He looks closer to 20, but actually turned 30 years old recently — Michael Holstein, Fiddlershop’s CEO and Co-founder.
You have probably talked to him, if you ever called Fiddlershop. Michael is passionate, generous and constantly happy. You can definitely hear it over the phone.
Few people know as much about stringed instruments as he does, after 7 years in the business. Michael has knowledge beyond his age and there is no way that any customer would suspect that he doesn’t play the violin!
Michael’s motto is: The customer is always right. And he breathes and lives by that motto.
How come you started Fiddlershop in 2012, Michael?
—At that time my father, Fiddlerman, had been making free tutorial videos on Youtube for violinists for a couple of years already. Several musicians wrote to him and asked what kind of instruments to buy. That’s when I came up with the idea that we should try to find the best instruments for the money, and sell them ourselves.
—We started in my sister’s old bedroom in our small house. Soon after we expanded to my old bedroom. I basically got kicked out of the house when the company grew — ha ha! The house was filled with boxes from floor to ceiling.
—We started our own production lines, Fiddlerman and Holstein, after doing extensive research and also visiting violin makers in different countries. Today we own a warehouse with offices, have 10 employees, and feel very blessed.
What did you do before Fiddlershop?
—I was running my own business selling gardening supplies. I also worked as a web analyst in a marketing team for a internet company for a while.
—I moved to the USA from Sweden in 2008 and over there I repaired cell phones for Nokia and also worked with telephone sales.
Do you have a musical background?
—Yes, if you count hanging at symphony orchestras as a kid, when my father was rehearsing and performing as a violinist! I also played the piano for a while and have a ukulele at home.
—I’m told I have a good ear for music. I easily hear when people sing or play out of tune.
Why is music important?
—It brings happiness to people. Not only the musicians but also the listeners. Music is very therapeutic. At home I listen to a mix between classical and house.
Why did Fiddlershop start charity projects?
—My parents have helped people in different ways during my whole life, so it’s in my blood, so to speak.
—One of our customers is a music teacher and travels to Haiti every year. He is involved in helping music students in different schools and brings our products there. It’s very hard for Haitians to get a hold of instruments and accessories.
—We are also starting up projects in Cuba, since we have 3 Cuban luthiers, and also in USA as we speak. I’m very excited!
What do you do on your free time?
—I work a lot, which I love. When I have free time I love to play kickball and beach volleyball. I also enjoy traveling and spending time with my family.