When we’re asked, who/what is “Strings and Things?, I automatically say that Louise is the one to call if you need anything. After all, she’s the friendly face of our “mobile music boutique” at the Ottawa Youth Orchestra group class days and events, as well as that “Suzuki Mom” who was at both the National Capital Suzuki School of Music and Ottawa Suzuki Strings. Although I’ve staffed the boutique at NCSSM and other events in the past few years, I’m happy to do the backend work here, such as the bookkeeping, website and social media managing and helping Louise with supplier accounts and orders, etc. Especially, now that I’m managing these things from my new home in Toronto, it’s been really up to my business partner (and her amazing, supportive husband Rolly) who’ve been doing the front line work for us in the past few months.
Yesterday, I attended the QuickBooks Connect 2017 conference here in Toronto as a way to help me gain more insight into how we can make S&T even better for our customers and our partners in the future. I met a lot of other small business owners, self-employed people, bookkeepers and accounting pros who use QBO or Intuit and for one day of this 3-day event, we rubbed elbows together and shared some really interesting perspectives. I have to give a shoutout to Hamza Khan for his “Personal Branding” breakout session for Small Business. His ideas really hit home for me, and the #DrakeEffect presentation alone was such an eye opener but this question he put to us of “who are you?” has been playing around in my head ever since.
I mean, we’re not just what we sell and the services we provide are we? Everyone, be you entrepreneur, individual or organization is unique of course but it got me thinking about just how unique our little enterprise really is. I mean, it was an idea borne over 10 years ago from our predecessor, Anna Gut, who got S&T going with just a few sets of violin strings and Suzuki method books made available during her long breaks between her daughters’ group classes. When she sold it to Louise, in 2013, for a long time, and still even now once in awhile, people still ask for Anna.
Our “brand” is the promise of a friendly, knowledgable, fellow-nurturer of musicians who will always have what you need, be it a string or a thing or many times, not even a thing but just an an ear to listen and share the amazing experience of raising kids with music.
Even though my kids are grown and off in their own directions, I still feel privileged to share this with other parents and teachers through our little business. Last month I was set up at the SuzukiMusic Play-in for the first time in a couple of years and was so overwhelmed with the warm welcome I received from old friends and new. I look forward to another exciting year ahead.