​How to Rock Like the Founder of Daisy Rock Guitars

Desireé Duffy  |

The desire to innovate and strike out on one’s own as an entrepreneur is never easy. Being the first to do something can be a lonely uncertainty. Let’s face it, walking in someone else’s shoes is much easier than beating down your own path.

I spoke with Tish Ciravolo, the President and Founder of Daisy Rock Guitars. Her company was the first to design and make guitars for women for the mass market. If ever there was an innovator navigating uncharted territory, it was and is Ms. Ciravolo.

You saw a need and decided to fill it, the need for women guitar players to have designs made for them—this is what innovators do. Can you talk about that moment of inspiration and how you implemented it to start your business?

When I started playing bass, the first bass I bought was at a guitar store on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, CA. My boyfriend and I entered the store and the salesman decided what bass I should play, after consulting with my boyfriend, not me. This was because very, very few females went into music stores to buy basses in the early ‘80s. It just didn’t happen.

So, I took the bass home, tried to play it, and took it back the next day. It felt like a baseball bat in my hands. I proceeded to play every single bass in the store until I could find something comfortable. All of them were so heavy to hold and the necks were so thick.

Fast forward 10 years and my husband, Michael Ciravolo who is the President of Schecter Guitars, makes me a bass with a slimmer neck and lighter weight. I could really play that bass comfortably. So, I had endured this problem that every female had dealt with who wanted to play guitar since its invention—how to find something that was comfortable to play for a woman. Fast forward a couple more years and my daughter, Nicole is one and a half years old and does a drawing of a daisy. I then drew a neck and a headstock in the shape of a leaf on the picture. I showed it to my husband and we talked about how we should make guitars for girls, for little girls, that would be easier to play and fun to play. And they should be lighter in weight. That way, we would answer all the problems I had dealt with as a player.

That was how we designed the first Daisy Rock Guitars. The Daisy Rock in Peppermint Pink was the first guitar that matched Nicole’s drawing. And I wrote the first mission statement for Daisy Rock Guitars—doing whatever it takes to get more girls to learn how to play guitar and enjoy music.

You were the first person to make and sell guitars designed for women. You are a trailblazer and being first to the market is often an advantage. What challenges did you face in launching your company?

When I first started, no one thought a girl guitar company would work because they didn’t think that young girls wanted to learn how to play more than air guitar. I had the opportunity to launch my company at the Rockrgrl Conference in Seattle, Washington in October, 2000. I had given birth to my second daughter in March. I had five samples shipped to the show, put up my first pipe and drape display, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

I asked Courtney Love at the closing ceremonies to sign my first Daisy Rock sample and today, that guitar hangs in the NAMM Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad as an innovation to the guitar industry.

When I was leaving the conference, I decided to fly back with the two signed samples and ship the other three guitars back. The three never arrived. When I called the hotel, they watched the security tape and discovered they had two hotel employees steal the three guitars out the back door through a laundry basket. They fired the two employees and the three guitars were never located. My first thought was, if someone was willing to lose their job over stealing my product, I must have created something amazing!

The following January, I displayed the guitars at my first NAMM show, 2001. Over 1000 people came by my booth and all the guys would say something like, “this will never work” and then they would be back in my booth with their wife, or girlfriend, giving me an order. I heard the word “cute” about a 1000 times that weekend. But, I did sell my guitars in the beginning on consignment with the condition that it would go into a music store window. If it did not attract attention or get a new customer for the store owner, I would take the guitar back, free of charge. I NEVER had to take one guitar back.

What challenges do you still face today?

Having had a successful business for 17 years still has its challenges. We are always dealing with complications with shipping and factory turnover. I have had the bigger guitar companies compete with my company and try with different approaches to selling guitars to girls. I always say, the more the merrier. All it will do is grow the demographic.

How do you feel about recent a public statement from VICE magazine reporter Mary H.K. Cjoi that cite St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) as the “first woman ever to create her own electric guitar for the mass market.”?

When you refer to what Annie Clark said from St. Vincent, I realize she is being lied to and manipulated in an industry she doesn’t know anything about. I felt very sorry for her when I saw the interview. She had such a great opportunity to support women in our industry and open more doors for us, which is what I’ve been doing for years. But, she listened to the lies of men and took it serious. Very sad. She should have looked up Bonnie Raitt, Nancy Wilson, The Bangles—the great female players that have made signature series guitars and sold them through mass market channels. Instead, she is being used for corporate greed. Typical.

How are your guitars different than “typical” guitars? What differentiates your product?

A girl guitar is defined only by lighter in weight and slimmer neck profile, not by sound. Daisy Rock Guitars kick butt!

What unique or creative ways do you market your guitars?

Daisy Rock Guitars has always supported the girl rock camps from day one. We hold scholarships and donate one instrument to each camp we can.

You’ve enjoyed support from women guitar players, who are some of the guitarists who perform with Daisy Rock Guitars?

Well, the coolest girls on the planet obviously, but one of my favs is Wanda Jackson, the Queen of Rockabilly. She dated Elvis Presley, played many shows in the 50’s, and she is still playing her Wanda Jackson Signature Wildwood Guitar. The Bangles—coolest girl band EVER! Lisa Loeb, The Veronicas, we have over 600 artists at Daisyrock.com—check them out!

What advice would you give young women and girls who want to play guitar?

Play what you want to do, don’t listen to what other people want you play. Find and listen to your muse. Speak your emotions through music…and practice!

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs and women who want to start their own business?

I really think working with people who do what you want to do is so important; finding a mentor, finding the person that is living your dream, putting your support team together, having someone always in your ear telling you to hang in there. Also, being around people who are smarter than you—and that means listening to what people have to say. I’m always open to someone wanting to tell me what they think I should be doing, even though I think maybe I’ve thought of everything already.

What is on the horizon for Daisy Rock Guitars?

Let’s see, we’ve changed the world for all the girl guitar players out there. I believe the future are ALL the girls that maybe haven’t had the chance to play guitar yet. Let’s build the Girl’s Rock Revolution in every town, every city, every state and every country. We can do it!

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

Comments

Emerging Growth

NXT-ID Inc.

Nxt-ID Inc provides products, solutions, and services that have a need for biometric secure access control. Its lines of business include mobile commerce; law enforcement and biometric access control applications…