It all started about 5 years ago. It was just few months after my 30th birthday. I wanted to start learning the guitar for a while now, but there was always something more important, so I didn’t made the move. But because I just turned 30 and I was in the beggining of a middle age crysis I decided to go for it and I bought my first guitar.
It was Ibanez model GRG 170 DX BKN and a little MG 10 CF Marshall amp. But you know how it is – the guitar is just a beggining, suddenly you realize that there is a lot of things that you have to have. So I started to visit the guitar shop regularly. Soon I noticed that the guitars and accesories and are very coservative or even simply dull when it comes to design.
I shared this observation with a friend and it turned our he also had the same feelings about this. We started talking about the situation and we decided that we will try to do customizations by ourselfs.
The plan was ready, so we bought our first guitar (it was the Jolana Proxima I) with the idea to change her look completely including the laquer. We took it apart and started working with the body so it would be ready for the new paint. I remember that the body sanding was quite a big task, specially when it comes to hand sanding. It took me a while to get rid the old laquer. So after the guitar was laquer free, we started the painting. But as you may guess painting turned out to be a total failure. We coudn’t make the proper laquer spread and there always were some stains and bumps. This was a classic thing with the YouTube tutorials. They only looks simple when you watch how someone else is doing the work. Painting turned out to be far, far beyond our skill reach. The poor Jolana has never been put together again, and her parts will lie somewhere in the depths of the basement to the end of time.
So first leasson learnt – we are not skilled enought to make modifications by ourselfs.
In the meantime I was working on our company name. When I was thinking about the name I was looking for something that will fit the: flames and iron style and will also describe what we are doing. Since our plan was to remake the items in our own way I finally came up with the name: “Reforged”.
This simple word made a lot of very important changes in my life and guided me very well for the last couple of years. In the near future I would like to tell you more about this for sure. But for the purpose of this post the short version should be enought.
After that we made another try to change the world of dull accesories. The plan was to change the look of a hardshell Gator case. But this time we hired a specialist (airbrush artist) to implement our ideas. The idea was simple – we wanted to change the look of a standard black case to something that would be awesome to have. So we asked the guy to make a hot rod flames and put them on one side of the case. We also made our logo (Reforged) cut from steel and painted black and we put it on the case. The final effect was simply awesome and we were very proud of it. We still are, despite the fact that to this day we wasn’t able to sell the case. Maybe we are the only ones who think that this case is awesome case? And what you think?
We put some money in this case, so we decided that we won’t make any other things before we sell this one, so we paused this part of the business.
The next step for us was the idea that it would be awesome to start working with vintage guitars and bring the forgotten ones back to live. We were planning to make a little renoviation works and simple fixes and reselling the guitars.
So, for the start we bought some cheap guitars, mostly Defils (made in Poland) and Jolanas (made in Czech Republic) and we started to working with them. The work was simple: disassemble all parts of the guitar, clean them, put it all together, make nice photos and put in our shop.
Soon we had our first sales. That few first sales were awesome news, because this was a proof that this guitar shop could be a real thing.
After first few sells, I had to go on 3 months unpaid leave from the software house I was working on (you can read here why). Thanks to that I had a lot of time to work with guitars and I learned a lot about how guitars are built and which parts are crucial and which are not. This knowledge was and still is crucial when it comes to buying guitars.
In the meantime my business partner got the news that he will be a father. It was obvious that he won’t have the time to work on the shop, so after the talk we decided that I’m taking over the business.
From now on I was on my own with the shop and the Reforged brand.
Because I believed (and still do) that there is a lot of potential in kind of business I decided to continue building the shop. Before I started working on the store again, I made some ground rules which were supposed to help me bulding the shop in my own way.
- I will be buying only guitars I like, not the ones that are popular. The weirder the better.
- Every month I will invest some money to buy guitars, pay for luthiers services and the shipping.
- Every Euro I will earn from selling guitars I will invest to buy more guitars.
- Each item on my shop will have a high resolution photos and very detailed description which will show the actual condition of the item.
- In contact with people from whom I will buy guitars, I will never underestimate the value of the items to buy them cheaper.
- I will never left any of my clients who had any problem with the purchased item from my shop without a support. I will always look for a win / win solution from any situation.
So time was passing by and I was buying and selling guitars and slowly but surely my shop started to grow. From month to month and sale to sale I had more and more guitars in my stock. Also guitars I was able to buy were better and better and many of them started to be really nice sounding instruments.
Now, 5 years later, I have 45 guitars in my store and during these 5 years I sold and sent my guitars to people around the world.
It’s really amazing to me because I always had a problem with savings. My friends were always saying that I’m the Golden Consumer. No matter how much I earned, at the end of the month my account was empty and often even on debt. Well to be honest my account is still empty but now at least I have some money in guitars, so when I really need it I can use them.
But the most important thing this store gave me was courage and hope to for living on my own. This small store greatly contributed to my decision to leave the regular job and I am very greatful for this.
So, if you always wanted to start something of your own just remeber that you don’t have to have much money or time to start the business. All you need is a bit of perseverance and honesty. The great thing is that you can easily take care of any small business without giving up your regular job, so you don’t have to take a big risk on the start. And who knows, maybe your small business will grow quickly and you will be able to take care of it full time? I think it is worth a try.
My main shop you can find here: reforged-guitars.com
You can also find my guitars on Reverb here:
My main guitar shop is on here:
or on eBay here.
You can hear some of my guitars on my YouTube channel here.