This has been a year of extremes, and the last six months have felt more like six years have passed! These have been the most disruptive and uncertain times we’ve experienced since 9/11. Our El Cajon facilities were forced to close in March, followed a few weeks later by our facilities in Tecate. We were facing the fight of our lives, a fight for our survival.
We brainstormed, and Bob had the bright idea to speak with our local government officials and seek their blessings to keep skeleton crews in place in order to continue shipping guitars and developing new products. They enthusiastically supported us. We felt it was important to fast-track the development and release of new guitars we’d planned because we would definitely need them as soon as we were able to resume production. And it was imperative that we continue shipping guitars as they were ordered, so we would have future income.
With the help of the “Taylor Days” promotion we launched in March, we had a strong April and May in terms of shipping guitars, though our factory operations remained suspended until late May. As of early June, we had no idea what would happen next. This successful promotion had ended and we’d depleted our inventory. We had just started making guitars again, but at a greatly reduced level.
“The biggest positive from living through this has been the incredible teamwork from us all pulling together.”
Then as we got into June, we saw how the world was changing. People were working from home if they were able to, and taking up healthy hobbies like playing the guitar. We started having bigger and bigger weeks in terms of the strength of the orders we received from our dealers, as our guitars were selling so quickly. Our manufacturing folks pulled out all the stops and worked their magic to make as many of the guitars being ordered as possible. This continued right through June and July, and we had the two biggest months in a row, in terms of orders received, in the history of the company! By the time we got into August, we had sold out much of our production well into Q1 of 2021. The future is looking bright again, in terms of having a healthy guitar market.
Our work itself has changed dramatically, and I don’t foresee it returning to how it was pre-pandemic. Most of our sales, marketing and finance staff has been working from home since March, although people are starting to go back in the office a few days per week. We’ve made great use of online meeting applications to have virtual meetings that used to be in person. We’ve definitely become more productive with our time, and we’re not traveling to conduct business meetings either. This has really changed how we see our ability to stay connected with the business but not be tied to our work locations. On the other hand, we miss the social aspects of seeing our co-workers.
Making guitars while maintaining a clean, safe environment and providing for social distancing is a much bigger challenge, but we’re having success. We’ve recently reorganized work shifts at our factory in Tecate to maintain safety protocols, keeping people more spread out. It will take some time before we’re able to reach our pre-pandemic production levels, but we’re on a good path with a solid plan.
Undoubtedly the biggest positive we’ve gained from living through this has been the incredible teamwork from us all pulling together and working hard to survive and succeed. We’re all tremendously grateful for each other’s efforts and contributions, and of course the enthusiastic support of the extended Taylor community around the world. We wish you a safe remainder of the year. Thank you!