Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

I will open an Irish traditional music store in Kyoto this November.
Now I am only selling flutes and whistles online, but when I opened the store, I am wishing to sell some other instruments such as the harp, hammered dulcimer, bouzouki, tenor banjo, concertina, bodhran, and so on.

Would you recommend some instruments that the price is acceptable, waiting time is not so long, and has a good quality?

In order to see music stores and makers, I will go to Europe for 2+ months from June to September.
I’ll visit France, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Belgium, UK, and Sweden.
Do you recommend any good music stores and makers in those countries?
I know Hobgoblin, Custy’s, Walton, Knotted chode(does it still exist?)
How about Folkfriends and Coda music?

The space is not quite big but I also want to sell CDs. music books.

If you have a chance to visit Kyoto, please come to my store. Its lower floor is an Irish pub which has regular sessions and upper floor is a B&B. Wow, Irish musicians’ heaven!!

My online music store : https://celtnofue.com/

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Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

When you’re in Ireland try to visit Clareen Banjos Tom Cussen’s shop in Clarinbridge, Co. Galway. Also check out Moloney Music in Galway City.

Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

You are brave Hatao.

I have run 2 music stores over the years - one general music store in the 80’s and one traveling whistle-shop in the 00’s to 10’s .

Music shops are difficult - they are intensely service-orriented.
You do best developing a regular loyal clientele and adapt to their needs.

With brands and order lead-times, folk instruments are also difficult.
Most of the best instruments are hand made to order - not produced to stock.
People who do this work cannot afford to make instruments with a 50% margin for the retailer - if they did so, they would soon starve.
So you have to find those who can get a level of “scaling” in their production so that minimum quality standards can be met at a price that people are willing to pay, and can be made to stock in enough quantity for the market.
Brands that come to mind are Susato and Chieftain - these are both good quality products which can be manufactured to a modest commercial scale without quality problems.

For the retailer, I would recommend that some pinnacle brands be gotten second hand and sold at cost as a service to your clientele. In large-scale retail, this is called a “loss-leader”.
The other arm of successful retail is to go heavy on maintenance supply - the strings, reeds, picks etc - these serve as your bottom line - the “bread and butter” - so have a good range to support your service.

After all that: good luck - you provide an essential service to musicians.
And don’t get too upset when your service is not recognized - stay focused on the clients.
It helps to think of them as friends.

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Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

While I can’t speak much for the business end of things, I only recommend not letting your store be overcome with secondhand, vintage, and cheapo instruments. The Folk Music Center in Claremont, CA is like this, and while the owners are lovely people, their store smells and feels like a music-themed garage and it keeps me away.

Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

When in UK it’s worth going up to Scotland to check out Celtic Chords in Stonehaven. You’d be hard pushed to find any space as small on the planet with as many folk/trad instruments (many of superb quality) as Pete Murray manages to cram into his shop.

Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

A Music shop is a lovely idea, however I would think about it from a different perspective, so who are the people most likely to come into your shop (based on a shop which is tagged Irish, Music, Culture etc..) and once you have them in the shop what are you most probably going to sell them ? Do Japanese kids play Irish music ? (Kids are talented for extracting money from Parents)

you mention harp, hammered dulcimer, they wouldn’t be first on my list, they are great for taking up space and making sure the cash doesn’t flow, however in Japan perhaps they will sell well, if they are close to Japanese sounds

Check the instruments that are played downstairs, and think of tutorial packs, instrument, book, CD, + two online Skype lessons with a top Irish player when they are ready, you would need to work on how the skype might work. etc… (put your own total package price on it) learn the concertina in 90 days package (People like to dream)

Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

I’ve no specific shops to recommend but suggest (to help you make contacts) that when you contact Custys try to speak to Pat O’Connor who plays mostly with Eoghan O’Sullivan. Both have Japanese wives.

