The ARC crew saddled up and headed west for our first ever trade show in Santa Barbara, CA this past weekend. Preparing for the show posed some unique logistical challenges, including how to get our precious cargo halfway across the country.
We learned a lot and met some amazing people both attending and displaying their products at SBAIC. We also had the opportunity to meet some of our customers and one dealer who came all the way from Japan. This is something that unfortunately doesn’t happen often enough in the digital marketplace and we cherished this encounter.
The brotherhood and mutual respect amongst the luthiers and music accessory vendors was amazing to witness. Some of the most revered luthiers in the world were present and it was interesting to see how they interacted with one another. They all have nuances that demand others in the craft to step back and take notice at what they do differently in the small world they live in. Their willingness to embrace us with open arms was also very encouraging.
We had the distinct pleasure to get to know Kevin Ryan, owner of Kevin Ryan Guitars and Advanced Shell Technology, and Tom Ribeckke of Ribeckke Guitars a little better than the others at the celebration. They happened to loan us some guitars to display in our cases for the weekend and although the photos below speak for themselves, we have a few thoughts we’d like to share.
The Ribeckke guitar with the sharp contrast of the painted white top and the black of the Wenge case was simply stunning. The new product we are rolling out – the glass sided case – showed the sides of the guitar off perfectly and we had many, many comments about the new design. We now have proof this design will be well received once it’s officially launched. If you are interested in something like what you see, please contact us and we will work with you. We have limited species available, however we can make a glass sided case out of any wood type with minimal wait time.
The Ryan guitar was a standout in that it’s a relatively no frills, elegantly inlayed 000 style instrument. It was a nice piece for us to showcase our ability to house instruments that are smaller bodied. We simply shifted the String Swing to its lower position in the ClimaStand and the guitar was centered perfectly. The yellow colored spruce top was showcased in a Cocobolo case and people were commenting all weekend on how perfectly paired the two were.
Some other shout outs worthy of mentioning are listed below. ARC would like to send a huge thanks to these people and/or companies.
Field + Forge:
An excellent graphic design firm from Minneapolis, MN assisted us with all the marketing material for the trade show under an extremely tight time frame . The professional banner, dealer packet, business cards, and flyers were instrumental in showcasing what we do and how we do it. Future projects with them are already in the works, but in the meantime please check out some of their work below.
Supply Chain Solutions (SCS):
Based in La Crosse, WI, SCS can handle all your shipping needs. They helped pull together the shipping logistics for a 6’ x 6’ x 6’ pallet weighing in at just under 1,000 lbs and got it there on time and undamaged.
New and Repeat Customers:
We put a pin on a map in our workshop for each customer we sell a case to. These locations are either getting a new pin or another on the map.
Littleton, CO - A brown stained Flame Maple and Walnut Combo case was purchased as a birthday present for a new customer who happens to own two Kevin Ryan guitars. An early model will be housed in this case. We have a sneaking suspicion he’ll be ordering another once he sees how well they work in Colorado winters.
Salida, CO - A Walnut Floor Model is going to a newly opened guitar shop. The owners are also luthiers and understand the importance of humidity control. We are pretty certain they will do quite well introducing and recommending our product to their customers. We are excited to see what the future holds working with them.
Newbury Park, CA - A previous customer picked up case number three this weekend. He owned two triangle cherry wall models and opted for a cherry rectangle case to add to the collection.
Riverside, CA – A Purpleheart Floor Model is going to a couple who relocated from Wisconsin to California. In was nice talking with them and we are excited for them to get the case set up.
Vancouver, BC – We had to pleasure of meeting and striking up a friendship with John Larivee from Larivee Guitar Co. What a nice guy who also happens to make some beautiful guitars. He opted for a Cedar Floor Model. In return, we may work out a trade for one of their guitars
Our wives definitely deserve special recognition for the work they put in this weekend. We couldn’t have been happier to have them there helping us through all the chaos. Something we probably don’t convey often enough is that Acoustic Remedy Cases is a family business Ryan and myself have known each other for 17 years – ever since a fateful encounter in college and a mutual love for music.
My dad was key in us developing the product and the cramped quarters of Ryan’s garage. My brother has helped with graphic design. Ryan’s sister helped us prepare for this show with her experience in planning tradeshows for 3M. Ryan’s dad recommended our patent lawyer and has provided us legal advice where applicable. Our wives help more than we can imagine with processing orders, driving back and forth to Amish country, providing customer service, and calming us down when the sky feels like it’s falling.
It’s not always easy for a couple of self taught entrepreneurs, but we get by with help from other family members and that was on full display leading up to and during SBAIC.
The last point I will leave you with is that trade shows have a way of creating or spurring new ideas about how to improve. We have high expectations for the remainder of 2016 and beyond. It’s interesting to see how far we’ve come in the past five years and to vision where we will be in the next five or ten years. We can’t wait to introduce you all to new products and new options for existing products.
This has been one of the best experiences to date for ARC. Thanks to everyone who helped and to those we probably missed mentioning that had a direct or indirect impact on the SBAIC show. We will be taking what we learned at here and hitting the road for more shows in the future.
As I wrap this up from an airplane over the Rocky Mountains, I can’t help but to think where Littleton and Salida are amongst the impressive profile of the terrain below. I get a little sentimental reminiscing about all of the places in this amazing country where our cases have found their way to and the wonderful people we have the pleasure of calling our customers. I have a feeling this list will just continue grow and we hope that your neck of the woods is the next pin on the map.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and see you on the road soon...
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