Fiddlershop: Converting Content Marketing to Sales

Pierre Holstein

How YouTube Videos Built a Classical Instrument Business

From popular YouTube tutorials to a thriving business selling affordable, well-made instruments

2018 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest Bronze Prize Winner
Fiddlershop
Pompano Beach, FL  

Pierre Holstein playing violin

Fiddlershop’s story began with a blog.

Pierre Holstein, a professional musician from Sweden, moved to Florida and started his website fiddlerman.com. He used the blog to share homemade YouTube videos offering violin tutorials and advice for musicians at all levels. As the website’s following grew, Pierre noticed his viewers repeatedly asked for advice on what instruments to buy and where to buy them.

Soon came Pierre’s lightbulb moment. He noticed the ads served on his website drove to discounted musical instrument vendors. On a whim, Pierre visited these websites; he purchased low-cost violins and set to work testing them and creating product reviews. He quickly realized how poorly the violins were set up, and he knew he could do better. It was then that Fiddlershop was born.

Pierre and his son Michael launched the business in 2012, selling inexpensive violins online and in their local shop. They ordered the instruments from workshops overseas, and then worked out of their home perfecting the setup of the violins before shipping the final products off to customers. Fiddlershop is unique among American instrument shops in that it ships its instruments to customers fully assembled, using a cardboard shipping insert to protect them in transit.  

“Most people don’t realize the difference a properly set up instrument can make,” said Michael. “It makes the instrument last longer, easier to play and makes a big difference in how it sounds.”

As they found their market, Fiddlershop moved operations to a warehouse and expanded to sell other stringed instruments like violas, cellos and basses. Now they sell 4,000 stringed instruments per year; 98 percent of their sales come from e-commerce.

“We can offer consumers better instruments at a way more affordable cost than competitors,” according to Pierre.

Pierre credits the high quality of his instruments in part to the fact that so many of his employees are musicians themselves. Additionally, they travel the world sourcing the instruments. Pierre and Michael have visited more than 100 workshops internationally, where they test instruments in person and identify the best suppliers.  

“Only the best leave our workshop,” says Michael. “It’s our priority. My father has tested every single instrument that we sell. That’s something that no one else can claim.”

Find out more about our yearly contest and our past winners here.

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