This year – 2021 – we celebrate ten years of the Southern Cross Flutes business and flute making. What started out as a dream for Todd to make his own Native American Style Flutes, formed a nexus of intention and support, such that The Red Carpet rolled out in front of him, and all he had to do was keep moving forward.
Within a short 6 months, the entity of Southern Cross Flutes became a registered company in New Zealand on 11 June 2011.
Of course, the action of ‘moving forward’ was not without its struggles, stretches, pitfalls and disappointments, but there was an elegance to the business’ success that far-outstripped Todd’s personal experience or expertise. Some kind of destiny and grace was co-authoring the journey of Southern Cross Flutes, and allowing this creative endeavour to flourish.
The tiny inner city garage of 2011, and showcasing his unique Native American Style Flutes at local and national artisan markets and festivals (selling about 30 flutes a year), exploded into the international market in 2018 to become a sought-after instrument within the Native American Style Flute community internationally.
Each year the numbers of flutes crafted and sold increased, with last year (2020) reaching a peak of 277 commissions spread between two flute-makers. That’s a lot of flute making!
Did the 2020 Global Lockdowns affect business?
In case you’ve been wondering if a small family run business making niche musical instruments in a small country in the back-waters of the earth (and dependent on these international markets) can survive during the upheaval of the global lockdowns and an uncertain financial climate, the answer is YES.
Like everyone everywhere, it was an unpredictable time. Around March 2020, we saw a huge dip in sales, while also experiencing a huge increase in enquiries. People everywhere were dreaming again. The wholesome dream of ‘what sustains me?’ / ‘what is worthy of my attention?’ or more humbly; ‘what can I do to fill all this time I now have and bring me peace?’ was being asked.
The Flute, it seems, ticked a lot of boxes; it offered the gesture of solace, harmony, quiet, contemplative time, and healing for many, while also providing a manageable challenge, and an advancement of musicality and creativity. Learning something new, starting a hobby, and cultivating a practice to better one’s situation, were all reasons people began looking into, and inquiring about a Native American Style Flute.
We carried on making flutes, not knowing if there was a future for the business. During this ‘quiet time’ we found time to write, doing a series of blog posts about the many within the SCF tribe who have contributed music and expertise of the Native American Style Flute. We put out our first newsletter in over a year. That felt good.
And then the tide shifted again. Some unspoken energy moved through the collective and people started investing their money into their wholesome dream. Flute sales bumped up and up, and our 9 week turn-around for a new commission, expanded to a three month wait-time, four months, and then five months. The workshop had never been so booked up before.
A ‘good problem’ to have
What we are dealing with now is a ‘good problem’, but one we recognise has impacted customers adversely. A longer wait time means some impatience for some, and the more need for correspondence from us. We have tightened the slack of our systems and processes as best we can in recognition of this new demand.
All that withstanding however; we do still have a four to five month wait on new commissions now. Thankfully, our Native American Style Flute Player community is, on the whole, a generous, patient and kind demographic of the population, and we have received so much support and understanding for this predicament. We are forever grateful for those who choose to craft their flute with us.
In that, we look forward to a strong vibrant future with you all.
Read our blog posts below as we say a farewell to Todd Chaplin, and open the way for Bruce McNaught to flex his creative muscles as the new Owner and Director of Southern Cross Flutes.
Todd steps down as Owner and Director of Southern Cross Flutes – and we share a little about the early days for Todd at the helm.
Meet the new team: Bruce, Roger & Linley (and we say goodbye to Ahly) – we share the action of goodwill and how that bodes well for the future.
Who is Bruce McNaught? – Well you might ask, as he has been quietly and humbly making flutes here at Southern Cross Flutes for the last six years!