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the_dude
01-13-2012, 02:36 AM
Does anyone have any experience starting a ukulele or music-based business? Either online or brick-and-mortar is fine.

If so, or if you are close to someone who has, please share stories, details, etc. about the type of business, and the challenges, rewards, and start up problems that were faced. Has the business been successful? Are you able to make a decent or comfortable living from the business alone?

I am looking to hear mostly from retail types of operations, though I am open to learning about any other related experiences.

I have been underemployed for just over 2 years now, and the idea of taking the plunge as a small business owner is tempting, though scary...

Thanks!

ksiegel
01-13-2012, 06:26 AM
I have been underemployed for just over 2 years now, and the idea of taking the plunge as a small business owner is tempting, though scary...

Thanks!

Just remember: If you plan on starting a business, you have to be able to plan on taking a loss for the first couple of years. Yes, a profit is better, but when you figure in the overhead, if you can't afford to lose money for up to three years, then you shouldn't be thinking about starting your own business as your sole source of income.



-Kurt

PedalFreak
01-13-2012, 08:00 AM
Toughest thing in the MI industry is the competition is crazy! Also, being a new store you have no credit in the industry, which leaves you to have to pay cash for all of your inventory. Then all the "big name" companies aren't going to want to deal with a new store, so you're left with no name brands, so to speak.

No matter what anyone tells you, the profit margins are not that great at all. Sure some companies have a good margin when you look at their cost and MAP pricing, but with the internet and competition I couldn't tell you the last time something actually sold at MAP.

Most companies want you to have a brick and mortar store, online only is tough to get into.

You also have to look into service. A music store without a good service department isn't a very good store.

Then if you are going to ship something you have to deal with that, and the majority of people not wanting to pay shipping costs anymore.

I remember when I started in this industry, my boss told me "There isn't a lot of money to be made in this industry, but it's a lot of fun." :)

If you're looking to "get rich" its probably the wrong industry. If you want to fight and stick it out, you can live comfortably, but like Kurt said it's going to take a few years to get to that point. Also, if you really want to get into it, you need to do something that makes your store different in some way. Also, rental programs are a good thing to bring money in, but again your service dept needs to be good b/c there will probably be some issues when you get them back.

Sorry to sound negative, just wanted to give you all the details. It's a fun industry, but a tough one.

pulelehua
01-13-2012, 08:34 AM
I sell my ukulele compositions. I took a while wondering if I was in the "ukulele business" and decided sort of. I started last summer. I only have one book of music. It's done as a PDF (you can also buy mp3s). I absolutely do NOT make a living! But I don't need to, and probably wouldn't want to.

It took 29 to buy the website space/registration/etc. for a year. I scripted the site myself. So that was free. I use Paypal, and my 3 products are all microsales, so I keep about 90-95% of the sales. That is good. So, all told, after about 4 sales, I broke even.

When I started, there was a small flurry of sales. Probably due to the fact that I needed to start a thread to find out how to do all of this. And, not surprisingly, people were incredibly generous with their time and ideas. Then a slow trickle. Then, a delightful German man posted a video to Youtube, playing an etude (with lots of information in the titles about how to order the etudes). Second flurry, much of it from Germany (one of the fun things about an online business is that you make sales worldwide).

Since then, OneBadMonkey has posted another video of an etude performance. That seemed to lead to a couple sales.

Beyond that, not much. I'm expecting it to continue at this slow rate until the next book of music, which I'm hoping to have ready for summer (though my current rate of progress is really very slow). Then, I'm assuming there will be some cross-fertilisation with new people getting the first book, and former customers getting the second book.

But I'm no businessman. I try to get things to people as quickly as possible, and to be professional, but I have no grand marketing plan, no business plan. I'm a guy selling his music.