In fact looking at their Facebook page I thing they are playing in Japan in June.

https://www.facebook.com/patoconnorandeoghanosullivan

Seems they are playing in Kyoto on June 17th

It may also be worth contacting Junji Shirota who is also in Ireland a lot

https://www.facebook.com/junjishirota

Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

As others point out, the needs of your local customers will likely be slightly different to elsewhere, so you might want to think carefully about what that means for you and what you stock.

I don’t know how it is in Japan, but over here (UK) CDs as a retail trade are nearly dead. Coda Music in Edinburgh, for example, is surviving only by flogging vinyl to hipsters.

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Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

Do you have a business plan? Have you researched your customer base? Do you have projected Profit and Loss statements for the at least the first year? In other words, have you done all the boring stuff that needs to be done before a business is opened?

Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

Keep in mind that you’ll be able to source some instruments locally. Aoyama make excellent Irish harps. Máire Ní Chathasaigh, for example, used to play one.

Best wishes with the undertaking.

Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

Re: Zachary’s comment regarding second hand, vintage and cheap instruments:

While I heartily agree that going into a shop with a bunch of used cheaply made/crap sounding instruments is off putting, I do think there is a place for good quality second hand instruments as they allow a player to move up the food chain without breaking the bank too much. When you move into the “vintage” category though you also move into territory where the instrument may need some work done to make it playable, and that turns out best for a shop if they have the capabilities to do those repairs themselves obviously.

Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

Good luck hatao in your business endevours.

Please ignore the bad mannered posters who ignore your questions and I offer irrelevent advice.
There are plenty of experts who know everything and do nothing.

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Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

And I think Allan you have just fallen into the irrelevant category with all those bad mannered posters.

Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

Thank you for all of your comments, I am reading them through.

>triplet upstairs
Clareen Banjos Tom Cussen’s shop in Clarinbridge, Co. Galway.
Moloney Music in Galway City.
Thank you, I will go to see them.

> Achim Hofmann
Stevens Custom Guitars in Munich
I am not sure yet I can go to Munich but look their web site.

>Zachary H
Secondhand-instruments are ok, I will start from buying second hand string instruments in Japan.

> DonaldK
I will go to Stonehaven. Sounds like an exciting place.

>Theirlandais
Yes, string instruments surely take a lot of space, so I can’t store a lot.
Maybe I will store them in a storage and just show one of each in a shop as a sample….
Harp and dulcimer are becoming popular here in Japan, so tutorials in Japanese language would boost sales.

I will reply rest of the comments later.

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Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

Interesting that hammered dulcimer is becoming popular in Japan. Harp is understandable given the popularity of classical tradition. I’d like to hear more about it all.

I would have thought that instruments such as fiddle, box and perhaps mandolin would be among first choices.

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Re: Opening a tradtional music store. Any recommendations for instruments?

> henchard
I know them for many years but not sure they can advice me anything about instrument choices.
But I will check their schedule anyway and go to see their gigs sometime.

>Calum
Regarding CDs, I am thinking to stock Japanese Celtic music CDs as well as music from overseas. Nowadays a lot of musicians are making CDs here in Japan and its quality is quite good but they are almost unknown for other countries. I will make web pages in English to introduce them.

>Mike Troxell
I am not good at mathematics but I have experience of running online music shop successfully for 5 years and I already have thousands of customers all over this country. The rent of the real store will be cheap and I only open 3 days of the week so labor cost should be not expensive. I will start from small business and look carefully how it goes.

> fionán
I know Aoyama harp, but I am not quite sure that suits traditional music well. My fellow harper doesn’t like it for example. But I will think about it.

>triplet upstairs
I will try to buy second-hand instruments as many as I can. It’s reasonable choice for starting the business.

> allan21
Thank you!

>Theirlandais
Actually Irish or European folk music is not “very” popular kind of music in Japan, but there are hundreds of people who love to play this music, however there is not any special music shop for that category. I have sold whistles and flutes for 5 years online and the sales is glowing. So I am convinced there is a demand for the music shop. Also, ocarinas, erhu, ukulele are quite popular among middle aged poeple. But I am not interested in them at all!!

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