Morgan Davies Drums
Today, Dan Chapman, MD of the bespoke drum kit brand Morgan Davies Drums, outlines how he and founder Matt Davies (pictured) built up the business, why they try to stay away from run-of-the-mill components, and what he thinks dealers can do to help bring more homegrown products to market…
How did the company begin and what’s your background in the industry?
In 2006 after suffering an injury that put founder Matt Davies out of work, he spent a lot of time during his recovery researching his passion for vintage drums and restoration on the web.
Once recovered and back on his feet he took a job at a local Brighton drum shop and decided to enroll on a cabinet making course in order to gain practical experience and understanding of the skills required to begin building and restoring drums. By 2008 he’d perfected his signature ply shell process and begun producing bespoke drums for friends and local clients.
I started in the industry 14 years ago working as a junior at The Drum Cavern, part of GAK in Brighton. After seemingly trying my hand at most roles in the business, I eventually settled in to managing the drum store in 2011 and spent a lot of time with Matt discussing his ideas and innovations for new products.
In 2013 I launched my own business Drumsource.co.uk and in 2014 Matt and I agreed to bring Morgan Davies Drums in to the fold. Between us we have over 15 years experience in the industry and have spent around 40 years playing drums!
What do you think dealers can do to help bring more homegrown products to market?
I think this is quite a sensitive subject. I believe that it’s only going to get easier for start-ups and small scale manufacturers to go direct to consumer. However, it’s likely that well established dealers will continue to provide the much needed spring board to accessing strong sales growth for businesses that are looking to scale.
The challenge then becomes creating a profitable strategic partnership for the medium to long term and making sure to avoid ‘channel conflict’. I think dealers have a right to be cautious when considering working with a boutique brand but if they have confidence in the business as well as the product then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t introduce their products to customers as they would any other global brand.
In terms of something specific dealers could offer, I’d probably say ‘time’. Time to genuinely understand the brand, its mission and vision and then scheduling further opportunities to measure and improve sales and marketing efforts. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
How important are international trade shows to companies like yours?
We haven’t committed to anything on this scale just yet. Before we pull the trigger on an international event I’d like us to have made a sizeable impact online in that territory so that we’re potentially able to open negotiations from a stronger position.
How easy is it to source material as a boutique brand?
As with B2C selling, sourcing is also getting easier. As the demand increases from the plethora of new custom shops, more parts suppliers are targeting the industry and also new companies are opening. Opportunities have also been created for people with the skills and resources to fabricate their own parts so you’ll now find a fair few individuals making proprietary hardware and fittings, which is brilliant. It can be pricey though.
On another note, to a degree we believe that as a custom shop, part of the magic of a build is hunting down new and unique materials to use. It’s also important for us to try and stay away from utilising any particularly run-of-the-mill components. We always try to keep it fresh!
Has the demand for customised kits increased over the past few years?
Yes, it’s definitely increased. Supply seems to have fuelled demand and there’s certainly no shortage of supply. There are some really fantastic boutique drum makers and custom shops popping up all around the world and consumers these days want choice which is certainly what they’re getting. There’s something for every budget and specification.
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