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Wear Your Music

Wear Your Music

2019 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest Alumni Choice Award Winner

2019 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest Alumni Choice Award Winner

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An image of Wear Your Music founder, Hannah Garrison.

How one artist's garbage is another artist's treasure

It all started when musician friends came to visit Hannah Garrison’s home. They would come by to play, and after they’d leave, she’d find a trail of worn-out guitar strings in their wake. A jeweler by trade, Hannah started using the leftover strings to create bracelets. Soon, she launched a business selling those bracelets and, in the process, has made the world just a little cleaner.

Tell us more about your business?

Wear Your Music makes guitar string bracelets, but in the bigger picture, we’re trying to green the music industry. Guitar strings aren’t technically recyclable. We estimate 26 sets of used guitar strings equal one pound of discarded metal, which is over a million pounds of guitar strings that end up in landfills every single year. We estimate that we remove more than 10,000 pounds of guitar strings every year from the waste stream by turning them into bracelets. Now it’s become a much bigger project as we source guitar strings used by famous artists all over the world, from Metallica to Eric Clapton to James Taylor to John Mayer. Then we take a portion of the profits that are raised in the sales of these bracelets, and we donate them to charity. The charity is selected by the musicians themselves.

 

How did you launch?

I was selling at different farmers markets and festivals, and I noticed there was an incredible amount of attention paid to my guitar string bracelets. I later met with the head of a jam band magazine, and since he had the music industry connections, I pitched him the concept of making bracelets out of famous musicians’ guitar strings. That was the genesis of the business.

 

How did you develop the know-how to get started?

I grew up working in my aunt and uncle’s store on Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island — so, basically working in sales. There’s a lot of sweat equity in entrepreneurship, and I grew up seeing that, so it wasn’t unnatural for me to put in hard work very early on.

 

What does this FedEx Small Business Grant mean to you?

For me, it wasn’t solely about the grant money, but also the opportunity to get in touch with a community of entrepreneurs. I have hopes of finding others who are at a similar stage with their businesses as I am.

 

3 Small-Business Tips for Success

Navigating the path for your small business is a constant learning process. Here are Hannah’s top tips.

  1. Prioritize Organization and Time Management
    Hannah says, “The better you are at time management and organization, the more successful you will be. I don’t know any successful entrepreneur who is bad at organization. It’s something you should prioritize early on.”

  2. Take Care of Your Mental Health
    According to Hannah, your output as an entrepreneur and the profitability of your business are directly related to your mental health, so make self-care a priority.

  3. Find Time for Freeform Thinking
    Hannah says, “Every morning I take a two-to four-mile walk. It’s the time when I do my best thinking. It’s just one foot in front of the other. It’s a freeform structure that I wouldn’t be able to have if I worked a 9–5 job. I always make sure to carve out time that is single-task oriented, which is essential for entrepreneurs, because so much of your time is spent multitasking.”

 

FedEx Small Business Grant winners like Hannah are doing creative and exciting things in their businesses. See more inspirational winner stories and get insights for business success from past grant winners, plus other entrepreneurs and small-business experts.