Women in MI: Hannah Williams, Brand Manager at BBICO

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In today’s article, we’ll be getting to know Hannah Williams, Brand Manager at BBICO. We ask Hannah about her journey in the MI industry, her long-term goals and her inspirations…

Q: What was the last gig that you attended before lockdown, and who has been your new favourite artist discovered through lockdown?

It’s terrible that I’m really struggling to remember the last gig I went to before lockdown, it’s been that long! The last gig I have a ticket for in my emails is from Bear’s Den back in February 2020, so there we go…over a year without any live music! I’ve been listening to a pretty eclectic mix to make up for it though. I’ve recently discovered the band Caamp, but can be found dancing (badly) around my kitchen to The Record Company, Lake Street Dive and The Dip most evenings!

Q: Tell us a bit about your journey so far in the MI industry?

I was offered my first job in the industry after completing a work experience placement at my local music shop, and dropping an Easter egg off for the Manager as soon as I turned 16! I then went on to study music, whilst working in other parts of the wider music industry, and getting work experience with a local musical instrument repairer. I returned to MI after completing my degree in clarinet performance a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve thrown myself into various aspects of the industry including retail, distribution, marketing, product research & development, packaging design, and even trade show booth creation. I’m currently the Brand Manager for the British Band Instrument Company, also known as BBICO.

Q: What are your long-term goals?

I’m currently working on a brand with a key focus on sustainability, with regards to production methods, formulas and packaging. I would really like to learn more about sustainable business practices, and assist other organisations within our industry to implement changes that take their environmental impact into account. I also completed a research project on clarinet brand choice for my final year research project. I believe that my findings support possible applications within our industry, which would be beneficial in helping brands market their instruments and accessories more effectively. I believe this to be the first academic study exploring the factors influencing purchase choice within the music products industry, so an important professional goal of mine is to continue this research further. I also hope to continue my freelance playing and instrumental teaching, as I believe both will help me to stay up-to-date with consumer needs and demands!

Q: Who inspires you?

I think almost everyone I have met in the MI industry has inspired or influenced me in some way over the past 8 years. My earliest influence was most probably my Grandfather, Cyril Reuben. He was a professional session musician, woodwind teacher, and owned his own music shop. He’s definitely influenced my goals to have a portfolio career, currently balancing a full-time job in MI with teaching. I was always inspired by my first manager, Sam, at Dawkes Music for his product knowledge, customer service skills, and ability to work well with all employees of the company. Aside from people who inspire me, I developed a true admiration for the instrument design and manufacturing process during visits to the Japanese Yamaha, Pearl and Yanagisawa factories several years ago. I’ve also recently taken part in the One Handed Musical Instrument Trust’s (OHMI’s) Accessible Instrument Hackathon, which was incredibly inspiring!

Q: What is your ‘why’?

One of the things I value most about the music products industry is the constant innovation that takes place. Since beginning working in the industry eight years ago, I am constantly amazed by the new products that are launched, and the new technologies that are introduced. I also greatly value the impact that such products have on the lives of the end user. Whether it be a professional musician who can rely on the products we provide to earn a living doing something they love, or an aspiring student who is able to progress in their studies due to products we offer. A young musician who can take the first steps of their musical journey due to an instrument that we have provided, or anyone who uses listening to music as an escape from their everyday life. The instruments and accessories that the MI industry offers are essential, and can be truly life-changing for everyone!