Josh Scott’s journey into guitar pedals started with his own guitar equipment. He knew next to nothing about pedals, just that his was broken. After successfully repairing his own pedal, he had an idea — to start his own business from his Mississippi apartment.
JHS Pedals’ handmade quality helped Scott’s brand stand apart from all the others in the “overly saturated” market and become a globally recognized company.
Scott, a man of few words but big success, knows exactly what to offer his clients since he was a guitar player looking for his own pedals not too long ago.
From his shop in Kansas City, MO, the heart of the country, his products reach around the world, and have made it into the hands of band members of Switchfoot, Ryan Adams, Nick Harmer of Death Cab for Cutie and many more.
Learn about the business and the man below.
How did you get into crafting pedals?
I had a broken pedal and decided to try and fix it. From there it kind of consumed me to the point that I had to know everything I could about what made these devices tick.
Where did that passion come from?
I love to learn and am very hands on. Once I got into it, I went all the way into studying electronics and getting my hands dirty.
What knowledge did you have going in to this business?
I played guitar, and that was it. I actually had zero business experience or desire to have a business.
Your journey started in your apartment. Tell us how starting small has affected your business.
Starting small helped me learn at each level. It was an organic walk from knowing nothing to learning along the way.
How did it grow to be what it is today?
I am very thankful to all of our fans and supporters. We have grown because of them and the team here at JHS. Everyone has their place in what we do, all the guys have carried a certain weight and it really is a team effort.
What motivates you to keep creating?
The feeling of making something that has never been made — it’s exciting.
Describe a typical day running your own business.
Depends on the time of year. Right now it’s a lot of traveling, marketing and final pushes on new designs hitting the market. A normal day would be a mix of emails, casting vision, working on designs and planning for what’s ahead.
Tell us how you’ve expanded your business.
People keep buying things, so we keep learning how to make the things faster, cleaner, more efficient and more profitable. All these things drive expansion.
What keeps you excited to be in the music industry? What about being in the maker industry?
It’s a great environment with some really genuine and unique minds. It’s almost like a renaissance of sorts to be honest. So many people have stepped up in the past 10 years, and it feels really special to be involved in the things that will soon become the new normal.
Any brands that are totally doing it that you look up to?
I look up to a lot of my friends in the industry like Earthquaker, Electro Harmonix, etc. I think everyone mutually respects what the other is doing.
How has experience changed your daily process?
For me it is my education. Experience is my classroom and, at this point, I actually feel like I might graduate.
How would you define success in this business? Would you consider yourself a success?
I define success as being happy with what you are doing. I am very happy, and I am more than amazed at JHS and where we are.
What sacrifices have you made in owning your own business?
I have given more time to this than you could calculate. It has been life consuming, life changing and something that kind of crashes into you with no mercy. The biggest sacrifice has been time — it’s the hours away from family.
How have you gone about building a customer base?
I didn't advertise until we had our first million-dollar year really. It’s a word of mouth world.
How has having well-known artists as clients affected your business?
It is a big part of it, but at the same time it feels hard to measure. I know people see it, and it gives us nice street cred but does that translate into dollars? I don’t know.
What sets you apart from other places doing similar things?
Our ideas, our service and our commitment to quality.
To what do you most attribute your success?
God. I believe that any success I have is given to me and that it is for His purposes. I am thankful and humbled by this story.
What has been your most satisfying moment in owning your own business? What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of how we create things that are new; we create things that have never existed. It is hard to create things that aren't just recreations of the same old thing.
Any words you live by?
“The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.” - Martin Luther.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start his or her own creative business?
Have fun, work hard, expect trials and move on.
What’s on the horizon for JHS Pedals?
A lot. It’s kind of staggering at what we will have completed this year and what we will do in 2016. I wish I could say more.