Imagine having a unique piece of jewellery made with string metal from the guitar/bass of your favourite musician? That’s for real!
The Guitarwrist is a not-for-profit company in which 100% of the profits from each sale go to the Artist’s charity of choice.
Around 95% of the components from the strings they receive will be used to create the jewellery pieces thus reducing the amount of strings metal that normally ends up in a landfill.
Yep. It’s such an amazing initiative, isn’t it? I would love to have a gorgeous bracelet made from a vintage Fender Jazz bass that belongs to one of my favourite musicians on Earth – Geddy Lee. I would be over the moon!
Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, and even Sting got also involved in this fantastic project. Now it’s your turn to know more about The Guitarwrist in this interview with its managing director, Ian Rendall, who has over 20 years of experience in music and brands working with established and emerging artists.
Midlands Traveller: Tell me a little bit about your background in business.
Ian Rendall: I started life as a programmer with Sage Software in the mid-80s and then moved into The City working for various banks and broking houses at a Director level before moving into the music industry in 2002.
Since then I’ve worked for Universal Music and set up a number of companies from Live Recordings to Management to Artist Relations/Sponsorships.
MT: How did you come up with the idea for this project?
IR: It was when I was working in Artist Relations for a major strings manufacturer in 2003 that I found out that it was very expensive to truly recycle as most strings are made from two different metals so I was looking to see if there was a way of reusing the strings, and then one day at the factory I saw a bin full of strings, but they’d been wrapped up like bangles.. bingo.
MT: Can you describe how working with Kerri Watt came about?
IR: We met Kerri after she played Country 2 Country 2019 and instantly thought that she stood out amongst the other emerging artists.
We then had a number of chats and then she came over to our studio in Newcastle where we discussed doing a special red beaded “Riff” bracelet which has not come to fruition with the profits going to Stop The Traffik, Kerri’s chosen charity
MT: Tell me about Guitarwrist’s mission.
IR: We have three main aims:
- To drastically reduce the 1.3 million lbs of strings metal that ends up in landfills each year and to make artists aware of sustainability issues
- To raise awareness and raise funds for many worthy charities and causes
- To give the fan an amazing piece of memorabilia that has a real connection with an artist they love.
MT: What is unique about Guitarwrist and what services do you provide?
IR: I think we’re the only company doing this that has the capability to make a real change in artists’ views on sustainability and the ability to get the critical mass of brands to make a real change.
We’ve got great contacts within the Music Industry and as Influencers, these are key to getting guitar players at the grassroots level to think about sustainability.
MT: What are the biggest challenges of a business/project like yours?
IR: There’s a huge amount of administration behind the scenes to log each string, and get it cleaned and catalogued so that the authentication is correct. There’s also a lot of time getting artists on board. Even with our great connections, it’s a long process. It’s taken 18 months to get some of the bigger artists onboard.
MT: How is your project helping the community?
IR: Many of the charities that artists have chosen are local to where they formed. We also try and help underprivileged teenagers who’ve fallen through the cracks of society to become jewellery makers. We also provide guitar lessons free of charge to underprivileged children.
MT: How are social media important to the success of your business?
IR: We do very limited advertising at the moment and we use the artist’s social media reach to attract clients. Recently Sam Fender created a pop-up store in Newcastle just ahead of his hometown shows and he tweeted that there were Guitarwrist bracelets in the store. It had an amazing effect.
MT: What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a project like yours?
IR: Just go for it. Believe in yourself and your idea. Ignore the naysayers. Never give up, be honest and true and give it the best shot you can.
MT: Why do you work with products such as bracelets and other types of jewellery?
IR: It’s the perfect use of the strings. The strings lend themselves to the jewellery, especially the bracelets.
MT: What has the Guitarwrist achieved so far?
IR: We’ve raised over £50,000 for over 70 charities and now have over 200 artists signed up for the initiative.
MT: What are the next steps for the Guitarwrist?
IR: We’re looking to branch out into more genres of music. We started very much in Rock and Metal but are now attracting a lot more Indie and Country Music Artists. We’re also moving into drummer jewellery using used cymbals and drumsticks.
We have some very exciting partnerships to be announced very shortly which will give us a wider reach to more artists and give everyday guitarist’s an easy way to donate their strings to us.
The Guitarwrist on Social Media