TDmonthly Magazine!
November 2005 | Vol. IV - No. 11
Sponsored by:
http://toyfestwest.com/



Article Tools:

One Odd Bird of a Store


"We believe there are many potential customers that have just never heard of us or the instruments we sell."? Bill Taylor, Lark in the Morning
It?s hard to run a successful business unless you believe in the community you serve. Lark in the Morning, a successful West Coast music store chain, has survived in a peculiar niche because its owners care about musicians and the instruments they play.

Mickie Zekley started the business in his Mendocino, Calif., home in 1974. He provided a service to help people locate hard-to-find instruments ? everything from the old to the ethnic ? and traveled around the country to sell them at music festivals. In 2003, Bill and Deb Taylor purchased the thriving business: three retail shops in Mendocino, San Francisco and Seattle, along with a 148-page catalog and a Web site with more than 8,000 items.

"Were not really a bestseller business," Bill Taylor told TDmonthly Magazine. "We intentionally are in the business of selling more unusual items, with small sales for thousands of different items."

For parents and instructors, Lark in the Morning is an excellent source for the talented child longing for an instrument out of the ordinary. The Musicmaker is one of their most popular instruments, along with the Lollipop Drum and Whistle. Hand percussion attracts children, Taylor said.

Forty percent of sales are from their shops. The other 60 percent of direct sales orders, including wholesale, are placed through their Web site. Taylor believes that many of their phone orders are made after people have visited the site.

"Most of our retail shop business is 'drop in,' but we do have many customers that travel across the country and across the world to visit a shop," Taylor remarked. "We know we have the most diverse selection of world musical instruments of any shop anywhere, and its a great experience to visit in person."

Promotion has been the key to achieving this kind of notoriety. Taylor focuses on improving their Web site and expanding their presence on distribution avenues, such as Amazon, Shop.com and eBay.

"Our marketing plan is to find ways to let people know what we have," he explained. "We believe there are many potential customers that have just never heard of us or the instruments we sell."

Mickie Zekley, the founder, still owns and operates Lark Camp. Lark in the Morning Music Celebration began in 1980, attracting beginners and professionals. Every year several hundred students get together with more than 75 instructors from around the globe. Many are young people.

"Like most interesting businesses, Lark in the Morning was started because of a personal passion, not a business idea," Taylor said. "Those of us here today still have that passion. We have a goal of providing a market for the most diverse collection of instruments."




Catalog Request Form


Writer's Bio: Julia Ann Charpentier is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and an editor for book publishers. Read more articles by this author

Popular Stories

Request Information


THIS BANNER IS AN AD:






Back to TDmonthly's front page

Advertisement:

Advertise on TDmonthly


Recent Products

Disney Frozen Acoustic Guitar
By FIRST ACT
» More Information

KidiBeats Kids Drum Set
By VTECH
» More Information

Sound Choice Large Display Rack
By WESTCO EDUCATIONAL PRODUCTS
» More Information


Related Articles
·Schoenhut Is Electrifying!
(6/1/2014)
·TDmonthly 2014 Top Toy Debut Award Winners: Musical Toys
(5/1/2014)
·Why Schoenhut® Piano Company Teamed Up With Raggs
(5/1/2014)
·Pufferbelly Toys: A Small Town Success Story
(7/1/2005)
·Buying a Doll Experience? ? Priceless
(9/1/2005)
·Learning Express CEO Speaks About Franchises
(1/1/2006)
















Advertisement:



Magazine Home     Contact TDmonthly   Advertise Here 
Editorial Calendar   Events & Trade Shows   Media Kit   Request Product Information   PlayZak®

Look up Manufacturers at ToyDirectory.com®

Disclaimer  Privacy Policy  Career Opportunities  Feedback
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use.
Copyright © 2015 TDmonthly®, a division of TOYDIRECTORY.com®, Inc.