I suspect that if you could start without NEEDING to make a profit, that would give you some freedom to learn the ropes. I suppose it depends on the nature of the business, the size of the initial investment, overhead, and other terms whose meaning I don't actually understand. ;)

Good luck!

ukecantdothat
01-13-2012, 11:39 AM
Yeah, good luck in this this economy! The uke is a niche market, though, getting bigger all the time, so demand is growing. I live in L.A., and there aren't too many places you can go and sample a variety of ukes, and string/accessory selection is the pits. You'd think someone would start a decent uke-only shop somewhere in this big town. Maybe it's been tried, but the sound of crickets was drowning out the Mya-Moe's! On-line shopping if fine when you know what you want, but there's nothing like hands-on test drives.

PedalFreak
01-13-2012, 01:05 PM
On-line shopping if fine when you know what you want, but there's nothing like hands-on test drives.

Not saying this is what you are saying here...But, this is another problem with owning a music shop is people believe they can get a better deal online, so they will use your shop as a testing ground and then buy online. You will even have people tell you that is what they are doing, blew me away the first time someone told me that. Online shopping is not fine when dealing with instruments. Unless you don't really care what your instrument is going to sound like. Test drive an instrument somewhere and then expecting the one you buy online to sound the same is pretty nuts.

ukecantdothat
01-13-2012, 01:57 PM
Not saying this is what you are saying here...But, this is another problem with owning a music shop is people believe they can get a better deal online, so they will use your shop as a testing ground and then buy online. You will even have people tell you that is what they are doing, blew me away the first time someone told me that. Online shopping is not fine when dealing with instruments. Unless you don't really care what your instrument is going to sound like. Test drive an instrument somewhere and then expecting the one you buy online to sound the same is pretty nuts.
No, that's not what I'm saying at all. I can't believe someone would actually tell a retailer that's what they're up to! I just meant there's nothing like playing the actual instrument you're buying, especially when buying mass-produced instruments. You can go in and play a floor model of something thinking it's pretty good, then go get one on-line only to find it completely different, buzzing notes, poor intonation and set up, etc. Those doing that deserve what they get.

itsme
01-13-2012, 02:54 PM
In today's economy, opening a new B&M store is a very risky business. As mentioned, you can probably expect to lose money for a couple years. I heard a statistic once that said 90% of all new small businesses fold without making it a whole year.

Even established B&Ms are going under. Retailers like Sears/KMart are closing stores.

Unless you have a lot of capital to invest and enough money to live on for a few years when your store isn't turning a profit, it's probably not a wise move.

I don't mean to sound negative, either, but your odds of succeeding in such a venture are pretty slim.

Maxjunk
01-13-2012, 04:46 PM
If you're thinking about opening a brick-and-mortar and you aren't literally a millionaire already, just stop now. :p

Plainsong
01-13-2012, 04:51 PM
This is an interesting read from the customer perspective. On the one hand, the risks outweigh the rewards of opening a B&M music store, especially one specializing in a niche like ukes. On the other hand, you have the customer, who wants to buy from a B&M store so to get that proper audition time and setup and service... but they're nowhere to be found because it's too risky to open one.

Buying online isn't just for those who don't care about how their instruments sound. It's also for those who have no choice in the matter. At least there are some online retailers who understand the online barrier and try to provide that corner store service.

The potential store owner can't open the store, and the potential customer can't buy because the store doesn't exist. And when a store does open, they just have the same crap for the same prices that everyone else does.

The problem, well, one of the problems, reduced to its lowest terms, is that in this environment, no one wants to take a risk. Understandable of course. So if a new business plan goes ahead, it'll be just like every other moderately successful plan, a store selling the same crap as everyone else, kind of removing competitive advantage from the equation. The one who takes a risk and is innovative will be the one to succeed before all others. BUT, that doesn't mean that yours is the shop to win that risk.

itsme
01-13-2012, 05:09 PM
Buying online isn't just for those who don't care about how their instruments sound. It's also for those who have no choice in the matter. At least there are some online retailers who understand the online barrier and try to provide that corner store service.
Totally agree with you. Even in Los Angeles, choices are pretty limited. I hear McCabe's in Santa Monica is decent for ukes these days (haven't been there in years and wasn't looking at ukes when I was), but it'll cost me 2 gallons in gas (close to $10 these days) just to go there and back, and the drive certainly isn't worth it just to buy a set of strings at a higher price /lesser selection than I could find online, plus tax.

