Let’s speak to Steve Flower, Sales Manager
Do you have a musical background?
I was not from a musical family but did start playing the piano ahead of the horn. It was slightly by chance that I ended up playing the French horn. I was quite keen to play the trumpet but there was not one at school available. Two boys were sharing a horn to learn, and I was offered a trombone. I put it down to the fact that the other boys were taller, or in fact had longer arms, that we ended up switching so they shared the trombone, and I had the horn. I must have been about 8 at the time.
My parents were both teachers and having started playing at school in Norfolk, I continued through a move to Australia for a short time and then to Devon. Over time I was encouraged to apply to the Junior Royal College of Music and ended up travelling there every Saturday for lessons and Orchestra.
From there I went on to Trinity College of Music to study the horn. I ended up staying there five years through various scholarships that kept me there. Eventually I dropped piano as a second study and stuck just to the horn.
After Trinity I did some teaching for a local music service, but this was an experience that taught me that teaching was not for me! Coming from a background of parents who were both teachers, I knew I did not quite fit this role. I concentrated on freelance performance work and initially worked at Paxmans a couple of days a week as well which was great fun. After a 6-month period in the Israel Symphony Orchestra I eventually returned to Paxmans. When the Managing Director left the company quite suddenly, I was left as one of the most experienced people. I have not looked back and have been the Sales Manager there now for many years!
What is the best thing about your role?
I love the variety of my job and the fact I get to meet and help the very beginners who pick up a horn for the first time, to the leading performers of our day.
I travel normally quite a bit attending the trade shows such as Frankfurt Musikmesse, Music China and the International Horn Society Symposium which is in a different location each year. These events have a great sense of community and you get to meet all the people across the industry from around the world, and lots of horn players!
What sort of customers shop with you?
Our range of products cater for all levels. In 2007 we started the Academy line of horns both for purchase and rental and we also sell second-hand horns. We cater therefore for beginners and students but then have an incredible range of products for the avid amateur who wants to buy into the best product, or for the international performer looking for a very bespoke horn.
Why do people shop with you?
We are the specialist, globally, and so attract customers from around the world. Our shop in London has more of a local market of people buying accessories and horn music as well as the instruments but generally people come to us for our expertise, advice, and specialist products.
What are the plans for the business going forward?
We continue to expand the business and still have lots of opportunity to expand sales abroad, in the US, Asia and elsewhere. We want to continue to spread the word about Paxmans and continue to support and inspire the next generation of horn players.