Mike Ciprari Interview (SJC Drums)

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Mike Ciprari, Co-Owner of SJC Drums

Every month, I.BSound Pro interviews a different local business, organization, or public figure.  This month, we reached out to Mike Ciprari, Co-Owner of SJC Drums, to find out how things have been since partnering with Marcus Lemonis and having his business featured on CNBC's "The Profit".  Enjoy!


Tell us how SJC first got started.

I started really getting into playing drums at 9 years old for fun.  My brother started to play on my set all the time which got me upset. He ended up buying an old drum set from one of our cousins.  He didn't really like the way it looked so, he started to mess around with it and refurbish it, which sparked his interest.  He started just messing around, doing friends sets, and the word and name just spread.  We were making drums for bands and they would know a few drummers who would give us a call.  Everything just fell into our lap.  Our hobby ended up turning into our business. We just wanted to make drums for fun.


What is your favorite part about what you do?

I was going to UMass Dartmouth for marketing but ended up leaving because my band got signed to a label so we ended up going on tour.  I later ended up leaving the band to focus on the company.  My favorite part of it is being creative and working with people.  I get to work with some of my favorite bands from when i was kid. I love creating a drummer's dream and making it come to life.


What would you say is the biggest challenge when it comes to getting and keeping a business going?

The way that my brother and I did it, I think if we could go back in time, we would have a business plan for when we hit growing pains.  We grew too fast for our own good. We really couldn't keep inventory in stock and had a really hard time keeping up with the demand that we were getting for our drums. Some of the best advice I can give to entrepreneurs is, whether you are going into business with family or friends, be cautious of that and have open communication.  Have meetings daily, weekly or monthly to make sure everyone is on the same page.  That's very important.


When filming your episode of "The Profit", was it hard trying to conduct business with cameras everywhere?

Yeah, for sure.  Your normal day doesn't stop just because the cameras are around.  Marcus (Lemonis) walked in the door with ten cameras following him and they're just like act normal.  That's really hard.  There's cameras, producers, your mic'd up...but as the weeks went on we started to become friends with the crew and it became a lot easier.  It was still hard at times because they're not just there to film your life and hope something just happens.  They have to get certain shots.  They need to kind of make sure different things happen so that they can get it on film.  Sometimes you have to repeat what you said or what you just did.  So, we were there around the clock, basically living at the shop while we were filming.


What has surprised you most about partnering with Marcus Lemonis?

 I watched all of the seasons of The Profit and followed up with his businesses, so I kind of had expectations going into it that were right along with what happened.  I guess what surprised me was, because we had never been on CNBC, I didn't really expect how many people would call the shop or email us.  Whether it be soliciting business or calling and telling us how they saw the show and they're supporting us.  There was a really big outpouring of support after the showed aired.    


How do you think the Good, Better, Best model helped SJC?

It helped a lot.  It was a really good idea on Marcus' part.  It helped us move from just being a niche company to having drums sets that anyone could afford.  It kind of confused customers, because everyone wanted the best so, we ended up changing the names.  The good kit became a club kit, and the better kit became our tour kit.


How do you think the SJC will change within the next 5 years?

We will definitely continue to improve our process. On the show, we went into Sam Ash and tried to make a deal with them.  It never actually panned out in real life so, eventually we'll probably do some independent, pop up, flagship stores in major cities around the country like Chicago, Nashville, Austin and L.A.  Who knows, we'll probably start venturing into other things in the music industry like guitars and stuff like that.  


If you could tell your seven year old self something you know now that you didn't then, what would it be?

Communicate more and actively listen. I think those are the biggest hurdles for a lot of people so, I would tell myself hear people out and don't just jump to conclusions.  And don't stress out.  It's ok to be different and not fit in. 


If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I was a vegetarian for like 10 years.  I fell in love with pad thai.   I get it in literally every city I go to.


If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which one would it be and why?

Definitely "Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory" because that shows awesome.   He, in my opinion, is living the dream.  He is also a really good entrepreneur who I look up to.



Interview by Tiffany Dubois

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