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Thread: What Kala did...

  1. #11
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    The market place being the source makes sense.. The market for ukes beyond kids toy ukes is too small for Walmart to directly sell it directly from Kala and I am not sure Kala is big enough to stock up Walmart inventory for ukes.. I wonder what is the minimum number of units needed to even be carried directly by Walmart, it has to be in the millions..

  2. #12
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    It's 'big business' tactics, that's all - you, no doubt, shop in a supermarket - they under cut 'the little man', putting 'him' out of business, & then raised their prices back to where things were, & so making huge profits.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jer View Post
    As stated already, the Wal-Mart site is just a marketplace like Amazon...who also sells Kala ukes. Kala sells ukes to make money. Getting in Wal-Mart is a dream for a lot of people who sell product.
    It might be different if they were making Wal-Mart their exclusive dealer all of the sudden, but that's not the case. It's just another outlet.

    Here's a thought: For every person who boycotts Kala because they sell some ukes to Wal-mart, there may be a lot of other people who will get their first uke because they were exposed to it at Wal-Mart. That may lead to them seeking out a higher quality instrument eventually...whether that be from Kala or elsewhere. Of course if the uke they get is really crappy, it might also turn them off of the instrument....
    ^^^

    This. It wouldn't surprise me if a third party is offering Kalas straight from the factory to any online seller. To the third party, Walmart is no different than Target or Best Buy or Costco or Musicians Friend or Guitar Center. You're getting a drop-shipped instrument that hasn't been inspected once it got off the line and was put in the box.

    A local merchant or an online ukulele specialist (Mim or Uke Republic or Elderly) will do a separate QC check and setup the instrument. For the online buyer from the big box merchant, it's caveat emptor.

    From Kala's perspective, maybe they're subtly (or not) pushing their dealers to offer more of the higher quality instruments so that the interchangeable ukes can sell wherever, at a specialty dealer or through a drop shipper who stamps Walmart on the boxes.
    SOPRANOS: • 1920s Gibson UKE1 (Olympian label) • 1930s Martin 2M • Ohana SK-28 ‘Nunes’ • Flea koa • Ohana SK-35G solid mahogany • Famous FS-1
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  4. #14
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    Just a thought. I do not shop at Walmart except in very very isolated instances. But if I boycotted every brand they carried, my house would be empty of food, appliances, sporting goods, and electronic gadgets. It seems Kala is not dealing exclusively with Walmart. So I think boycotting Walmart, not Kala, is on point if you don’t like their business practices. BTW I, too, don’t like Walmart’s business practices and have avoided them since they expanded to every town USA.
    Last edited by Martinlover; 02-11-2020 at 02:07 AM.

  5. #15
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    Wait 'til Kala starts getting squeezed to cut their wholesale prices to Walmart.

    Getting your product into Walmart stores can be a dream that turns into a nightmare.
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  6. #16
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    That’s why I wonder if they’ll be on the shelves in the stores or available only online. Walmart is going after Amazon, so Walmart may have no interest in in-store sales.
    SOPRANOS: • 1920s Gibson UKE1 (Olympian label) • 1930s Martin 2M • Ohana SK-28 ‘Nunes’ • Flea koa • Ohana SK-35G solid mahogany • Famous FS-1
    CONCERTS: • Martin C1K • Enya Nova U (blue) • Ohana CK-50WG (solid cedar top) • Firefly maple banjolele • Makala MK-CE
    OBJETS D'ART: • Vintage 'Mauna Loa' c. 1925 soprano • Kahuna "Felix the Cat" soprano • Woodrow "Steelers" soprano

    Raleigh Uke Jam:

    My YouTube page

  7. #17
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    From the Kala's I have played and the Walmarts I have visited I would say it is a match made in heaven.
    Kamaka HF-3DC - Kanile'a Custom Tenor - KoAloha Special Issue Tenor - Pono MGTP5-PC

  8. #18
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    I'm not thrilled with all that Wal-Mart does, but I do shop there. There just aren't good, affordable alternatives in every place. They have what I require, but price is also a huge factor for me and many others. They're not all bad. Example: Around 10 years ago I had an uncle who lost his job due to the factory he worked for closing. He was able to get a job there to hold him over until retirement. I never heard one complaint from him about the job. Of course he wasn't the type to complain and was just thankful to have a job, which is a rare attitude these days.
    So I just ask that people think of those who are better able to put food on the table, clothes on their backs, etc. because of Wal-Mart. It's fine to have personal convictions to want to avoid them and boycott them...but not everyone has the means to do that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martinlover View Post
    Just a thought. I do not shop at Walmart except in very very isolated instances. But if I boycotted every brand they carried, my house would be empty of food, appliances, sporting goods, and electronic gadgets. It seems Kala is not dealing exclusively with Walmart. So I think boycotting Walmart, not Kala, is on point if you don’t like their business practices. BTW I, too, don’t like Walmart’s business practices and have avoided them since they expanded to every town USA.
    That is a really good point.

