Working in Music Retail

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by Logan, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. Logan

    Logan Well-Known Member

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    So, for the past year I've been working at my local music store, and it's been great. I get good deals, help my friends get good deals, help my girlfriend get good deals, and the works. People that come in are usually nice, but the ones that aren't are not the best to deal with. Luckily with my position, I usually don't have to deal with them, but I hear my coworkers talk about how guys come in to ask questions to see if you know the answer, and want the bottom of the barrel prices on everything and aren't real nice about it.

    Every once in a while, I do get to try and sell guitars. Just last Saturday a guy came in wanting to get an upgrade for his Ibanez GIO that wasn't too pricy. He didn't know what to get, so I asked what style of music he liked to play. His answer; Alternative. Knowing that, I knew the Epis we currently have in stock (we haven't been able to order Gibson stuff for a while, so once we're out, we're out until we could get them back) wouldn't be what he wanted (I would have recommended an SG if we had one, but my girlfriend took it), so I talked through his options with Squiers. We had a Classic Vibe '50s Strat, '50s Tele, and a Vintage Modified Jaguar. I told him what each guitar offered, let him play them, and he took the Jag (I was proud of him, Offsets are my second love after SGs).

    Also, since my girlfriend comes in like every Saturday it makes my day every time she comes in. She usually makes me get out her SG (which I happily oblige). She has it in layaway (which is a thing I LOVE about the store, the layaway program is so laid back it's unbelievable) and is making bi-weekly payments of 50 dollars which she should have out in a couple of weeks. I believe she's going to post a NGD thread when she gets it too. I'm excited for her :D

    I really like working there, and I wouldn't have the guitars I have without my supportive parents and working there :D
     
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  2. Norlin SG

    Norlin SG Well-Known Member

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    • She is soon to own an SG.
    • She is a joy to be around.
    • You can get gear at close to wholesale?
    That's great. Most guys could only check, if they were lucky, 1 or 2 of those 3 boxes. Keep up the good work.
     
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  3. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Active Member

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    Nice position, enjoy it.
     
  4. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    I'm curious how connected the two brands are, can they continue stocking Epiphone without Gibson?

    I ask because I know a couple of UK dealers who have recently stopped stocking both ranges. One of them put out a statement saying "Unfortunately, due to changes in Gibson's European distribution we will not be getting any more NEW Gibson, Epiphone or Dobro guitars for the foreseeable future" - which made me think they were tied to each other, so to speak.

    I've never understood Gibson's policy with dealers, but it seems to have been around for a long time. Back in the 80s, when I was last in a band and regularly going to music stores, most of them didn't stock Gibson at all. Just the occasional secondhand one. Looking back, that probably played a part in why I kept buying non-Gibson guitars, and didn't get around to owning an SG until later in life - even though they've always been my favourite model.
     
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  5. Plan Zero

    Plan Zero Active Member

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    Years ago I worked for a private music retailer and it was great. Then guitar center opened nearby and I got a job with them. Worst mistake. GC was one of the lamest places I ever worked and the corporation as a whole is terrible.
    Commission based jobs can truly suck. Personally I'll never take a sales job again. Of course the jobs were fun in downtime but the stress of having to sell guitars to pay the rent was too unreliable for me. I can't imagine how much more competitive music retail is since the advent of online marketplaces.

    Also Gibson's relationship with authorized dealers is notoriously sketchy. GC is the only place to buy Gibsons around my area. All the private retailers near me stopped carrying Gibbys because of their dealer policies. That says alot; that's like a store only selling pepsi not coke. Gibson really needs to address this issue and start trying to recapture those lost retailers. It's real hard for someone to decide to buy a $1k guitar when s/he can't even play it first.
     
  6. gasket

    gasket Member

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    Gibson at this time don't even bring guitars into Australia. I hear a new importer / distributor has been named but it's doubtful if much product will be available. I've taken to bringing guitars in from The States direct to my door and ALWAYS save big money on each purchase.
     
  7. Logan

    Logan Well-Known Member

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    We can't. My girlfriend's SG was used, and we still have old stock, which is how I got an L-00 at 50% off.
     
  8. Logan

    Logan Well-Known Member

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    She's also a drummer, bass player, pianist, skateboards, and is extremely attractive. What isn't to like :D

    When someone comes into your life like that, you do your best to keep them :fingersx:
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  9. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    You keep tagging her, @Logan, as if you're trying to score points.

