The Internet helps us with every aspect of the business: reaching consumers and distributors, making information about our guitars easily accessible, and building our community of fans. After winning the Guitar of the Year Award in 2012, social media helped us get the word out. Global platforms like YouTube also help us to easily share information that can be difficult to capture in writing or through pictures, such as our artists’ stories.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Staying innovative. It’s hard work, but without constant innovation, we can’t compete. The Internet is an incredibly important source of information for product research and development. Plus it offers a way to easily and quickly seek input from people around the world. It’s effective because it’s available to anyone with a connection and the barriers to entry are low. We produce just 100 guitars a month, so we have room to iterate and create really great products with the right input.
For example, my first guitar, the Mr D Squirrel series, had a plug-in option for an iPod or iPhone, enabling guitarists to make use of the sound effects provided by Apple’s Garage Band app. I learned about this app online. This innovation means musicians can turn their electric guitars into nearly any other musical instrument with just a little piece of hardware. We are now researching the best way to bring the plug-in option to Android users as well.
The Rick Hanes Band (Doddy Hernanto, Taraz "Triad" Bistara, Donny Suhendra and Joenathan Amanta) playing at Jazz Traffic 2012What does the future hold for Rick Hanes Guitars?
Rick Hanes is still a guest in this country. Above all, I want more Indonesian musicians to fall in love with our guitars and select Rick Hanes over international brands. It would be great to see “Cintai Produk Indonesia” (Love Indonesian Products, a campaign to promote local brands) turn into reality. I think the Internet can help make this happen. Indonesians love social media, so this is a great way for us to build a local following. With millions of young Indonesians coming online for the first time, the future looks bright not just for us, but for all music lovers.