Randi Martin, a 2017 Gard recipient, gained experience in the music products industry working with Menchey Music Service, a NAMM member company that specializes in instrument rentals and school service. Martin is working in the industry firsthand as retail manager at one of their eight retail stores. We followed up with her to chat about her experience working in the industry.
What are your goals for working in the music products industry?
In studying both graphic design business, I’ve found what I really enjoy doing involves organizing images and thoughts and bringing them to life in both print and digital formats. As a creative and artistic person, my goal is to be able to use and keep improving my skills and talents to use within the music products industry. I’d love to be a part of designing product packaging, book covers, websites, and/or marketing materials that are eye-catching and help steer and stimulate consumer interest.
How has being a Gard Scholarship winner helped you fund your education?
The Gard Scholarship has been a tremendous help in funding my eduction. It has helped to alleviate many of the financial stressors of being a college student and allowed me to focus on my education. I am incredibly grateful to be a Gard a Scholarship recipient.
What role do you currently play in the business? What job do you have now and how did you get it?
I’m currently a retail store manager at Menchey Music Service, a NAMM member company that specializes in instrument rentals and school service. I started working for the company a little under three years ago, as a seasonal employee taking rental phone calls. After that first rental season, I transitioned into retail, and four months ago was promoted to retail manager at one of our eight retail stores.
What did you learn that makes you better prepared for a job in the industry?
I’ve learned a lot since I started working at Menchey Music, but I think the most important thing I’ve learned is how to better interact and communicate professionally with others. I was extremely shy as a child and it’s always taken me a long time to “warm up” to people. Working in a retail environment has helped to give me the confidence and skills necessary to communicate with both co-workers and customers.
Do you think doing business now is easier or harder than it was 20 years ago?
I believe that some aspects of doing business are harder and some are easier than they were 20 years ago. We literally have the world at our fingertips and can communicate with people around the world in a matter of minutes. The Internet gives consumers the opportunity to research products and be more informed than ever before, but in turn allows for misinformation. Many new technologies have helped to improve efficiency in the business world, but they also bring a new set of problems. Our society often demands instant gratification, and it’s sometimes hard for smaller companies to hold their own in a world of coupon codes and free two-day shipping.
What aspects of music retail/manufacturer interest you most?
The aspects of music retail and manufacturing that interest me the most include music product packaging design and marketing. The old adage states not to “judge a book by its cover,” but in reality, people do. I find it interesting that product packaging and marketing materials can either positively or negatively influence a customer’s purchasing decision.
What’s the best thing about what you’re currently doing?
I get to share the gift of music with others every day. It’s been recorded that Plato has said “music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” I love seeing others discover the gift of music: from the parent who stops in with their child to rent a violin for school music classes to the recent retiree who has decided to finally sign up for guitar lessons after only dreaming of it for years. What we do at Menchey Music matters and I’m so grateful that I get to be a part of it.
Do you have a business mentor or role model?
I have so many people who I would consider my business mentors or role models, but if I had to choose just one to mention specifically, it would be my father. Ever since I can remember, I watched him pour so much time and energy into his agricultural business. I’ve witnessed his resilience as he dealt with droughts, equipment breakdowns, and downhill market trends. While I’ve chosen a very different field of business, the concepts of hard work and dedication that he instilled in me are universal. I’m extremely thankful for the role model I have in my dad, as well as all the other individuals who have invested their time and effort in me.
The William R. Gard Memorial Scholarship was established by NAMM, the National Association for Music Merchants, in an effort to encourage individuals to pursue education and careers in the music products industry. The scholarship is available to NAMM Member employees who are attending college.