The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.
Front and Center: Founder of Guitar It Up For Girls and Guitar Girl Magazine, Tara Low
Being surrounded by music all of her life, Tara Low initially entered the industry to launch an online retail store called Guitar It Up. After speaking with customers and learning that there seemed to be no vendor which provided instruments solely for girls, and simultaneously watching the her sales of Daisy Rock Guitars soar, Low decided to create a new business entity which focused on female instruments, accessories and apparel.
As a result, Guitar it Up for was born (www.guitaritupforgirls.com), and is now a premier online retailer of musical instruments tailored for females. Even more recently, Low launched Guitar Girl Magazine (www.guitargirlmag.com), an e-zine that shines a spotlight on female musicians through interviews, articles and other features.
Through her efforts, Low is helping to create a supportive atmosphere for females pursuing music.
The WiMN would like to thank Tara Low for taking the time to chat with us on her ventures. If you’re ever in need a musical instruments or accessories that is geared toward females who love to rock, be sure to check out Guitar It Up For Girls!
WiMN: How were you introduced to music as a child? What instruments do you play?
TL: I was introduced to music at a very early age in elementary school. I played violin and then advanced to cello in junior high and high school. Funny story… I remember my parents painted my violin case bright pink and plastered flower power stickers on it (you remember the flower power stickers from the ‘60s?). While it embarrassed me at the time, who would have known that they would become such iconic images today?
My husband and I are very involved in music and we encouraged our children from a very young age to get involved in music and play an instrument. We were actively involved throughout their developmental years in marching band and garage band–we were the “go to” home for many of their musical endeavors in Orange County, CA.
I can’t tell you how many countless hours we spent at local Southern California venues! Today I am happy to say that all of my children are involved in music in some way. My sons are very active in music with bands of their own and my daughter-in-law, Aimee Ortiz Low, is a Daisy Rock endorsed artist.
I have been dabbling with the bass guitar lately along to some YouTube videos… so who knows, I may be jamming at the next WiMN Summit!
WiMN: What is the mission of Guitar It Up For Girls? What made you start the company?
TL: The Guitar It Up For Girls mission statement is to strengthen and support the participation of women in music and provide more avenues of access for young girls who have the desire to play music on their own terms. Both are built on the firm belief that music is a source of genuine inspiration and enrichment, and a bridge that can overcome any divisions of age, gender or background.
I started the company as a result of customer demand. I originally went to NAMM and opened an online retail store called Guitar It Up and had several Daisy Rock Guitars on the site. Well, those were the guitars that started selling, and I had customers share their experiences with me about the lack of places to find guitars and accessories for girls where they felt comfortable shopping. I felt there was a need for a place where girls could shop and find the products that suit their needs.
WiMN: Tell us about the range of customers you serve.
TL: We have a wide variety of customers. Parents buying for their daughters, grandparents buying for their granddaughters, males buying for their girlfriends, young beginner girls buying for themselves, and older women starting to play guitar in their later years.
WiMN: Who are some of the charitable organizations you’ve had the opportunity of working with?
TL: I support so many charitable organizations from the Girls Rock Camp Alliance through instrument donations and camp sponsorships, to Los Angeles Women in Music where I have donated instruments to A Place Called Home and Special Angels.
I also work with The Backstage Divas, which is a company that does gifting suites at music festivals. We donate a guitar for the musicians to sign and then auction it off, and the proceeds go towards non-profit organizations. Some of the beneficiaries have been The Mardy Fish Foundation for after school programs in Indian River County, FL and HOPE which is an organization helping homeless women in Orlando, FL. I also work with a local state organization in Georgia where we have children come in and experience a lesson and receive a goodie bag. It’s all about getting young girls interested in music!
WiMN: When did you start your e-zine, Guitar Girl Magazine? What is your goal with the site?
TL: I started the e-zine in April of 2012. What I would like to accomplish is to have a place where girls can come and learn from other female musicians that they can do it!
Our mission statement: Guitar Girl Magazine is an online community dedicated to encouraging and promoting female guitarists and the fans that love them. With a combination of relevant music industry news, fun rock lifestyle finds, insider tips and advice, and special features and events, Guitar Girl Magazine strives to provide content that informs, entertains and engages our readers on a regular basis.
I had so many Guitar It Up for Girls customers ask advice about how to get their daughter involved in music or where to take lessons. So I felt there was a need for this type of outlet. I’m not trying to be the next big guitar magazine because that’s already out there, but I am trying to help women of all ages to know that there’s someone out there who cares about what they’re doing. With Guitar Girl Magazine, I want to give advice to help them follow their dream.
WiMN: What are some of your favorite topics or events to cover with Guitar Girl Magazine? What have you learned running this site?
TL: I love to interview artists and learn more about how they got to the position they are in, and their creativity and their creative process. I am always amazed at each story which typically starts at a very basic, meager beginning. They are not elitists. Many came from nothing and leveraged their creativity, ambition and talent to make it at some level.
But what impresses me the most about these people is that they do it for the love of their art and not for money or fame. It’s true that money and fame is a huge driver, but I’ve interviewed and come to know many, many artists who play show after show with sometimes less than 10 people in the audience, and for free. They do this in the pursuit of their goals, which isn’t driven by their desire to be famous, but by the love of what they do.
So what I have learned is that success is a product of a passion and of the love of what you do. I am reminded of a great saying that “if you love what you do for a living, you will never work a day in your life.”
WiMN: Who are some of your female role models in this industry – artists or otherwise?
TL: Well, besides you, Laura, as you are making great strides for women in the music industry, I have met so many wonderful people that have made an impact on me. I almost hate to mention names because I don’t want to leave anyone out, but Tish Ciravolo of Daisy Rock Guitars, Carla DeSantis Black of MEOW, Leanne Summers of LAWIM, Beth Marlis of Musicians Institute, Madalyn Sklar of Go Girls, Lori McCallain, CEO of Dean Markley USA… and the list goes on. They are so supportive of what I’m doing and I admire them so much. It just goes to show that women in the music industry are making great strides.
Also the artists that I have interviewed and featured on my site (some of whom I have become close friends with) and all of my writers at Guitar Girl Magazine who truly believe in what we’re doing (and they’re not all females!). My apologies to anyone I left out!
WiMN: Can you share your experience as a woman in the industry? Have there been challenges?
TL: There’s the occasional sarcasm and the occasional poke from some dude commenting on a blog or article wondering why I need to make a focus on women, and that there’s “no such thing as a girl guitar.” Those are the kind of things you just let roll off your back.
The reality is, if you have a good product that people value, they will buy it. Maybe it’s time to take a look around and see how much the landscape has changed in the last 10 or so years. It seems as though women are being very involved in business leadership, and I intend to be one of them!
WiMN: What’s in store for Guitar It Up For Girls and Guitar Girl Magazine for the remainder of the year?
TL: Well, with Guitar It Up for Girls, I hope to continue to find more products that meet the needs of our customers, and who knows… maybe a retail store one day!
For the magazine, I am looking at possibly launching a print version. In addition to that, I plan to continue to bring interesting news and interviews to keep encouraging girls to pick up a guitar and PLAY! And, we have some “secret projects” that we can’t disclose at the moment, so stay tuned!