VC INTERVIEW | Amanda Schwegler Discusses Cremona's Mio Cannone Violini
Created during the COVID-19 pandemic to support instrument makers, the company is offering online services to match musicians with an instrument from a curated selection of violins and bows. In this unique approach, instruments can be easily returned and refunded and all shipment handling is free
The Violin Channel recently discussed the innovative selling platform with its Head of Operations Amanda Schwegler.
Can you tell us about the Mio Cannone Violini company? Your approach seems very innovative. Where are you based and when was the company founded?
We are based in Cremona, Italy and the company was founded in November 2020, but it only went online in April 2021.
Thank you! Our goal is to bring a revolutionary way of finding the musician’s means of expression. We stem from a passion to bring them together with their dream instrument, no matter where they are geographically.
How does it differ from most string stores?
Our approach is very specific, as we aim to present and focus on the luthier first. This means helping a musician get to know the artist that made the masterpiece she/he will be playing. That’s why we say we are an online gallery of makers, a window into Cremona, presenting the legacy of violin-making from Italy.
We created a platform that was based on the real experience of trying instruments. The website is well equipped with tools to help the musician connect with the instrument he/she is buying.
You offer a large range of old and new violins and violin bows for sale, many that are made by very fine contemporary craftsmen in Cremona, Italy. Tell us about the instruments you carry?
When buying from Mio Cannone Violini, musicians will have the same feeling and inspiration that many great soloists like Paganini had when they play on an instrument from Cremona.
We want them to find their own Cannone. An instrument that will not only be their partner for life, but an instrument that is a piece of art with all the emotions, feelings, and uniqueness of its maker printed on it.
With a wide selection of only modern and contemporary makers, Mio Cannone Violini holds instruments looking brand new, others antiqued, and a few that are an exact copy of historical Italian violins.
What is the price range of the instruments you are selling? Which makers, in particular, are you representing?
The price range for violins at Mio Cannone goes from 7k euros to 42k euros and bows from 2,4k euros to 15k euros. A few distinguished makers we represent are Luca Salvadori, Luiz Amorim, Elena Bardella, and Giovanni Lucchi.
Very interestingly, on your comprehensive site, you offer a lot of tools to help your potential customers select the best violin or bow for them. You also offer expert advice to help match the right violin with the right player? Tell us about how this process works.
Yes exactly, as we know, buying a violin online is something very different for a musician, therefore our platform is based on the real experience of buying a violin in person. Our focus is to turn the process of buying a violin online into a simple one.
We’ve added high-resolution pictures and videos to make the musician understand what she/he is buying. When it comes to advice, we are happy to help the musician choose their partner for life. We set up video calls showing the violins, backed with 25 years of experience selling instruments for musicians specifically.
You then send the instruments out worldwide for a 30-day free trial. If it’s not right for your customers, can they very easily return it or exchange it for another one more suitable? How does this work and what guarantee do you offer?
Yes, we have a 30 day trial period, free shipping worldwide, and hassle-free refunds, meaning, if the musician tries the violin and does not like it, they can easily send it back to us free of cost, and she/he will get 100% refund back or an exchange for another available violin we have at the moment. To send the violin back, the musician only needs to contact us, and we will arrange with the courier to collect the instrument within the musician’s most suitable time.
The instruments are carefully packed and they have 100% coverage insurance during all the transportation time plus the 30 day trial period.
Does a buyer also have the option to commission an instrument from a maker?
Yes, musicians also have the option to have a violin customized down to the finest details, creating a unique instrument with their exact requirements.
If it’s the musician's desire, she/he can select a talented maker to create their unique masterpiece. All they need to do is: define your sound characteristics and we can translate the desired voice to create the perfect instrument. They can also choose the type of model they would like and choose from a range of finishes and woods. We will keep them posted on the maker’s work and guarantee their Cannone with all essential qualities to complement their music.
Cremona has been the capital of violin making for over 400 years and it’s very impressive how you have created this system to give players all around the world easy access to the fine Cremonese instruments. Where did this idea come from, and what do you hope you can achieve?
It all started when we arrived in Cremona in 2018. We came from Brazil as a family, with a goal to provide musicians with instruments that uniquely express themselves in their entirety. But when we arrived in Cremona, we saw the reality of many makers. They work alone, sometimes with some assistance in the making, but they do all of the business tasks, like sales, marketing, and finances.
In our experience, we know how important it is to have someone helping the maker with these other tasks and let him/her focus on what they love to do, which is making violins. During the pandemic, we grew our audience online and we were able to keep orders and sales going. But as we saw the market here in Cremona go down, many of the makers tried to maintain their activities with tourists or dealers — but many of them had a year without selling any instruments.
That’s when we got Mio Cannone started and invited all of the talented makers in Cremona to be part of our online gallery, giving musicians access to artisanal instruments with the Cremona quality and tradition.
If people want to read more or search your instrument selection, how can they do so?
Click here: https://miocannone.com/product-category/violin/