    You are wise beyond your years, my friend. Keep up the good work. :rofl:
     
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  10. Logan

    Logan Well-Known Member

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    Shhh...
     
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  11. rotorhead

    rotorhead Well-Known Member

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    The two are intertwined. You gotta serve both or nothing.

    When I picked up my new Sheraton II a little over 2 years ago, the store I got it from had just ended their relationship with Gibson, mostly bc a new GC opened up across the highway.

    They asked if they could continue with just the Epiphone lines but Gibson said no, gotta have a minimum of both lines. So, they were selling off whatever stock they had and that was that.

    It's not just the guitars, though. It also includes accessories like cases, pickups, etc. They couldn't even order an Epi brand case for mine.

    *Edit: This applies to new products, I believe. Nothing prevents them from reselling a Gibson or Epi product if they got them second hand.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  12. JazzyJeff

    JazzyJeff Member

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    My knowledge on this topic is kind of sketchy at best. Back in the early 90's a friend and I looked into opening a music store. It didn't come to be. We talked with several manufacturers, one of them Gibson. Here is the quick on it, but in our current environment, it is changing.

    First, Gibson owns Epiphone. Gibson overseas operations on a corporate level and Epipone runs it's own day to day operations, including which factories they choose to build from. Initially Epiphone was a U.S. competitor for Gibson, but they became their version of squire to compete with the japanese. In fact, Fender is doing much the same as Gibson did in the late 60's now. Get the Chinese factories busy making real guitars so they are cutting their throats. That is what Gibson did with Epi. Here, Japan, make these and stop robbing us.

    Gibson will only select a certain number of dealers within an area, some based on population, some on geography. But to even get in the game, sales. If your sales are crap, the guy down the road is going to get their contract.

    Gibson will set a msrp. Manufacturers suggested retail price. Back then, you weren't allowed to advertise below that, but you could sell below it. This was to protect other Gibson dealers. You would also need your techs to attend Gibson's training.

    Then there were minimum orders. (tip, make your music dealer that crazy offer, you never know)

    But now. Gibson over the past two decades has taken a huge beating. Not only with Chinese counterfeiters, but also from the U.S. gov. Instead of spending the money on a decent Epiphone les paul or SG, people would buy a chinese copy with Gibson on the headstock than a proper Epiphone with pretty decent quality. We can debate the quality of these and how they improved over time later. Let's just say, you get what you pay for.

    Then the U.S. gov goes into the Gibson factory, pulls their hard drives, which run their equipment and basically shuts them down. Not once, but several times. Because somebody made complaints of violations of the lacey act. In the end, all BS and they got back to making guitars, but lost thousands and thousands in production. Ironically, U.S. customs continues to haphazardly check what is coming in on the slow boat from china. You hear about that one guy who lost his chibson, but 5000 got theirs. And, come on, some people are still doing it.

    The truth is, today Gibson may be hurting more than they were in the days of Norlin. I hope we don't lose them.
     
  13. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    Interesting post, thanks.

    One thing I'm not sure about is whether Gibson are really getting much impact on their sales from Chibsons. Of course, Chibsons are bad news, as any counterfeit goods are for brand owners. But just as people buying Louis Vuitton fakes in markets were never going to be buying real Louis Vuitton bags, so I doubt many people who can afford a Les Paul Standard will be buying Chibsons instead. Same is true if you can afford a secondhand one - especially as, with guitars, it's easy to convince yourself that buying secondhand is actually better than buying new, (fake or real).

    So I suspect Chibsons actually hit sales of Epiphone; ironically, Chinese fakes are likely to be damaging sales of Chinese-made brand guitars!

    Where Gibson are likely to be getting hit is with the rapid growth in high quality but reasonably priced hand made guitars from small workshops. Right now, I can travel to several such businesses (e.g. Feline), and order a LP-style guitar to my own specifications. By contrast, despite living in a city of over 8 million, until two years ago I could only access one Gibson dealer with ease - others required quite a trip out of town. When buying an SG, that dealer didn't have the exact model/finish I wanted, so I ended up ordering online anyway... There is now a second dealer - though someone recently said they went there & they didn't have a single SG Standard in stock at all. So, it's almost easier to get a hand made guitar ordered than buy a Gibson you've actually played first!
     
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