Spider Music‘s Learn to Play Day experience – “The best day of the year financially so far”

Alice here, with an exciting insight into a real Learn to Play Day success story…

Last weekend, we held our sixth, annual Learn to Play Day at 100 music shops and other venues across the Country to give the general public free music lessons.

We had an amazing few days, met some wonderful people and supported thousands of people to either start, continue or return to music making!

We’d like to thank all the hard-working venues, shops and musicians that supported the week, we could not have done it without you.

MIA member, Spider Music Ltd is a shop in Gorseinon, Swansea, with their own music school attached. They are great supporters of Learn to Play Day and have held events for the past four years.

I spoke to Sales Director Stuart Lewis, who runs the business and also teaches guitar and drums (and still continues to gig in his spare time!)

Spider Music had an outstanding weekend when it came to introducing the world of music into people’s lives; they saw over 200 people each day – every room in their music school was full, the shop itself was full, their outside area was full, so they gave lessons in the carpark!

But what really stood out to me was when I asked Stuart about the level of purchases made on the day, and he said that it was “the best day of the year financially so far”…

So what is the key to such a successful event? Here’s an interview I did with Stuart to give you an insight:

A: How much advertising did you do for your event this year, and how effective do you think it was?

S: This year we didn’t actually do as much. We advertised on our website and in store. We did put up a huge sign at the traffic lights right outside our store for a month leading up to the event. 1000’s must have seen it!

(Here’s the sign!)

A: How much help from teachers/staff did you have on the day?

S: There are 14 self-employed teachers within our music school, all 14 of them came in and gave lessons on Learn to Play Day – I must say they were absolutely flat out all day long! They really look forward to the day though, as they know how essential the event is to getting more students on board.

A: How much money did you spend on the event?

S: We had 0 advertising costs this year, I did spend some money on teacher’s wages (although many of them disputed me paying them at all!) and we bought some sweets for the kids and tea and coffee for the Mum’s and Dad’s. Not forgetting the well-deserved meal at the pub for my staff in the evening too! Any money that I did spend we absolutely earned back, X 10, due to sales made on the day.

A: How would you describe the atmosphere in store on Learn to Play Day weekend?

S: We opened up our doors, and really focused on creating a welcoming, accessible environment. We like to hold constant free lessons and tasters throughout the year anyway, to let people know that we’re here, so we have some experience. We had live music going on and created a real buzz, but also wanted to make sure people who weren’t familiar with the typical ‘music shop’ format felt at ease to come in and get involved. I really have my staff to thank; they are approachable and fun and really understand how to sell; we’re not selling our customers a product, we’re selling them a lifestyle – and once they’re hooked we’ve got them for life!

A: What was your average sale revenue per customer?

S: On average, about £50/£60. But to give you an example, we had a lot of interest in drum lessons this year. We didn’t sell any drum kits, but EVERYONE that gave the drums a go bought a set of drum sticks at £5 each, and that just multiplied all day long!

A: What kind of instruments did you sell?

S: We sold pianos and keyboards, loads and loads of books but mostly children’s guitars. We do ‘guitar packages’ that range from £49 to £89. They include a ¼, ½, or ¾ sized guitar with a strap, a DVD and a plectrum. Kids love walking out of the shop with a guitar over their shoulder, and we find that we make much more profit selling these cheaper packages as they really do add up.

A: Why do you choose to do Learn to Play Day each year?

S: My business only survives because of students and lessons, so getting people involved is really important to our success. As well as promoting the benefits of music making, for me, it’s 100% a sales opportunity and I’ll grab it with both hands!

See you next year, Stuart!


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