To see part I of this interview click here.

Jason Ranalli:  Considering all the things that need to be done in order to run a business across a number of different disciplines, how do you two break that up?

Jen Anderson: The production and the back end of business is me. Madeleine is the face of our brand, picks out the fabrics, and takes most of the pictures for social media.

Madeleine Anderson:  I’m kind of like the pop-culture tie-in.

JA:  Madeleine legitimizes our business because she is our musician; so when she gets a new instrument or she is the learning something, that’s what we are sharing.  If she’s playing somewhere she is carrying her GiGY Bag. It’s fun to share how she grows as a musician and what’s happening with her.

JR:  You are actually using the stuff out at gigs and not just in your living room?

MA:  Yes! I also take the bags to school sometimes.JenMad2-4 Gig bags designed by musicians, essentially.

JA:  We talked to retail professionals, her guitar teacher and other musicians to see how we could make them better. And we considered what I liked and didn’t like as a parent, even though I don’t play.

JR:  I’ve heard you say multiple times, on your website, etc that, “we’re learning as we go.”

If you had to pick one or two of the biggest lessons you learned on this kind of journey with this business what would they be?

MA:  Not that this isn’t an already known fact, but definitely the larger leaps you take the more you get back and that’s pretty obvious. We actually really went out of our comfort zone and did this one business event….

JA:  It was a “Sell It To The Sharks” contest in Bucks County that was sort of like “Shark Tank” on TV and that was really cool.

MA:  We actually won.

JR:  Congratulations!  So you didn’t get chewed up alive by the “sharks”?

JA:  No, it was a really great experience.

JenMad2-1MA:  It was nice because there was no trading, they didn’t even ask her for any percentage of the company or anything like that.

JR:  I have taken some of these same leaps of faith that were out of my comfort zone with my own business and they can really pay off.

JA:  And sometimes you get surprised.  We originally thought the guitar cases would be our big draw, but the ukulele cases ended up being a big attraction. We observed what was happening and going with what our customers were telling us they wanted

JR:  So I guess another lesson you learned is to go into it with an idea but be flexible enough that your business model can change slightly depending on how it evolves.

JA:  Yes! Because we are a small business we can evolve and react quickly.

JR:  What would be one or two of the things that have driven the most growth in some aspect of your business?

JA:  From a social media perspective, it’s paying attention to what’s working and then putting your energy there. For us, Instagram is where we were getting a lot of engagement and the community is really supportive so that’s where we spend a lot of our time. When you have limited resources you really have to focus your energy.

JR:  So use of Instagram has been a bit of a boom as far as growth.

JA:  I think for our businesses Instagram is a good fit because it‘s visual and fun. I think people go on Instagram to relax; that’s when they take a break from their day.

JR:  Do other social media platforms such as Facebook serve you similarly?JenMad2-1

JA:  Facebook, I feel, is a bit different in the way that people use it. We want to have a strong presence on Facebook because think people go to Facebook for recommendations from their friends. Instagram is really about just having fun.

JR:  I found that the Instagram community is really supportive and engaging and I was really surprised by that when I started on social media.

MA:  We first started on Instagram engaging with the ukulele community and then we had a couple people who reached out to see if we would sponsor their contests. It great because it introduced us to other people so that was really fun.

JR:  It really is because you’re kind of broadcasting out there and casting this net and just kind of seeing what comes back as you talk to other people.

MA:  And it’s so fun to engage with other people. We see someone sharing a cool tutorial, of course, we are going to share that with our audience because that’s what you’re looking for.

JA:  One other contributor to our growth and one that is overlooked at times is just getting out there and meeting people. We did a few shows this summer like the XPN Music Festival. The shows are just great for meeting people and getting their feedback. I always ask,  “What’s your favor color? Which one do you like?” Even if someone doesn’t need a gig bag right then it’s the perfect place to learn about what their needs are. Now we have this list of instruments that people want us to make GiGY bags for, like violin and flute.

So I think getting out there and really talking is another big contributor.

JR:  With regards to social media, how do you manage to keep that consistency of content and just keep it going?

JenMad2-5MA:  We normally have a photo shoot every Saturday or Sunday on the weekend. Sometimes we either go in the backyard or will take a road trip and go behind a school or something and you get all these kinds of cool shots in random places.  That’s basically how we keep up with our consistency.

JA:  We’ll take all the pictures for the week in one day because during the week it’s hard for Madeleine with school work and other commitments.

We post almost every day then that’s also the time that we engage with everybody else. It’s a two-way street. Let’s put out what’s new for us today but let’s see what everybody else is up to as well.

JR: Yeah, you have to engage people and support them too.  It’s not just about throwing your stuff out there.

JA: There are so many people out there that are posting daily tutorials and cool posts – all kinds of great content..

Shopify, our e-commerce host, gives us statistics on which platforms people are coming from and how much time they are spending on our site. We have found that the people coming from Instagram to our site are spending twice as much time as anyone else. That helps give us insight to where our community is and where we should be spending our time.

More to follow – watch this space for the third part of this interview.

To see more of Jen, Madeleine, and GiGY head over to www.gigystuff.com

Makeup done by Kyle Nagle

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