We had the good fortune of connecting with Madilene Loosier and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Madilene, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
After pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy and a minor in piano at Sam Houston State University, I worked as a Registered Music Therapist at (TIRR) The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research at the Medical Center in Houston. The commute between Huntsville and Houston grew tiresome and my husband and I wanted to build a life in Huntsville. Over the next several years, we were blessed with 3 boys and I was fortunate to be a stay at home mom while they were little but I knew I needed to contribute to the family income and began praying for guidance as to another career choice that would be flexible while our boys were young. I had hired a piano tuner to tune my piano and did not have a great experience and it peaked my interest to begin researching piano technology. I began playing piano at the age of 8 and viola at the age of 10 and well as singing, and realized one day that even though I played piano and viola all the way through college, I knew how to do things with my viola such as cleaning, replacing strings, tuning and minor repairs but I knew nothing about the piano other than how to play it. That lead me to a year’s worth of studying via correspondence course through the American School of Piano Tuning and graduated as a Certified Piano Technician. I loved the idea of being my own boss and creating my own schedule to allow me to drop off and pick up my boys each day and not miss any school or sports functions. I took what I learned from the business portion of the piano tuning course and found that there was a need for good piano technicians in my region and met with a counselor at our local Small Business Development Center to make sure I was covering all the bases. I also joined several professional organizations to begin networking and started my business in August of 2004.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I started my business Madilene’s Piano Tuning & Repair, I learned quickly that I was not just selling a professional service. The customer has to like you and trust you to come into their home, church, school, or professional venue to work on their piano. Personality has a lot to do with the success of a business. I choose to educate my customers on how to take care of their pianos and I offer options to improve the playability and sound quality, other than just tuning. Some piano owners feel that they need a new piano when in reality, their piano just needs some attention to detail and maintenance that it may have never had before. I chose not just to be a piano tuner. I am a piano technician which means that I know how to tune, clean, maintain and do many types of repairs and action regulation to bring a piano back into the specs that made it play so wonderfully when the piano was new. Over time, the felts in a piano get compacted from playing and the pianist can lose the joy of playing if the piano no longer responds the way it should. Sometimes a piano may need new hammers or damper felts because they are too worn to do their job properly. I provide these services to my customers and I educate them so they can make the best decision about their piano. My customers appreciate that they learn so much about their pianos and then there are other times that I have to give not so good news to a piano owner who purchased a piano that I really should have evaluated first because it is beyond repair due to the expense compared to purchasing a newer piano. I had enough business to be full-time after 2 years. I networked and began doing warranty work for many piano dealers and got contracts with school districts, universities, churches and concert venues, along with word of mouth advertising from satisfied customers. Today I work 7 counties in my region of Texas.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In the Huntsville, Walker County area we have many wineries and vinyards to visit that offer wonderful wine tastings and food parings. One even has exotic animals and cabins to stay the night. We also have many museums such as the HEARTS Veterans Museum of Texas, Sam Houston Museum, The Sam Houston Statue and visitors center, the Wynne Home Arts Center, Prison Museum and many lovely antique shops on the downtown square. Huntsville is also home to the Huntsville State Park which offers many acitivites including hiking trails, fishing, canoeing and camping. We have some cozy little restuarants that offer delicious food as well.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate this to my husband Shane Loosier. He has always encouraged me and supported me in everything I have done in our 26 years of marriage. He helped give me the confidence I needed to start and grow my business to the success it is today.