As you are likely aware by now, all in-person music instruction or events have now been postponed or cancelled for the remainder of the school year and we are no longer doing in-person sales at OYOA or any other group events.
However, that doesn’t mean music itself is cancelled. We sincerely hope that students, parents and all musicians continue to play together in their homes and find and create opportunities to continue learning and playing either online or via physical distancing. In times like these is when creativity takes flight and music itself can greatly contribute to our mental well-being.
Should you require any strings or other things such as books and accessories, we are currently accepting online orders from our Order page or by email with online payment only. You may choose to collect purchased items at our door or choose our local delivery service. We’re offering 50% off our normal $9 delivery fee for drop-off orders but if you’re unable to leave home due to illness or quarantine, we will be happy to waive that delivery fee.
Your health and safety and that of our fellow citizens is our highest priority at this time so be assured that all precautions necessary will be taken to ensure safe and hygienic handling of your items.
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.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the music moms out there! If that sounds like your mom, why not pick up your instrument and play something for her today? One of the best Mother’s Day gifts I ever got was when my girls put on a little private concert in the garden. They had just finished their first full year of learning their instruments and were so proud to play their Book 1 pieces for me. They had even made a little program.
I was reminded yesterday, how busy moms and dads are when their kids are that age; running from the final concert, to another recital, or to the soccer game afterwards and then trying to make it to the older one’s play that evening. No kidding, these were actual people’s schedule yesterday. When we’re in the thick of it, maybe we don’t realize how quickly all this business will be over. Enjoy these precious times, moms, and hopefully a day off-schedule today.
We’re excited to announce the addition of a new partner at Strings and Things! Louise Aubrey and Chantal LeBlanc have teamed up and are now co-owners. We’re looking forward to providing simultaneous on-site sales at our school locations on Saturdays as well as Monday evenings. Our “store” is always open if you’d like to contact us to pre-order items for delivery at group classes/rehearsals anytime, and we now offer service in french!