International Violin Company - Our 88th year in business,
and Lori's 27th year Anniversary of Ownership.

April, 2021 Blog Post

Where does the time go?  The other day I was attempting to clean my office when I came upon the incorporation papers from when I bought International Violin.  I had to pull out my calculator to confirm it’s been 27 years since I took over IVC. How could that be, I’m still 30! 

I still remember my first day in April of 1994.  I looked around the old warehouse, out dated offices, typewriters, journal books which held the handwritten inventory, orders waiting to be hand typed, and thought “what did I just do?”.  My background was in bond trading, I was used to a trading calculator, fancy office with a view of the harbor, a dictating machine which went right to the word processing department and a plush conference room with catered meals.  Sounds stuffy doesn’t it?  It was!  My voice wasn’t heard often among the men in the room, my suggestions and ideas weren’t taken seriously, and my morning ride in was always dreadful.  I knew I did the right thing but I was scared.  Scared because although I knew I had a vision and a great business background, I didn’t know the violin business.  I was young, eager and determined. 

The first few months after I started I dove right in.   I produced a print catalog, researched computer systems, accepted credit cards, read every violin making book I could,  talked to customers, picked Kenny’s brain and traveled to Europe. 

Upon arriving in Germany, Christian Benker from Hofner picked me up from the train station in Nuremberg and drove me and my friend to Bubenreuth where many suppliers resided.  He gave us an extensive tour of the violin workshops at Hofner, arranged for me to sit with the violin makers, explained how tonewood was chosen, tools were used and sharpened, graduations were made, varnish was applied, accessories were chosen, and sound and tone were evaluated.  After several days he then handed me off to Manfred Gleissner and his son Stefen for a tour of their tonewood business, explanation of grading, and finally a climb through the barn which housed the wood which was drying.  It was such a thrill even though my hands were covered in splinters.  From Gleisner I was taken to several bow shops which included Dorfler, Seifert and others.  Everyone was as curious about me, as I was of them.  Not too many women, if any, were in the wholesale violin business.  My tour continued to Teller where I saw bridges being made, accessories finished, and observed their shipping and distribution, it was fascinating.  My experience was unforgettable and gave me the confidence I needed, and my new found love of warm beer. 

So that brings me to today, April 2021, 27 years later.  No one could have predicted the last year we’ve had.  I’ve never prayed harder for health and safety.  Covid-19 you suck, but I’m grateful for my family, my staff, my friends and my customers.  I appreciate you all for allowing me to do what I love and supporting IVC even when many of you didn’t know how you’d get through it.  Here’s to many more years together.

Gratefully yours,
Lori Kirr

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