Kicking off in LA
It all started at the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show in LA last year. I’d wanted to go for ages. It’s where anyone who builds any musical instrument, or accessory for instruments, pedals, DJ equipment etc goes to get their stuff onto the world stage.
I’d always wanted to go and when we got there it felt surreal, but it was pretty cool. It has to be the biggest space I’ve ever been in – the size of 4 aircraft hangers all joined together. We met a lot of really cool people.
The morning it opened we got to our stand and the guy on the stand opposite told us a German Youtuber had just been at our stand doing a video. He’d come in early while no one was about to get a good look at everything, and I couldn’t believe we’d missed him. But a couple of weeks later we had a phone call – he wanted to do a demo of one of our guitars. We built him a blue Carey Elite, sent it over and he absolutely loved it. He produced a 45-minute video of himself with the guitar.
We kept chatting and got onto selling in Germany. The YouTube guy put us in touch with someone, Jens, who worked behind the scenes at a big music company in Germany. We got on really well and he totally understood what we are trying to do as a company.
Expanding into Europe
As fate would have it, Jens was made redundant and though started a new role for another company he was helping us out too – we wanted him on board and persuaded him to work with us full time as our agent in Germany and the rest of mainland Europe. It just made sense. Jens is totally passionate about his role and a real asset to PJD Guitars.
We're already selling guitars through five different dealers in different parts of Germany, plus one in France and more on the way – we're building relationships with other retailers all the time, those who understand the values of PJD Guitars.
I visited Nuremburg at the end of 2019 with my girlfriend – we went to the Christmas market there and, as happens everywhere I go, I searched out some cool guitar shops – it turned out that the first guitar shop I went into in Nuremburg is the first dealer who started selling our guitars in Germany.
We've recently started chatting with a dealer in Bangkok, who has a really cool guitar shop, and by the end of this year we'll be selling from there too, which is pretty exciting.
One of my best friends is Dutch and I'd love to sell in the Netherlands, especially Amsterdam. I love Scandinavia and the Nordic region and we'll be looking at selling there as well.
My favourite country in the world is Japan – it's so different from anywhere else I've ever been. We're looking at building relationships with dealers in Japan and we've lots of other countries in our sights too – watch this space!
Our UK market
Every shop we're in here is fantastic. They get our purpose, and they love the products.
Our UK dealers are great people who totally get where we are with PJD guitars and many of these people are becoming good friends.
When I was a kid growing up in London and started playing guitar, almost every week my mum would take me to Denmark Street and I'd stare at all the guitar shops and spend hours looking around them. Then, when I was older me and Anthony (who I named the Carey after) used to go to a little club on the same street underneath one of the music shops, Regent Sounds. Regent Sounds now stocks PJD Guitars. I just think of myself as a little boy and how amazing it is to have one of those shops selling my guitars.
You can check out all our dealers here.