By Malia Durbano
Ross Barrable an acoustic sculptor attended the Leading Edge for Entrepreneur’s Class offered by the SBDC in the winter of 2010 because, “I wanted to learn about business and branding and how to market my wind harps.”
Barrable doesn’t have a store front and recognizes that most of the sales for his high ticket items come by building relationships with potential clients. Barrable creates, “Contemporary sound sculptures, or wind harps, fabricated out of highly resonant metals using the principals of sacred geometry.” The harps, which range in size from 53 inches to 14 feet, are each mounted on metal bases of varying shapes and sizes.
Rich Lindblad, instructor for the Leading Edge course, helped Barrable discover ways to reposition his very unique art work and get recognition nationally and internationally. “We devised a whole marketing approach differentiating between push and pull marketing. Instead of waiting for people to find the web page, we determined who our potential customers are and how to get in front of them.”
The two decided that, “We needed to get this fascinating product into the hands of potential clients.”
They contacted Assisted Living facilities, high end marinas, and boardwalk communities, with a breeze on the water. “The product needed to be out there where it can be visually and auditorially experienced,” explained Lindblad. “We decided to gift the harps to a few communities for six months and then see if we can get them back.” The theory is that they will fall in love with the product and want to keep it. “We will keep playing with the market until we find the right niche.”
Barrable expounds, “Having to submit a business plan got me thinking. I got an expanded understanding of what it takes to really run a business. I learned about the costs of having employees above and beyond their salary. I got a huge reality check.” He chose to recreate how he markets the products. “I got really clear on why I’m doing what I do- it’s for love and passion.”
Barrable spent lots of time cultivating relationships with Landscape Architects. “But, they didn’t get it.” He decided to get on LinkedIn to connect with people who understand the science of sound and the healing effects of music. “I needed to connect with people who resonate with where I’m coming from and who value the importance of bringing healing sound into their environment.
Through LinkedIn, he connected with a man who runs, Water for the World- Ponds for Peace, a 501 (C3) organization. They donate and install water gardens for children’s hospitals and orphanages all over the world. Barrable donated a larger wind harp, which is installed in a meditation garden project in Haiti adjacent to the children’s hospital that was being rebuilt. “It was truly a joy to participate in a project that was more about giving than getting”
Sterling Wind Harps create soothing music as the wind passes through the strings and have an effect similar to listening to flowing water like a babbling brook.
Happy with the new direction in marketing and with the knowledge he gained in the course, Barrable is now moving forward with his Wind Harp sales.