    Quote Originally Posted by hendulele View Post
    That’s why I wonder if they’ll be on the shelves in the stores or available only online. Walmart is going after Amazon, so Walmart may have no interest in in-store sales.
    I wondered that too. Perhaps they'll get one on the shelf in some area that is very uke friendly, but over all I'd be really surprised to see that. Of course there is the "ship to store" option too that some might take. That's always free shipping and then pickup at your local Wal-Mart store.

  9. #19
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    I am a Kala dealer. For years. I would like to address this:

    -Walmart is obviously trying to compete with on-line platforms such as Amazon. I have yet to see a Kala in-store at Walmart. They are just trying to make sure Amazon does not drive them out of business. Amazon is starting to do local pick-ups, same day delivery, and on-line grocery shopping even, so I think Walmart is having a "Two can play at this game" thing and from my Wal-mart ads I get on Facebook, they are selling all sorts of crazy stuff from independent stores. Many of these Walmart ads for ukuleles are from "Sam Ash Direct". The funny thing is, you probably order it from Walmart, that sends the notification to Sam Ash, who them sends a notification to Kala, who then drop ships your uke.

    -Kala are good people, but also a big business. And as most big business do, they grow and innovate. And now they have grown where they are less of the small "Little Engine that Could" that we all cheered on as they started their ukulele business with a half a booth space at NAMM, and are now the big business that can actual pander to the mass markets! And so a brand that we knew and loved because we grew up with them, has suddenly turned into something that feels like "the man". And I get it. I have been on this roller coaster with them for about 8 years. And I have expressed my fair share of complaints, but then have been met with explanations. We can't now say, "We wanted you to be successful, but not THIS successful". It is not quite fair.

    -If not Kala... then who? So... the thing is. Walmart is going to sell ukuleles. If they dont sell Kala, they will sell Lanikai, or Cordoba, or (the modern) Breedloves, or any other brand that is VERY big box friendly, and not very little guy friendly. So someone has to do it, so why not it be Kala who does not completely and utterly suck. So at least beginner ukers are getting an ok uke. That being said... as a setup artist, I know the issues these ukes have out of the box. And I may be $5 more than Walmart, but I will love on your uke for 45 minutes to an hour and sometimes more to make it meet my picky standards, so for the little more money you might as well not take the risk of an out of the box Kala and buy from the small ukulele dealers. But ukuleles are going to get into that Walmart market, so I would much rather it be Kala who is an ukulele focused business who does support the ukulele community through sponsorships, donated ukes, and artists.

    -Now, Kala does sell direct too. Their prices are more than what dealers can sell them for, but if you sign up for their newsletter you get that mark-up off in an on-line coupon. Does it suck for dealers?... heck yeah it does. But at the same time... if someone is "in the know" they would know to buy from the smaller guys who will actually love on your uke a little before sending it to you! Do I lose business because of this? Yeah, probably... but in all honesty I would rather sell someone an Ohana anyway (smaller business, with a lot of heart, and a heck of a lot less issues coming out of the box, so less setup time for me.)

    -Any business that Kala loses in this they will gain in mass quantities of sales. So I am sure they aren't crying in their coffee. At the same time, as I said, they may not even be the ones directly behind it. I can set up an Amazon account and drop-ship ukuleles until the cows come home and put the name Kala on it, but it does not mean it is direct. But at the same time... it could be... so yeah.

    So to summarize. I really am not mad at it. Someone has to do it. It could be a crappier company. People who want a setup will still buy from me so it wont hurt my bottom line. My shop has 714 Ohanas, and 178 Kalas and some of that is cases. So it shows where my tonal preference lies. But there are people who are bent on wanting a very specific Kala model and I have thought about dropping them for awhile, but then the people who want a well-setup Kala need to have the choice to get a setup or not. And I am good at it and have offered them so long I know their quirks, so why not. So I offer the models I can stand behind. And with a fret level and action adjustment they are great ukes. So, at this point it is what it is. It won't hurt my business. If it causes me (who by comparison of most stores is a little guy), to sell more Ohanas, there will be much rejoicing because that makes my job A LOT easier! If the Walmart partnership bothers you, then better for me too, because I hope it will lead you to buying more ukuleles from the "little guys" who are a little more personal. But as for Kala, they do cater to the big guys, but rest assured they are kind to me as a "little guy" and have worked with me as well. They seem to have systems in place to accommodate both. I have a salesman there that I consider my friend, they do try to innovate with their instruments, they do care about people, and they do take care of their dealers. But if the bigger business thing bothers you, it would not hurt to seek out the smaller guys who are not large enough to cater to the big businesses, but who still produce a quality product that is worthy of your patronage.
    Last edited by Mim; 02-11-2020 at 05:22 AM.
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  10. #20
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    Thanks for taking the time to chime in, MIM... a lot of good thoughts there.

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