Unique products and a man on a mission
In some companies, a mission statement may hang on a wall, gather dust, and be virtually forgotten. At IMS Technologies, it simultaneously defines the operation and helps distinguish its product lines in a crowded category.
Originally incorporated in 2000, IMS is best known for its line of unique clip-on instrument tuners that feature whimsical characters and easy programming. A complementary line of pro-level tuners offers upgraded features such as microphone or vibration tuning modes, a built-in metronome, moveable A4, modal tuning, and a magnetic base for ultra-low-profile instrument mounting. IMS also offers OEM/ODM services for other musical instrument brands and can produce “premium”/corporate gift items. At its first NAMM Show in Nashville this summer, IMS was honored with a Best in Show designation in the “Top Accessory/Add-On” category.
In 2010, IMS Technologies CEO Jeff Millar-Sax, whose 30-year career spans new product development, marketing, retail sales, sourcing, sales training, and store management, suspended company operations to care for his wife during her year-long battle with lung cancer. Business resumed in June 2014 with a modified charter: “To bring quality products and services to market in order to help our customers achieve their goals while also donating a significant portion of our earnings to charity because, ultimately, our goal is to help others in need.” Toward this expanded mission, Millar-Sax produced a charity CD, Giving Shelter, featuring top session musicians including members of Toto, Elton John’s band, Chicago, Tower of Power, Santana, Yellowjackets, Quincy Jones, The Edgar Winter Band, James Taylor’s band, the Rolling Stones, and others. Giving Shelter is sold through music products retailers and via http://www.givingshelter.net/, with a large portion of the proceeds dedicated to directly helping cancer patients and their families. Sales of roughly 50,000 CDs will raise at least $500,000 for the charity and, according to Millar-Sax, allow him to “record a follow-up album, and develop additional products and projects to raise more for this vital cause.”
Millar-Sax’s hands-on experience in retail sales forged an important complementary goal within IMS’s broader calling: “to help the independent music products retailers and smaller chains compete with the big-box retailers on an even playing field with quality products and services provided at a competitive price with reasonable order quantities.” A growing number of dealers are appreciating the personalized attention, he says, while positive reviews for IMS tuners and a social media buzz the Giving Shelter CD are boosting sales and contributing to their success.
“Our mission statement is everything to me,” says Millar-Sax, “and we’re excited and grateful to the retailers who have already decided to take a chance on the “new kid in town.’”
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