Let’s meet Rachel Emerson, June’s daughter, who now runs the business.
Do you have a musical background?
I am a horn player; I did music A level and then went onto study music at Manchester University. I love music and have always worked in the industry. After university I worked for the Musicians Diary Service and then for the London Symphony Orchestra for 4 years as Assistant Personnel Manager and then for a Session Orchestra. By 2000 I moved back to Yorkshire, where June Emerson Wind Music is based, and initially just started working a few days a week but by doing this learnt how the business operated. Over the last 10-12 years I have ended up running the business while my mother, June, is now retired, although still has a keen interest in the business!
In addition to supplying a great range of wind and brass music via mail order, we have been publishing music, as Emerson Edition Ltd, since 1972. We also now print other peoples’ publications in-house which allows us to fulfil orders quickly and easily. Our most recent publishing project has been re-issuing the wind and chamber music catalogue of Ruth Gipps, who has become hugely popular in recent years (she was recently Composer of the Week on BBC Radio 3).
What is the best thing about running a business such as June Emerson Wind Music?
Well, I love dealing with our great range of customers, many of whom have become friends over the years. Being a real specialist and providing a great, speedy service to people is very satisfying. Musicians are a wonderful bunch of people!
Who else works at June Emerson Wind Music?
We are a small and friendly team.
Stewart (horn player) and Jeremy (trumpeter) answer the customer phone calls and deal with orders and enquiries. Between them they have a huge amount of knowledge and experience. Always as helpful as possible, we can often hear them singing something to a customer, to try and identify a piece of music!
Nicky deals with email enquiries and sends orders out to all our suppliers. She keeps us entertained with stories of some of the people who come to stay at her guest house. She is a double bass player, but we allow her to work here because she plays the flute as well!
Alison processes the orders and payments, and packages everything up to be posted out to our customers. She does not play an instrument, but we often hear her humming the music she is packaging up.
Sadly in November 2020 our accountant, John, who had been with us for 40 years, passed away leaving us very shocked and saddened. He had been a particularly good friend for a very long time.
What sort of customers shop with you?
We have customers from all around the world. We find as British players travel and play in orchestras and groups abroad, they also help to spread the word about June Emerson Wind Music.
We are a real specialist in wind and brass and the range we have means we attract a lot of professional players, but we also cater for all levels of musicians. We can send music to wherever you are in the world and supply all the top music schools and colleges as well as individuals.
Why do people shop with you?
We are known to be friendly, speedy, and knowledgeable which are some of the main reasons people shop with us! We will go out of our way to track down and obtain even the most obscure pieces of music for our customers.
We source and sell publications from hundreds of different publishers and suppliers from all around the world, so we are well known for our huge range of stock. We do try and keep as much of this music in stock as possible, so we are also famous for quick delivery of orders.
What are the plans for the business going forward?
More recently we launched our digital download service, and we do increasingly see players playing from iPads and requesting music as digital downloads. Our plans going forward in this area are extensive; we are developing our website further to help provide a service as close as possible to browsing music in a shop. This means enabling people to view sample pages and providing videos of content. Not only is there an increasing demand for this but it is also an environmentally friendly way of distributing music. For our own editions, we maintain the same pricing for digital as physical copies and protect the composers as much as possible; other publishers either do the same or pitch the digital price a little lower. The digital music comes with a personalised watermark to help prevent sharing of the download as much as possible.