Ukulele JJ
01-13-2012, 05:27 PM
My advice, for what it's worth, since you asked:

Do not go into debt to start a business. Just don't. Start small, with what you can afford, and plow the profits back in.

Check to see if there's a local chapter of SCORE in your area.

Realize that owning and running a business if often a completely different skill set from the thing that you're starting the business for. It's not enough to have a passion for ukes, or be good at playing ukes. You have to be good at the business stuff. I think that one thing trips up more entrepreneurs than anything else.

Read some books. A lot of books. Every book your library has on the subject of starting and running a business, and on marketing, and on selling, and on managing. Then hop on Amazon and buy some more to read.

Good luck!

JJ

MGM
01-13-2012, 07:39 PM
I disagree...buying online has opened a whole new field...almost all the vintage ukes I have we're bought online....buying online takes time to learn who are trusted sellers who do and describe accuratekly what they sell...have a record of performance and most important being able to ask the right questions. True buying from guitar center, Sam ash amazon and eBay can be a hit or miss....know who you are dealing with....many ...I must say countless ukulele sellers have said they now do setups...but how many have only setup over 40,000 ukes in a real setup including fret dressings etc. very doubtful....how many have in depth knowledge of ukulele...guitar center? Amazon? Don't kid yourself....how many know that most Chinese made ukes have a factory standard of 3.3 mm at 12 th fret acceptable for first quality sale..what the acceptable standards of blem are allowed on blems for it to still pass as a first...find a reputable, knowledgeable dealer and online sales...especially of ukes most never even get to lay hands on can be safe...always know the return policy...and lastly have fun playing. real Hawaiian made ukes are about 5 per cent of the total amount of ukuleles sold each month....kelii, koolau, kamaka koaloha and kanilea produce about 2000 ukes a month. All the rest are inports...sometimes to get a good uke you need to go online....lol. Of course...you could always start a great festival and I will bring them all to you.

ukecantdothat
01-13-2012, 08:48 PM
Thanks to people like MGM, Mainland Mike, and others who have been well vetted here, online purchases are far less risky. Reputation is a huge part in any business. Thank God for UU!!! I didn't mean to disparage online shopping. It truly is the only way for most people. I had no trepidations ordering from Mainland ukes, based on their reputation here, and I wasn't disappointed. I was just speaking in the general sense that in the perfect world, wouldn't it be nice if there was a B&M full-service uke store, like a Guitar Center, serving the exploding uke market. I bought my first uke at McCabe's about six years ago, before I discovered UU, and it was a great way to get to know, first hand, which uke felt right to me. As earlier stated their selection has grown considerably the last few years. It's nearby, so I stop in a lot to see what the fuss is about with this uke or that, when they get on in.

A good friend of mine makes and sells steel drums. I got him hook on the uke, and now he wants to expand his shop to include ukes! "Well, Dave... If you're gonna do that, I've got a forum site you'd be interested in to research what ukulele fanatics are looking for..."

PedalFreak
01-14-2012, 10:11 AM
Buying online isn't just for those who don't care about how their instruments sound. It's also for those who have no choice in the matter. At least there are some online retailers who understand the online barrier and try to provide that corner store service.


I disagree...buying online has opened a whole new field...almost all the vintage ukes I have we're bought online....buying online takes time to learn who are trusted sellers who do and describe accuratekly what they sell...have a record of performance and most important being able to ask the right questions. True buying from guitar center, Sam ash amazon and eBay can be a hit or miss....know who you are dealing with....many ...I must say countless ukulele sellers have said they now do setups...but how many have only setup over 40,000 ukes in a real setup including fret dressings etc. very doubtful....how many have in depth knowledge of ukulele...guitar center? Amazon? Don't kid yourself....how many know that most Chinese made ukes have a factory standard of 3.3 mm at 12 th fret acceptable for first quality sale..what the acceptable standards of blem are allowed on blems for it to still pass as a first...find a reputable, knowledgeable dealer and online sales...especially of ukes most never even get to lay hands on can be safe...always know the return policy...and lastly have fun playing. real Hawaiian made ukes are about 5 per cent of the total amount of ukuleles sold each month....kelii, koolau, kamaka koaloha and kanilea produce about 2000 ukes a month. All the rest are inports...sometimes to get a good uke you need to go online....lol. Of course...you could always start a great festival and I will bring them all to you.

