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After completing ACM’s Higher Diploma Music Production course in 2009 and graduating from the Music Production Degree program, Alumni Gary Priestner has gone on to prove that a startup business can be a success, especially when you find your niche.

What have you been up to since leaving ACM?
After finishing my degree at ACM I found that no one was selling guitar leads or studio cables the way I wanted them. They either didn’t have the connectors I wanted, weren’t the right lengths or didn’t have the specifications I was looking for. So in the end I started to order parts to make my own. After creating several guitar and microphone leads I started to realise that I wasn’t the only one looking for bespoke cables, made to specific requirements. I thought, “what’s stopping me from catering to other peoples needs?” SonaChord was born.

First of all I set up an eBay shop and started selling custom guitar and microphone leads around the UK and after significant interest, I started shipping leads around the world. Some going out as far as Russia and Kazakhstan!

On the first of June we officially launched our website (with e-commerce shop) and social media pages which, after a series of small ad campaigns and competitions have gained interest from many musicians and producers. We’ve been steadily increasing sales over the last month, and have been rather busy! Now we’re partnering up with ACM to provide student discounts as well.

What’s been your proudest moment so far?
I think collectively, my proudest moments are when we build little relationships with new customers, where they come to us asking for a high-end guitar lead; “I’ve got a gig on Saturday!” and we’re able to make the order up Friday morning and have it with them the next day. It’s great to hear back from them praising our quick service and letting us know, ” the gig went really well, the lead was great”! I’m proud that we’re a grass-roots, family business and are able to have such close contact with all our customers. It’s great to be able to go to a studio and think, “I built the ‘glue’ that’s linking this all together”.

So what’s on the horizon for 2012/2013?
Short term we plan to continue to grow, increasing our reach throughout the UK and beyond. We’re very excited to be working hand in hand with ACM next year. It’s great to be able to give back after learning so much at ACM.

Ideally, we’d be looking to expand and diversify, hoping to branch out into other areas including custom studio, stage and home install services, and possibly launch our own branded headphones.

Do you have any advice or tips for our current ACM students?
I’d say don’t take the available resources for granted! Make the most of the knowledge, studios and equipment as you will miss it when you’re finished. And as always, Network! Making those important contacts is vital as they will provide you with work later on in your career. Oh, and listen to what the tutors have to say about business!

ACM would like to thank Gary for his time catching us up on his progress and wish him the best for the future. Follow SonaChord on Twitter and Facebook.