Picking Your Destiny
Kevin Grover is the Founder and Managing Director of Grover Allman, the leading licensed guitar accessories company in the world. In his spare time, Kevin enjoys surfing, music and traveling with his wife. Feel free to contact Kevin at [email protected].
My life changed at an injection-molding factory in South Australia. Sound like your traditional success story? Far from it. In 1990, I was employed at a business that made parts from thermoplastic material. While there, I met Duane Allman, a fellow employee who shared my passion for music. Since we were both avid guitar players, we decided to create and sell Australia’s first guitar picks. We were in for some surprises.
Building our business.
Our business started out with one pick, one material and a single color. We spread the word about our business by adopting a grassroots marketing approach, canvassing stores and distributing our product. A year later, local distributors approached us and helped with the task. Two years after that, we began to print images and band names on guitar picks, which increased interest from our customer base. As sales grew, we found ourselves sleeping at the factory where we had worked into the night. We would wake up, get clean and go to our “real” jobs.
A few years into production, we became a full-time business and added a printing wing to service the local manufacturing industry. For more than a decade, industrial printing remained dominant; however, our unique picks held their own ground, growing in reputation and sales. To capitalize on this success, we decided to offer different materials, colors and images, including a series of collectable designs that slowly infiltrated international markets.
In 2004, a major development nudged our guitar picks further into the spotlight. Eager to attract more customers, we had the foresight to get approval for and print licensed designs on our picks. “The Simpsons” license was one of our first printed designs. Thanks to this unique branding approach, we found more distributors and began exporting with greater success. Licenses for other media flowed in, including “South Park” and the sub-licenses for the Elvis and The Beatles names.
To complement this innovation, we added more guitar accessories to our product line, including designed guitar straps, music manuscript bags and pick pouches. Our dream was quickly becoming a reality.
Choosing the right branding campaign.
Today, we are the leading licensed guitar accessories company in the world. Much of our success is due to our international branding campaign. We decided to first penetrate the Western-influenced marketplaces, where a majority of our customers spoke English. After we established a reputation in these markets, we tackled the global scene. By taking advantage of trade shows in different corners of the world, we were able to attract customers from non-English-speaking
Paramount to the efficient penetration and development of a strong international brand has been our relationship with the suppliers and distributors of our product. By staying attentive and dependable – we try to meet every request with the utmost importance – we have established a number of healthy relationships. As a result, suppliers are efficient in accommodating changes to our orders.
This is important because a short supply of goods or repeat late deliveries can be detrimental to the reputation of our company. The well-researched distributors have a good market share in their countries of origin. They are also the best source for effective advertising tools.
From an obscure concept in 1990 to a global enterprise in 2007, we have maintained an ever-evolving product and continue to hold our customers’ interest. To date, we have sold in excess of 17 million guitar picks in 18 countries. Through hard work and dedication, we took our zany idea and grew into a global provider of quality guitar accessories. None of this would have happened had we not been entrepreneurs and risk-takers at heart.