I agree with both of these. However, there are not a lot of places like this unfortunatly. Sweetwater I think is the best online dealer. Then there are smaller shops like Mikes (MGM) and Hawaii Music Supply (been happy with their work and help over the phone), and there are others. But it's a handful out of the hundreds.

Plainsong
01-14-2012, 01:46 PM
Southern Ukulele Store, Musique83 (can't say enough good about them), Mercantinodellukulele.it, all provide excellent service. Ok, so they're in Europe, but we have great uke stores here too. Ukulele.de even has Kamakas. An alternative to Sweetwater in the EU would be Thomann.

Lori
01-14-2012, 01:57 PM
There are different ways to incorporate music and ukes into money making businesses. Don't expect it to be a main source of income, and don't go into debt if you can help it. In my case, I got an idea for a new product, and went through all the steps to test it, manufacture it, market it, and sell it. I had a lot of extra expenses for patents and trademarks, and I hired some experts to help me with that. So far, the Uke Leash has kept up with all those expenses, and earned me a little cash. Each year the sales increase, so doing internet marketing and the occasional Uke Fest has been working well for me. If I had a house with an extra room for this activity, I would be in excellent shape. It is very challenging in a small one bedroom apartment, but it has been fun. I get to meet and talk with ukulele players, and they tend to be very nice and friendly. I built on my previous knowledge about graphic design and industrial design, and had to learn about marketing, manufacturing and sales. It is all more fun because ukes are involved. Occasionally I offer a ukulele workshop, and that helps spread the interest in the uke, and I usually sell a few straps along the way.

The internet has opened the door for many home mini-businesses like mine. It is easy to set up a web store if you get a website provider and use one of their templates. Just remember that it takes a good deal of time to prepare packages for shipping, and if you have to pay someone to help you, you better make sure you are making enough on each sale to cover that cost.

Good Luck
–Lori

ukebuilder
01-14-2012, 02:22 PM
I have to agree with most of posts, I have ran a small business out of my house for some time, but its been for extra income. Most of the time it just supports itself. Its a way to keep buying and moving and still being married. I have made just about anything out of wood and also custom fishing rods and even a fishing lure I invented. It is still being made today by a friend but I dont make nothing off it. It is not enough money to even support my coffee addiction. I made the most money from making longbows and it got there by allowing people to try them out first. I also have made many cigar box everything and they sell faster than I can make them. I guess what I am saying is I would never give up my day job because it pays the bills. My hobby pays for itself. I would love to do it more and try to make a living off it but I am the sole supporter in my family and we also need insurance due to my son having autism. Lots to think about before you take the plunge. If I was single I might rethink it. LOL

itsme
01-14-2012, 02:34 PM
I would love to do it more and try to make a living off it but I am the sole supporter in my family and we also need insurance due to my son having autism.
Yes, paying for health insurance 100% on your own with no employer subsidy is ridiculously expensive. You also get no paid vacation/sick days, no 401K, and when your business folds, you can't collect unemployment.

the_dude
03-02-2012, 09:11 AM
Hoping to revive this thread as I've been thinking about the business a bit more lately.

Thanks for all the input. There certainly is a lot to think about.

Here's my thinking at this point: I would definitely have a web presence. That aspect of retail simply cannot be ignored, and honestly it would probably my biggest source of sales at first. I would make full use of multimedia and audio. I am experienced with website management, photography, video, and audio so could keep good, reliable, up-to-date info on a website.

