June Emerson Wind Music was officially launched on May 1st 1971 from a house in St.Albans, Hertfordshire, England. June had been an active freelance bassoon player and teacher until her children were born in 1967/68. This was just at the time when teaching of wind instruments in schools was beginning to take off in the UK. Many friends, who were also teachers, were finding it difficult to get music for students as music shops kept very little repertoire. To fill this need June decided to start a mail-order specialist sheet music business for wind players. She had a starting capital of £11.23 and a great deal of enthusiasm, having developed a great love of handling printed music when librarian of the Edinburgh Rehearsal Orchestra (now The Rehearsal Orchestra).
Her first catalogue was compiled from lists of recommended music by friends who were teachers, and about 50 copies were mailed out. At this time she had no stock of music whatever. As soon as the orders started coming in she would buy in copies from the publishers for the customers and a spare copy of each title for the shelf. In this way the stock was built up, copy by copy, of music that customers really wanted. The stock now stands at over 50,000 works, so the experiment was obviously a success.
Specialist sheet music stock
We order from a selection of over 1,000 publishers and suppliers worldwide (as necessary) at least 3 times per week, which ensures a regular and speedy replenishment of stock. We always charge the recommended retail price (RRP) as set by the publisher/supplier, unless no trade discount is offered in which case we impose a minimal mark-up to avoid financial loss. Music from overseas is priced according to the exchange rate at the time of delivery (except US publications, which are converted $-£ to cover enormous shipping costs!)
The Business Ethos
We make a point of treating our customers as friends, as indeed many of them have become, concentrating on the quality of the service we provide rather than how much money we can make. The bottom line is, of course, a consideration as a matter of survival, but not our prime concern. We will often do something at a loss, just to help a musician in a crisis. We know from years of experience that the goodwill created in this way far outweighs any financial loss.
Why we're different
We think, and our customers reinforce this idea, that we are different because we are specialised, friendly and give a speedy and knowledgeable service. General music shops are just not able to give the service that we provide as they can’t keep such a comprehensive stock of specialist sheet music.
Our customers include music conservatoires worldwide, music schools, orchestras, and professional musicians. We provide music for teachers, students and many thousands of amateur music-makers. Music is the great international language and removes all barriers between nationalities and age-groups.
We recycle as much as possible, reusing all packaging materials that are still in good enough condition. Our staff members also collect and bring in all recyclable polythene, plastic packaging, cartons, batteries, ink cartridges…you name it, we get it to the recycling centre!
Last, but by no means least - the staff!
We have a happy team of 6 part-time staff at JEWM, some of whom have been with us for a very long time. It’s a good mixture of musicians and non-musicians, with a wide range of skills and abilities. We’re very much like a family, all working closely together but seeing each other through personal ups and downs as well. This is very important as it maintains the friendly and personal service which we extend to our customers. They are:
Rachel Emerson - Partner
John Toll - Accounts
Tracy Battensby - Office Manager
Stewart Thorp - Telephone
Jeremy Durant - Telephone
Alison Hicks - Invoicing & Shipping
also: Sarah Ware - Emerson Edition Printing