With a lifelong passion for music and a professional background in the arts and luxury industries, Digital Marketing graduate, Nick Coblence, struck a perfect balance with his socially motivated company, Cords For Music. CFM sells jewelry collections inspired by music, with a portion of profits going towards developing music education programs for children in underserved areas.
1. What were you doing before taking a course at GA?
Before GA, I was working in strategy and market research for luxury and lifestyle brands. My career has spanned over both the arts and luxury industries working for major international brands. I went to GA to brush up on my digital marketing skills as I came from the more traditional marketing world.
2. Have you always wanted to start your own business?
Yes, I always had the creative bug and wanted to do my own thing. I also always wanted to do something that could have a positive impact in the world. I finally have the chance to do both!
3. Tell me about Cords for Music.
Cords for Music is a socially motivated jewelry collection empowering children through music. I created it with the idea that we can make money and do good all at once. We sell beautifully designed lifestyle products with a portion of each sale going to help fund music education initiatives in public schools and underserved communities. Our first charity partner is Education Through Music, a non-profit that creates sustainable music programs in public schools. To date they are in 28 schools through out New York and have had an impact on over 50,000 children. Those are big numbers.
4. What made you want to become involved in music?
I’ve always been a musician and wanted to do something in that field. With Cords for Music, I wanted to bring together my three passions (fashion/luxury, giving back, and music) to start my own business. When I was in college I wanted to go to Berkley School of Music but I ended up going to Vassar and not studying music as my major. Maybe this is my way of making up for that.
5. What are your hopes for the future of your business?
I definitely see CFM expanding into other product categories including apparel and one day having an arm of the company that operates more like a music business with a festival and a focus on showcasing musicians. I really want CFM to become an impactful brand that is able to not only raise money for charities and music education but also make a difference in children’s lives. I also want to take part in the conversation about funding for the arts and education. Music is the silver bullet, it can inspire greatness and motivate children to participate and become leaders in their community. No education is complete without music.
6. Any challenges that you didn’t expect along the way?
I always worked in fashion so there isn’t anything that I didn’t expect but I’ve definitely encountered a lot of challenges along the way. The most challenging I think is to make sure to deliver an amazing experience for your customer and make them feel like they are part of something that is making a difference. Another challenge is managing vendors and making to not only work well with them but to also manage expectations.
7. Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Whatever you do, be strategic about it. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and always try to test your concepts as much as you can. In the end, every product you make is to be consumed so make sure that the consumer is happy with the product and that its made to their liking.
A friend of mine recently reminded me that anytime you are upset about something, don’t react. Instead, let it sink in and then decide if you say something. You’ll be happy you did. Always pick your battles.
8. Last, but not least, what’s your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate (dark), cigars (robusto), and bourbon (neat).
Are you ready to take your passion to the next level? Explore our 12 week Digital Marketing Course.
Melanie Albert oversees alumni programming for the General Assembly community.