As for a brick-and-mortar presence, I like the idea of having the business in my home (at least to start), and offering "appointments" for customers to come and sit in a quiet environment to thoroughly test ukes in a similar setting to the one in which they would be used. Is that weird? Would you go to someone's home to do something like this? This allows for private testing. I went to a music store recently and it was SO LOUD, and the acoustics were so different than in my home. There was a guy going nuts on a banjo, another guy strumming an acoustic guitar, plus 3 different conversations happening. And honestly, my playing is not top-notch, so I get embarrassed playing in front of other people sometimes. I was definitely not able to get a proper test drive.

Speaking of that music store, it's VERY reputable. They specialize in fretted instruments, and have great ukes: Collings, LoPrinzi, Kamaka, Ko'olau, Scott Wise, High River, etc. They do not specialize in ukes per se, but they certainly have good stuff. Am I CRAZY to open up within a stone's throw of this place??

To answer some of the concerns posted previously: I'm currently "underemployed," working only 2 days per week for 8 months of the year (I was laid off from the video game industry waaaaayyy back in December 2009). My wife is our primary breadwinner. She makes enough for us to live comfortably/modestly, and we have good health insurance through her employer. We have enough cash saved up that I could probably get a home-based and/or internet business up and running without going into debt, but making a modest dent in our cash reserves. Also, she seems willing to risk some of our savings on me and this idea. I think she just wants me to figure out something to do with my life!

Any further thoughts?

Would you, after seeing a nice website and talking to a nice person on the telephone, go to a home-based business to spend quality time looking at ukuleles? (and maybe guitars) When I was in art school me and many other students and general enthusiasts used to buy second-hand cameras from a nice, local middle-aged couple. They worked out of their house and at trade shows, and we always felt comfortable with them. They didn't even have a website, just word of mouth.

mm stan
03-02-2012, 09:35 AM
I don't know if I would make my hobby into a business...although some UU members have done that and succeeded very well..yes an online store and operating from home has it's benefits...low overhead...for sure...

chris667
03-02-2012, 10:19 AM
Would you, after seeing a nice website and talking to a nice person on the telephone, go to a home-based business to spend quality time looking at ukuleles? (and maybe guitars) When I was in art school me and many other students and general enthusiasts used to buy second-hand cameras from a nice, local middle-aged couple. They worked out of their house and at trade shows, and we always felt comfortable with them. They didn't even have a website, just word of mouth.

I worked for the family business for several years writing legal documents. Part of our service involved customers coming to my dad's to sign the things we'd done for them.

This worked quite well for us; we explained what we'd written, then signed everything, and then the customers were on their way home. They liked it, and it was convenient for us (and made the business viable for the first couple of years).

I think it might be harder with ukes though. I can see two problems.

1. You need to get customers who actually have money which they will spend with you. I would love to go and play around with the shiny ukes in my local shop, but I dont think it's fair as I have no intention of buying one. Lots of people would think nothing of wasting a day (or more) of your time, then buy the uke they liked from Ebay. We got around this because our clients had already paid us by the time they got there.

2. A similarity between the business you seem to be interested in starting and ours is it's not really online. With that in mind, you should know that in the first ten years our website got us maybe twenty clients a year, and advertising at best only ever paid for itself. I found all our clients by standing in big retail centres handing out leaflets and talking to people, then referrals from satisfied customers. It is a nice feeling to do a great job to the point where you're recommended, but the other way of getting leads is a pretty unpleasant job.

UKEonomics
03-02-2012, 11:55 AM
very interesting discussion here.

I would encourage everyone to stop with brick and mortar. Online commerce continues to grow every year....but like everyone has been saying, getting plugged in as a retailer has to be hard. Never tried that angle before, but I would imagine it to be a huge headache.

Maybe consider sticking with the music route, but creating/designing/marketing your own product? Heck, you can get really creative online and sometimes avoid the whole "spend money to make money" philosophy.
For instance, my buddy has an online car shirt company - he doesn't put a dime into anything. He does pre-sales of his shirts, so he only has to pay for the shirts if they meet the set goal....and at the point he's already made a profit.

