Paul Effman Music Service also established its first bricks-and-mortar instrument store in LaGrangeville, NY, through a partnership with a local piano studio.
More importantly, the company offers private lessons through the store, a revenue stream it wants to expand, especially where parents are willing to pay, like affluent areas of Long Island.
The LJHutchen instruments (named for Lucy, Jesse and Hutch) are designed to facilitate beginner-level music learning. The line is sold both directly through Hyson Music and through other retailers like
The instrument line was not born in the bad economy, though. "[It had] everything to do with the need for a less expensive instrument that we could service and support to sell to our students," Hutch says.
As the program expanded, many students were renting or purchasing poorer quality instruments, which may have been cheaper, yet were wrought with problems (tuning issues for instance). The situation led some students to get too frustrated when they couldn't master the lessons and quit or lose interest in the instrument.
While Paul's risky decision to become a music entrepreneur paid off, it's the next generation that is solidifying the company's future.
"We want to continue to duplicate what we're doing in LaGrangeville. We want to set up a retail location on Long Island [where] we want to have more private lessons teaching kids. We're starting to do it here and there's an opportunity for us to do it here, but it means looking into other facility options," Hutch says.
"Hopefully, there are always going to be schools that need our services. We're always looking to service more schools and continue servicing schools that we already do. We're in the process of redesigning our online store and making that a more prominent part of the overall picture," he adds.
One downside to the Effmans' success is the potential for competition. The company already has the credibility, so now it will be important for the company to wrap up the market. Having a strong brand that customers will automatically refer to when they think of private music education and lessons is the key, says Thomas Shinick, president and CEO of Corporate Development Partners and a professor of small business management and entrepreneurship at Adelphi University.