t sold, another assosiate company can help build customer trust in your own business.”
Has it been hard for you to start a business?
“Everyone has to start somewhere, and one of the hardest parts of starting a business is gaining people’s trust. Being 19, I don’t have years of experience, so people need to see evidence as to why they should trust my workmanship. Word of mouth can be a great tool for this. And lots of people have commented on my enthusiasm and attention to detail with my work. This, in turn, has to lead to more success with the business.”
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a similar business venture?
“My first piece of advice is set yourself small goals. Originally, I just wanted to have the ability to work on all my own guitars, then I found a small gap in the repair market I could exploit, and built from there.
Take calculated risks – I wouldn’t spend £2000 on tools then just hope to get customers. I have spent bit-by-bit. When doing a repair part of my fee covers costs, then part of it goes towards new tools.
An American company offered me a similar deal to LOXX but another company in the UK could beat me in all areas of sale. I would have to have spent around £400 of my own money, with no guaranteed customer base. I learned then that even though having an endorsement deal sounds attractive, sometimes it really isn’t worth it.”
My main piece of advice is respect your competition. I am obviously not the only guitar tech in the UK/Northwest. So, if you can’t do a job for whatever reason, be honest! For example, in the early days, if a customer asked me to do some fret-work, I would offer customers alternative options with other luthiers. Now I’m more experienced, I’m able to complete fret-work to a professional standard, allowing me to build up this area of my business. It would be detrimental to my reputation to take on work as “practise”, only to receive bad reviews which would ultimately damage the business.”
What’s the best thing about studying at BIMM?
“The best thing about BIMM is the contacts you can make. Other students have been my best customers rather than members of the public. Tutors have also entrusted me and have had brilliant constructive advice. BIMM has also helped fund my business and because they’re happy with the work I have done, they’ve hired me for BIMM events. BIMM also offers more than just playing opportunities. All areas of the music industry are open!”
If you’re in need of some repair work for your guitar, then you can contact Adam through his Facebook page here.