For the second instalment of ‘5 minutes with… Howarth Dealers’ we introduce to you Shawna Lake of Oboe Chicago, Inc.
Shawna has been supplying Howarth oboes for many years, passing on her expertise and has developed a good relationship with professional oboists and professors throughout the Chicago area.
What is the name of your shop?
Oboe Chicago, Inc.
Tell us about your music career, why you decided to open your shop and how you came to stock Howarth oboes!
After building my professional music career here in the Chicago metropolitan area for 15 years, I began to realize there were not any professional oboe dealers in this large, culturally rich area of Chicago. In the 90’s I began to help place and sell some new professional oboes. I found people were thrilled to find the accessibility and availability of professional oboes. From then on, I was intrigued by the possibility of blending and diversifying my education (Masters in oboe Performance at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music) and to possibly opening a professional oboe dealership in Chicago. The ideas and concepts of music business had ‘always’ interested me.
I began the business by doing research, designing a logo, and website, and to provide the best quality, repair service and performance in my instruments. I make sure to get my business out in front of people, so they get to know me at trade shows, double reed days, and oboe days. This builds strong relationships with confidence.
To open a business selling oboes absolutely required my professional performance skills, administrative skills, and top of the line communication skills. I met Howarth of London at IDRS of 2006 in Muncie Indiana at Ball State University and proposed a dealer relationship here in Chicago with myself, Oboe Chicago, as a Howarth dealer. A fabulous, successful business relationship ever since.
I have found by carrying a diverse oboe and English horn inventory, I am able to meet the needs of oboe enthusiasts from all over the United States.
I believe my service has been a boost to the double reed community and my goal is to help people “exceed beyond their expectations”.