Back in the late ‘90s I was running a design consultancy business; clients would come to us with a Problem and an Idea for the solution, and we would design the solution for them. So, we were designing asthma inhalers, connectors, toys, power tools… all manner of things.
After a while, I began to realize that, on the whole, my clients seemed to be making a lot more money than I was… So, I decided that we should develop, make and market a product, thus enjoying the fruits of our labor!
However, we didn’t yet have a Problem to solve…
I’ve been a guitarist since I was a teenager. One day I was playing my guitar; I looked at my left hand and my capo… and a little light flashed in my mind.
The humble guitar capo had not been redesigned in around 25 years. They generally looked and operated like an ancient instrument of torture. I thought to myself “there must be a better way than this…”
I wrote ourselves a design brief with my team (after all, we’re design engineers!) and began with brainstorming.
Once we had the concept right I started working on a prototype, but I wanted to get some feedback from other guitarists, and in particular from shop owners to see if they thought it would be a product worth marketing! I remember visiting lots of shops and getting great feedback on the idea, until I visited one of my favourite stores in Leicester and had a chat with their manager…
It took some time for the design to take shape as the project kept being put on hold to allow us to do “the day job” but in 2004 we launched the Performance Capo to critical acclaim, winning several awards over 8 years and winning over some notable names in music.
In 2006, I took the leap and abandoned the design consultancy (which was stressing me out!) so I could fully concentrate on G7th, The Capo Company. That led to the launch of the Nashville in 2007 and the Newport in 2011, followed by the Performance 2, an upgrade on the original after people asked if we could make it a bit smaller – so we did!
Now there are 6 of us working for the company: myself (Chairman and Designer-in-chief!), plus Noel Sheehan (Managing Director), Iain Wilson (Sales and Marketing Director), my son Simon who looks after our Marketing and Artist Relations and is also a Worship leader with his wife at our home church, my wife Chris (Accounts and Administration) and Tommy Loose, a fantastic fingerstyle guitarist who also works on our Artist Relations and social media.
The work I love is the design work… new products, better ways to hold down guitar strings.
Nick Campling, G7th Founder and Chairman