Not one to start a blog post on an apology, it doesn’t set the right tone. We’re hoping the next few paragraphs will go some way to explain the 12-month unintentional rest from our blog. So here’s a little insight into us, where we’ve come from and where we’re going… Also, welcome to the new website.
In three weeks time, we turn 10 years old.
Starting from a garage on the side of a house, creating things that started to get attention and sell on the aftermarket through to our now fully insured/equipped/staffed workshops and showroom has been a fantastic learning experience. The past ten years have seen many important milestones in this business although it’s never been as exciting as it has been over the past 18 months. Rewind to August 2018, comfortable in our old chicken shed relying on our work ethic to get us by we were handed a notice that either our rent increased by 100% (yes, double) or we were to leave.
For a split second, there was a little panic, the typical questions were asked. What do we do? Do we swallow it? Do we even carry on? For the effort, we can earn the same in a standard work area with less stress involved, surely? All the standard questions, for a split second… Once this had passed in the same hour we sat down and discussed advancement, what can we do to steer this situation to our advantage? We started looking at property to purchase, or at least a lease that can lead to a purchase and the hunt was on, we secured a new place, packed up our stuff and left the chicken shed firmly in our past.
Still in August 2018, we started painting the floor in our new premises.
The decision was made for our business to reinvest in itself. Very difficult for a small business but this for us was make or break, we had to do something to bolster our speciality, giving ourselves a great place to work and to give our clients a safe, clean and comfortable place to be. CAD drawings were made in house by Stuart, architects and shopfitters were contacted and within 8 weeks we had our own bespoke workshop. We closed for four weeks as we could do a lot of the work ourselves and had certain specs (soundproof fabrication room for instance) that we would really rather build ourselves. It’s worth noting that working in a workshop you have designed yourself makes for a great working environment with a sense of pride in both the workplace and the fact the business has achieved such a thing.
If we scooch forward to August 2019, 7 months into our first year (the building wasn’t really workable for the first 3 months) during a break between bookings we had another sit down to see how we could help the business get through times without bookings, it doesn’t happen often but when it does how can we ensure it’s pulling its own weight?
Baring in mind this is primarily car audio, and high-end car audio is a very specialist sector of that already small market so it isn’t unheard of for things to go quiet from time to time. So we took some time off, no phones, no admin for a couple of days. We looked at the manual work, that was still top-notch, we looked at our marketing and social media channels, these work well for us already although we did inject some more time into our YouTube channel, arguably not enough for some people, it’s busy around here what can we say?
We started to look at things we already had that were underperforming and the main thing that we kept coming back to was our website. A great site when it was first designed but things work very quickly in the digital world and none of our full-timers are web developers so it’s never been kept on top of. Now, if you’re reading this it’s highly likely you’ve already noticed our site has changed and very much for the better.
Matt has done a brilliant job of changing the direction of our website from what was essentially an online portfolio to a fully integrated, easy to use, eCommerce website where you can still read about us, see what we do, have quick links to all of our other channels yet ultimately buy hand-picked products that we specialise in and take advantage of dealing with us humans who can bring some real passion to a specialist purchase.
We use these products day in day out in our workshop, if we aren’t confident with it it doesn’t make the cut, simple.
Where we’re going
During these same conversations we discussed holding more stock of what we supply, so we now hold full line stock of Dynaudio products, we hold a lot of Audison products also, almost all of our products are next day to us or you as discussing shipping times with our suppliers was also on the agenda.
We’ve put a lot of effort into the relationships we have with some of our suppliers, again those who couldn’t perform how we wanted (ultimately disappointing our clients) have missed the cut. A new, no-nonsense attitude toward what want to and what we can confidently supply has given a quite refreshing ease of transaction with those we’re dealing with which ultimately gives our clients a hassle-free transaction with ourselves. A time investment here well worth making.
Another section of these conversations was to start to cover a section of the domestic audio market, so 240v products that can help our clients have the sound they’ve become accustomed to from ourselves in their car, in their home. We chose (there’s a pattern here…) who we wanted to deal with and approached said parties. I will be as honest about this as I can, for the first time in business, I was worried.
How are these “big boys” going to view our small car audio business? Can they see their product in our working environment? Do they think it will fit in with what we do? Will they dismiss us straight away?
I’m extremely excited to say that each and every one of the companies we approached to do business with us has been very accepting of our model and excited to work with us! Absolutely brilliant news.
We’ve only made a handful of domestic sales up to now to our brilliant client base which is more than enough for us as we have some great feedback and we can see our plan working in front of us. Great stuff.
As a side note to this, it needs an understanding that we’re not adding this to our business in an attempt to get more clients walking through our door, we aren’t interested in this. Getting this line of business off the ground with ourselves is all about the clients we currently work with and give them/you the same sound and technology throughout your home that you enjoy in our designed systems in your car.
Amongst our domestic products, all in stock and on display for a demonstration via appointment Include the likes of –
Chord Co cables In Stock
Pro-Ject Reference through to entry-level record players, in stock
Dynaudio Music series and special Forty line in stock, more soon.
Q Acoustics Reference 300 and 500 stockists and entry stock of the 3000i line
Musical Fidelity Special order in the short term
Sony Special order
Moving forward with 2020, our plan includes the growth of our site, working with suppliers and shipping etc for the best customer experience. Our main goal, however, in the first quarter is to invest in the team again, adding 1-2 specialists to really help push forward and to carry on growing the way we have since March 2010. Having replenished the substantial investment closing of 2018, we can afford to do more in 2020.
We’ve also just sourced a new 4k camera and a bunch of supporting microphones to help the quality, and, more importantly, the audio in our videos.
So, it may well have been 12 months of no blog posts, but it certainly hasn’t been 12 months of resting on our laurels, it’s been 12 months of knuckling down with our bookings whilst working quietly on our business rather than in our business, 12 months of reinvestment into a business that we want to last forever. 12 months of planning, prepping and coming up with new wonderful ways of keeping our clients satisfied with our work and the products that we can supply.
We’re stacked with work, we’re looking forward to a full year of car audio and hopefully giving some HIFI demonstrations to our clients over the coming months.
All of this in 12 months, it’s not actually until I get a few hours late at night to write this that I realise quite how much has been done in the last year. (smiles).
Where will we be in another 10?
We would all like to say a huge thank you to those of you that are reading this and have been with us from the start, those that have entered partway through and those that have supported us since without you there is no us.
Carl – Studio Incar