Growth Through Creating a Community (2014 Summer NAMM)

Mike and Andrew Nehra run Vintage King Audio, a recording retailer that grosses nearly $40 million annually. The business keeps growing by uniting a community of audio professionals. “We just came off our best quarter ever as a company last quarter,” Mike said. “We had 20-percent growth last year.” The Nehras shared their strategy and unique business philosophy with NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond during the NAMM Retail Summit at 2014 Summer NAMM.

Highlights from the video:

On their customer base:
“There’s a massive amount of users now that want to learn about [recording],” Mike said. “They’ve already got the recording bug, and they want to know about the great things from the past and how to use it with the present digital things that they already understand.

“So our role is to educate them, give them this community and lifestyle ….”

On creating community:
“We really get to engage with a lot of the people who have inspired us,” Andrew said. “They’re inspiring generations. We hold panels and events all the time. The community’s embedded.

“We’re really hands-on with development in different things. We’re listening to the community and what they want. And they’re our friends, and they’re our clients.”

On creating a culture of excitement:
“We’re not a box-shifter,” Mike said. “We spend a ton of time educating our salesmen. If I sound spirited about this, they’re more spirited about it. They’re crazy over it. That hopefully transfers through our phone calls and in-person with our customers one on one.”

On creating a brick-and-mortar environment:
“In Nashville, for example, we have a really intimate location,” Andrew said. “We try to do more of a boutique-style environment where you can come and hang out and try things—where it’s not a typical retail situation.”

“It felt like a natural extension of our website and what we are,” Mike added.

​“We have Vintage King Nashville and Vintage King Los Angeles. We’re trying to make them just warm environments where you can demo gear. When you walk in, they’re not so point-of-sale. Of course, we would love people to take things, buy things. But if you walk in, they look kind of like recording studios.”

On Vintage King’s philosophy:
“Before the cloud existed, we were already developing our business in the cloud," Andrew said. "Because we always thought, ‘Well, we’re going to be on the road. We’re going to be playing.’

“There’s even great technologies now where people are creating music being in different cities and exchanging files. We’re living in world that’s become a smaller place. So connection is the key word. We’re all connected.”