No matter what you decide to do...make sure you do everything you can to test the waters before you take the leap of faith.

hoosierhiver
03-02-2012, 01:47 PM
Establishing yourself in the ukulele/music community is very important to instill confidence in potential buyers. Your profile doesn't say where you live, but starting a local uke club or throwing a annual festival might help "get you on the map"

UkuleleAdventure
03-02-2012, 02:03 PM
Good Luck! :)

hoosierhiver
03-02-2012, 02:47 PM
I don't know if I would make my hobby into a business...although some UU members have done that and succeeded very well..yes an online store and operating from home has it's benefits...low overhead...for sure...

There are definitely some draw backs. I generally don't play as much as I used to, after setting up ukes all day and talking ukes all day you sometimes don't have that hankering to play when you get home.

itsme
03-02-2012, 03:19 PM
Speaking of that music store, it's VERY reputable. They specialize in fretted instruments, and have great ukes: Collings, LoPrinzi, Kamaka, Ko'olau, Scott Wise, High River, etc. They do not specialize in ukes per se, but they certainly have good stuff. Am I CRAZY to open up within a stone's throw of this place??
Yes, you are. Would you be able to stock an inventory like they have and offer better prices?


Would you, after seeing a nice website and talking to a nice person on the telephone, go to a home-based business to spend quality time looking at ukuleles?
Probably not. If they are local, they'd probably go to that nice music store you mentioned.

Like chris667 said, you're likely to get looky-loos who'll waste your time and then go buy from ebay or someplace cheaper.

You also set yourself up for someone to "case the joint" and burglarize your home, since they will know what inventory you have to steal.

It's one thing to run a business from home, but a whole 'nother can of worms when you invite "customers" into it. You could run afowl of zoning laws in a residential neighborhood.

Then there's legal liability. What if one of those customers trips and is injured on your property? I don't know how homeowners vs. auto insurance works, but I do know auto insurance can refuse to pay a claim if you lied about not driving a vehicle for commercial purposes. I wonder how many pizza delivery people get a rude awakening when they're in an accident and find out their insurance won't pay because they were driving their own car as part of their job.

UkuleleAdventure
03-02-2012, 03:24 PM
Maybe you should start with an ebay store...it's cheap and easy

the_dude
03-02-2012, 03:41 PM
Maybe you should start with an ebay store...it's cheap and easy

Yes, it's a very tempting, and lower risk idea. However, some manufacturers will not supply you without some kind of brick and mortar presence. Of course, I could skip those brands for now. Slow and steady wins the race, or so they say.

haolejohn
03-02-2012, 04:54 PM
Hoping to revive this thread as I've been thinking about the business a bit more lately.

Thanks for all the input. There certainly is a lot to think about.

Here's my thinking at this point: I would definitely have a web presence. That aspect of retail simply cannot be ignored, and honestly it would probably my biggest source of sales at first. I would make full use of multimedia and audio. I am experienced with website management, photography, video, and audio so could keep good, reliable, up-to-date info on a website.

As for a brick-and-mortar presence, I like the idea of having the business in my home (at least to start), and offering "appointments" for customers to come and sit in a quiet environment to thoroughly test ukes in a similar setting to the one in which they would be used. Is that weird? Would you go to someone's home to do something like this? This allows for private testing. I went to a music store recently and it was SO LOUD, and the acoustics were so different than in my home. There was a guy going nuts on a banjo, another guy strumming an acoustic guitar, plus 3 different conversations happening. And honestly, my playing is not top-notch, so I get embarrassed playing in front of other people sometimes. I was definitely not able to get a proper test drive.

Speaking of that music store, it's VERY reputable. They specialize in fretted instruments, and have great ukes: Collings, LoPrinzi, Kamaka, Ko'olau, Scott Wise, High River, etc. They do not specialize in ukes per se, but they certainly have good stuff. Am I CRAZY to open up within a stone's throw of this place??

To answer some of the concerns posted previously: I'm currently "underemployed," working only 2 days per week for 8 months of the year (I was laid off from the video game industry waaaaayyy back in December 2009). My wife is our primary breadwinner. She makes enough for us to live comfortably/modestly, and we have good health insurance through her employer. We have enough cash saved up that I could probably get a home-based and/or internet business up and running without going into debt, but making a modest dent in our cash reserves. Also, she seems willing to risk some of our savings on me and this idea. I think she just wants me to figure out something to do with my life!

