Things 4 Strings Blog

Better Skills, Greater Joy: Posts from our String Studio

Brief Business History of Things 4 Strings LLC

2008: Violin/Violist and teacher Ruth Brons founds Things 4 Strings LLC, confident she and her mother, cellist and teacher Martha Brons, had developed a solution to a fundamental music education challenge of the bow hold for the beginning string player. First investment: intellectual property (IP) protection.

2009: Potential customer base established via advance marketing on social media and trade conferences. Investments in model digitization and tooling design. Achieved USA manufacturing for all product and packaging components: Made in USA! E-commerce website launches, offering Things 4 Strings® Bow Hold Buddies® & CelloPhant® accessories. Editorial features in several trade magazines, including The Strad Magazine, Strings Magazine and The American String Teachers Association Journal.

2010: US awards four Trademarks. First investments in industry publication/social media ads & featured reviews in trade publications nurture brand. Award of three European Design Registrations.

2011: US awards three Design Patents. Initiates dealer relationships with US and international retailers. New product introduced: Hold Fish® accessory.

2012: Retained Export Liaison builds export strategy & distribution network expands to serve over 50 countries, including Europe, the UK and Australia. US awards Utility Patent.  USA distributor assigned. Ruth's husband Steve Kimmons joins the team to manage increasing order volumes. New product introduced: discounted Things 4 Strings® Studio Kits.

2013: Enter Asia market & retain Sales Agent in China & Product Specialist in Hong Kong.  Ruth’s daughter, violinist/violist Rosalie Dumas joins team as Product Specialist, for a three generation presence at local and international trade events. Winner of local West Orange, NJ “Invention Lives!” contest. Continued conference activity brings total number of local, national and international exhibits since launch to over 50.

2014: Invested in responsive-design website re-launch. Website landing pages created in eight foreign languages, to better serve our global market.  NJ Family Business of the Year Semi-Finalist. Leading Woman Entrepreneur NJ Finalist. Product package re-design completes Phase One of Shipping Optimization Program. Patents awarded in Mexico and Australia. New product introduced: Things 4 Strings ® Magic Rosin®.

2015: Reflecting acceptance of Things 4 Strings® accessories as a main stream teaching tool in this conservative industry, American String Teachers Association awards Ruth Brons the prestigious national Kudos Award: “Kudos to Ruth Brons, and thanks to her for the tremendous impact she has had on music education in our string world!”  NJ Family Business of the Year Semi-Finalist. Product demo tour to over 50 shops in Colorado and California. Phase One & Two of re-tooling investment complete. Studio Kit package re-design completes Phase Two of Shipping Optimization Program. First product knock-offs appear in China.

2016: SBA NJ Business Action Center awards NJ STEP Grant in support of our activities at five international trade events. Start work with export.gov to identify trade partners in new markets. Phase Three of re-tooling investment completes Production Cost Reduction Plan. China Trademarks awarded; Chinese copy-cat patent successfully invalidated through litigation.  Honored sponsor of the European String Teachers Association International Conference (Slovenia). Canada Patent Issued. Russian website landing page added. NJ Family Business of the Year Finalist.

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European String Teachers Association (ESTA) International Conference!

 

ESTA Slovenia is looking forward to hosting everyone at the forthcoming International ESTA-Conference in Ljubljana (European Green Capital 2016) from 26th to 30th April 2016:

"String instruments have been a major part of our European musical heritage for over a thousand years. Slovenia has always been at the crossroads of Slavic, Romance and Germanic culture. What could be more eloquent and appropriate than to describe the theme of the Conference as “the common heritage of all European peoples”?"

 

Things 4 Strings LLC is a proud Bronze Sponsor of this event. Things 4 Strings inventor and president Ruth Brons is looking forward to meeting her teaching colleagues at this event!

Things 4 Strings LLC is thankful and proud to have been awarded a grant (link to blog) through the NJ Step program to through the U.S. Small Business Administration's New Jersey Business Action Center.

The grant partially offsets the costs of this year's conference exhibitions, including the upcoming ESTA event, in support of New Jersey state trade and exports of products Made in the USA.

 

 

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Featured

Spring Cleaning!

(re-printed from our Spring 2015 Newsletter):

Hands down, this the favorite studio activity of the year.

At the first lesson or class after March 21st, I simply put some lemon oil or rubbing alcohol on cotton balls or small pieces of paper toweling.

The lemon oil is to clean "anything that's brown and shiny," andthe rubbing alcohol is to clean "anything that's black or silver."

I have been doing this for 30+ years, and am still amazed by how much the children enjoy and take pride in the shape and beauty of their most prized possession. Luthiers will tell you all that is needed is a daily wiping with a clean, soft cloth, but this once a year deep-clean brings the instruments back to their just-bought shine.

BTW, Things 4 Strings accessories are "dishwasher" safe -- or good with just a little soap and water!

 

 

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Cellophant works for me too!

 

 I’ve been a cellist all my life, but about two years ago had an injury playing a rather robust piece and believe I tore a ligament. After playing for more than 18 months with constant pain, (even after a 2 month rest) with exrays and suggestions that I was suffering from arthritis (I am not) I was ready to give up my spot in the civic orchestra. I would come home and have to splint my hand for two nights until it felt better.

 I accidentally stumbled upon your Cellophant and thought about it for about six months before I saw one at Groth Music in Minneapolis and impulsively purchased it. I installed it and honestly I feel like I am playing with training wheels. Yet, even with it’s astonishing bright pink color (the only one they had) I haven’t received too many comments from other players—I notice it more than they seem to.

  I am constantly changing my grip to try and figure out how to best hold the darn thing! But the changes to my grip are just what I’ve needed. I think I am using other muscles in the process. 

 And as I try to figure it out, I play in a number of different ways. It really has taken the strain off the area that has been so painful.  I realized the other day that I’ve misplace my splint! I don’t have pain during or after practice, rehearsal and performances. I’ve just finished practicing for about an hour running some difficult passages again and again and here I am typing to you.

 So, there is a market for folk like me who are semi-pro or recreational players and who might have sustained a repetitive injury.  For sure they will find a Cellophant will keep me, and them, in the game!

Thanks for your invention,

Peg Thomas
Minneapolis
Cellist
www.chapelstrings.com

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The NAMM Show, Annaheim, CA Jan 21 - 24, 2016

For those of you who will be at NAMM 2016 this January,

and if you have not done so already,

please let us know: we would love to meet with you!

Simply email Claire (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) your preferred appointment date and time.

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