May, 17th 2018 Drum! Magazine Article reprinted with permission from:
Andy Foote of Drum Supply House has a birds-eye view of the trends in the drum industry. For nearly 25 years he has offered drum wraps, tools, and supplies to do-it-yourself builders. By keeping an eye on what they order, he has a direct insight into trends in drum building.
THE TRENDS COME AND GO
What trends has he seen in those 25 years? For one, preferences of shell sizes are always changing. The sizes of concert toms, in particular, go up and down. “I’m seeing more single-headed multi-tom setups,” he says. Preferences in finishes also come and go. “Sometimes customers want a custom shade of blue or purple but then the pendulum will swing back to traditional colors or pearl.” Hardware has trends too, Foote says, noting the pendulum is swinging back to classic chrome after powdercoated hardware was a popular for a while.
FROM NASHVILLE TO THE WORLD
Today, Drum Supply House does its business online and with a physical drum shop in Nashville. This allows Foote to service retail customers while also continuing to supply builders and repair drums that are sent to him from all over the country.
“Our drum shop adds the component of drummers coming in the door. We help drummers put things together, do some restorations and wraps, cut bearing edges, and things like that,” he says. And, the custom shop, led by Rob Kampa, can also handle all kinds of special requests from customers.
GATEWAY DRUGS TO DRUM BUILDING
When Drum Supply House started out, it was strictly focused on drum building supplies. But over time Foote has expanded the line of products to augment the business. “Today we sell a lot of drum nerd gear,” he says. “Stuff like beaters and muffling, bells, snares, polish, and keys.” These customers aren’t necessarily drum builders yet, Foote explains, but notes that “accessories are a sort of 'gateway drug' to drum building in our shop”
The drums one builds are only as good as the components they’re made of. But Foote has a challenge convincing some customers to pay a bit more for quality parts and accessories. “There’s more and more competition online and they compete simply on price,” he says. “People vote with their wallet and only later think about the quality. They don’t always recognize the individual, the service, the information, and the products make a difference. There’s great value to these often overlooked aspects and we try to train today’s consumer to recognize it.”