As if that wasn’t enough, the team also provides event production for conferences, awards ceremonies, brand activation events, and private functions, including live streaming options.
While the Fabtronic name is well known, you may be a little less familiar with Tech For Music (stylised as techformusic), a subsidiary brand launched in 2019 to handle the sale of DJ and music production gear.
In reality, the genesis of the brand goes back a lot further. One of techformusic’s current owners, Murray Dunkley, worked at Fabtronic after leaving school and eventually went on to launch the Fabtronic DJ Store in 1996, teaming up with Kerry Dunkley and Mel Henderson.
Initially focussed on selling Fabtronic products exclusively, the store soon began selling DJ gear from other manufacturers, with some key early suppliers being Martin, Abstract, Citronic, Gemini, and JEM.
Since this early inception, the store has moved five times, all within the Northampton area, before arriving at the current unit, which includes a huge customer-pleasing showroom, as well as Fabtronic’s warehouse, offices and workshop.
Keen to give the Fabtronic store its own identity, especially online, the techformusic brand was unveiled in April 2019. “We chose a name that conveys exactly what we do, along with a new logo that appeals to our target audience,” explained Ian Watson, Sales and Marketing Manager.
Despite techformusic being distinguishable from Fabtronic, with its own team and brand identity, Ian said that “each side complements the other with our ability to see and purchase new technologies and having access to the latest professional equipment.”
Still, launching a new brand and ensuring you don’t lose the trust you’ve already gained with customers is always tricky, and the team faced some challenges early on in the process.
“Initially it was the marketing of the business; getting customers through the door,” Ian told us. “But we faced further challenges when setting up the website. Training our staff on ecommerce and how to get the website noticed online was vital, and we knew we needed to look beyond our local area and reach DJs across the UK. So we kept it simple, made branding our priority and continued to provide the best customer service.”
With Ian and sales consultant Ryan Leivers at front of store, customers are not only guaranteed a warm welcome but can tap into the wealth of experience that the sales team brings to the table. “As working DJs, they know what DJs want. They have a friendly approach and want to give customers a positive in-store experience,” explained owner Murray Dunkley. “You only have to look at our reviews to see that we’re doing it right.”
Experienced in mobile DJ and club/pub work, both Ryan and Ian have been DJing since their mid-teens, with a love for house music but very much considering themselves open-format DJs who play for the crowd. Ryan also works as a presenter on local radio stations.
“It’s so important for sales staff to be highly knowledgeable on the equipment they’re selling, or even better be users themselves,” said Ian. “We find that customers immediately become more trusting when they know you’re a DJ or that you come from that background.”
Perhaps the store’s crowning jewel is its showroom, considered the best in the UK by some sales reps, who often bring overseas clients/owners to experience products in a space that has that 'wow' factor. Visitors can expect a warm welcome – made warmer with a cup of tea or coffee – and impartial advice from the team.
The techformusic team always strives to have one of each product they stock on display in the showroom, ready to be seen, heard or touched. “We like our customers to feel relaxed in our showroom, able to try equipment before they buy, and know we are their go-to place for accessories and consumable items too,” Ian told me.
Customers can also get involved by attending in-store events, such as the recent All Systems GO series, which showcase three suppliers (one each from the sound, lighting and DJ gear sectors). “We’ve had two very successful All Systems GO events and are now working on the third,” said Ian. “It’s very tricky choosing when and what sort of time to put them on, but so far we’ve achieved strong turnouts.”
Like so many other companies we’ve spotlighted in this magazine, Covid presented significant challenges. “The pandemic obviously had a negative effect on the hire, event and installation side of the business,” explained Murray. “However, the retail side saw massive growth during this period. We were lucky enough to have everything in place to enable us to continue operating and communicating with customers. This resulted in a big uptake in online orders.”
There were some positives when it came to the showroom, too. The pandemic forced techformusic to divide the space into two separate areas, but it’s a change they’ve stuck with. These days, visitors will find a dedicated demonstration area for speakers and lighting, and a separate area for DJ controllers, mixers, monitors, production gear, microphones, and accessories.
The pandemic was also when the company’s website really came into its own. With shops closing their doors and consumers reliant on the internet for obtaining non-essential items, the team saw a big increase in online sales.
The techformusic website appeared as part of the brand launch in April 2019, so only a year before the pandemic – lucky timing, some might say. Ian calls the website “extremely vital” and the team works hard each day to keep the site up to date with the latest gear at the best possible price, as well as offering different payment methods such as 0% finance and PayPal ‘Pay in 3’.
“We’ve learnt a lot about SEO [search engine optimisation] and how important that is for successful ecommerce, but we still have so much more to learn to make the website even better,” he said.
With the store and website to manage, it’s a wonder Ian and Ryan find time to keep up with social media – an essential aspect of any modern company’s marketing strategy. YouTube is a particular focus, where you’ll find product videos that showcase the latest gear and its best features, driving online sales and encouraging in-store visits. The team tries to create videos as often as possible, but finding the time to film, edit and upload them can be challenging. However, it’s clear that they’re made with love and knowledge, and Ian knows that customers will be more likely to watch a product video than read a long list of features and specifications.
You’ll also find techformusic on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (renamed X), but they’ve also recently ventured into the world of TikTok (“we’re still trying to get up to speed with it and how it all works from a business point of view”) and Instagram’s new platform Threads [more about this on page 44].
In terms of paid social media, the focus is on Facebook, where they run sponsored posts that drive traffic to the website and create conversions and purchases.
Whilst the online side of the business is clearly going well and driving sales, it’s always been the in-store experience that has provided the biggest chunk of revenue, and in an age when the focus of retail is very much online, the team is understandably proud of that. “Immediately after Covid the footfall in the showroom was slow but I would say it is back to normal now,” said Ian. “We have always had a good percentage of our sales come from in-store sales and that is what we thrive on.”
techformusic also offers dry hire services on DJ gear, sound, lighting and special FX equipment, which can be a real godsend for mobile DJs and other entertainment professionals who are taking on bigger events and need the extra gear to make that possible.
Importantly, the service also allows techformusic to offer certain equipment on loan – for example if you’ve bought an item that’s faulty and needs to go back to a supplier for warranty repair. This means mobile DJs and other customers can fulfil their gig commitments and continue operating as normal until their gear comes back from repair.
So, with an eventful but successful four years under their belt, what’s next for techformusic? According to Ian, the team is keen for the company to keep growing organically, as it has done ever since it launched. The size of the stockroom has already doubled, allowing techformusic to fulfil more orders and keep more happy customers coming back.
“We have more staff in our warehouse now as well, which has freed up more of my time,” Ian told us. “We’re also working on new websites for both techformusic and Fabtronic, so watch this space!”
For more information about techformusic, check out their:
And for a virtual tour of the showroom, head to:
The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 121, Pages 28-32.