Any further thoughts?

Would you, after seeing a nice website and talking to a nice person on the telephone, go to a home-based business to spend quality time looking at ukuleles? (and maybe guitars) When I was in art school me and many other students and general enthusiasts used to buy second-hand cameras from a nice, local middle-aged couple. They worked out of their house and at trade shows, and we always felt comfortable with them. They didn't even have a website, just word of mouth.

if it makes you feel better I have no problem going to someone's house to try and buy ukes. I met UkeRepublic this way. got him to come here and I am proud to call him my friend. A good friend at that.

Nickie
03-02-2012, 05:45 PM
dude,
Well there certainly is a lot of help and encouragement here. I'd recommend creating a niche for yourself, like Lori has with the UkeLeash. I think one idea that was brought up earlier this year, but I haven't seen product yet is:
Deco and artsy gig bags and cases for ukuleles. If you are creative, and know someone who can sew/put things together, I think this might work. It seems that there is a big demand for this. Mim sent my Kala uke in a really cute and unique padded gig bag, and I've had lots of people ask where they can get one. (Pssst, some women pay hundreds of dollars for a designer purse)
Go with your dreams, and good luck!

chris667
03-02-2012, 11:22 PM
dude,
Well there certainly is a lot of help and encouragement here.

Half of my post seemed to disappear on the last page; I hope what I wrote didn't come across as too negative. I wanted to say there will be LOTS of opportunities for someone to run a business based around the ukulele. I doubt you'll get rich, but it's good to do something you love and at least you won't have an employer making arbitrary decisions about your future. It's so easy to replace employees nowadays the only safe future is the one you make for yourself.

Personally, I would try to do an online/Ebay type business selling something unique and inexpensive. You can get out to uke clubs and events to do face-to-face sales.

Lori
03-03-2012, 08:06 PM
Personally, I would try to do an online/Ebay type business selling something unique and inexpensive. You can get out to uke clubs and events to do face-to-face sales.

I thought eBay would be a good store for my Uke Leash, but it ended up bringing me very little business. It might be because to use the "one listing/ many colors/ sizes available feature", I had to set it up in a clothing template. I had ukulele and music oriented key words, but still got very few orders that way, and dropped the listing. I do much better with my own web store set-up and don't have to pay all those extra eBay fees.

It sounds like you have the time, skills, interest and energy to try a home business, and I can tell you it can be done! Make sure you do the research on your market... know your customer and what they want, before you invest a lot of money in product. Keep your overhead as low as possible.

Good Luck

–Lori

TheCraftedCow
03-04-2012, 12:28 PM
There is so much we do not know about you which would enable you to perhaps follow a dream. For every nay-sayer, there should also be a cheerleader.

One of the most influential human beings in helping me shape my business philosophy was a man named Dominic Jebbia. He could not read or write. Do a Google Search for Dominic Jebbia, please. Dom told me to never compete with someone else in the same field... always cooperate. I saw letters signed by Fio LaGuardia and AP Giannini and others thanking him for helping them. He came to the USA with $1.10 cents he ad saved from picking up macaroni for a year in a Sicilian factory. That started Chiquita Banana Corporation. I have nothing to sell you. Becky and I have been self employed for 38 years. We both locked the doors to our clasrooms and turned in our keys.
Have you got a vision and a dream, or are you just looking for a job? I will ask you to contact me at thecraftedcow@comcast.net. There are some things happening here which you might want to consider that might help you. I have NOTHING to sell you...won't even try to convince you you need PEGHEDS. Lack of space and time are the only two reasons I am signing off for now. If you would prefer to make it a private conversation through UU, that's fine..except I have yet to learn how to attach pictures. wdt

hoosierhiver
03-04-2012, 02:18 PM
Saw a very cool seemingly homemade leather uke gig bag in Bangkok last week, looked like something people would go for.