Andrew Scott, 34, moved to Colorado Springs from Enid, Okla. after college in search of a town where he could grow his own business. While his vision transformed from restaurants to woodworking to making high-end and artistic custom guitars, the town has followed him. Scott’s Blindworm Guitars has grown and become a tremendous success with his work spreading around the country.
How did Blindworm Guitars get its start? Why the name Blindworm?
I was raised in a small town in Oklahoma, starving for culture and music. Fortunately my parents continuously exposed me to any art and music programs that were available. This included many arts programs and music lessons, as well as frequent travel around the country to explore museums and cultural landmarks, etc. I submitted my first commercial artist proposal for a logo design when I was 8. In college I focused my studies on information technology, psychology, business consultation, business law, all relating to my business now. I moved out to Colorado after college, starting a small art-centered custom woodworking business. We built hundreds of different things, specializing in custom products like the tree doors and stage at Kinfolks in Manitou. After years of being a musician and honing my precision woodworking, inlay, sculpting, etc., I realized that I should be building my own instruments. I started building violins, cellos, banjos, and eventually guitars. I began getting custom orders from many locals, allowing me the opportunity to refine my craft. Immediately I realized that I had found a career path that meshed all of my passions together. I took myself back to “school,” reading books, picking the brains of hundreds of luthiers, and eventually turning into a full service repair facility for vintage and modern instruments. As the custom order list grew, I moved away from the repairs and into building full time. Blindworm Guitars was born.
The name “Blindworm” is a reference to an ingredient used in spells by Merlin the great wizard. Lutherie is a profession, and culture really, based around science, tradition, mythology, and mysticism. I focus on the highest precision and respect of all of these elements, but the magic in my guitars is one of the most obvious things that stand out.
How is business?
Blindworm Guitars is thriving. In the past two years we have grown dramatically, allowing me to enlist a few very skilled assistants. Our instruments are consistently proving a reputation of artistically high-end functionality. This has given us as much work as we can handle. I am restructuring to accommodate this influx, but we will continue to build everything in house from scratch, as always.
What have you done to grow your business, and how have you adjusted to the growth and success?
I developed the brand in 2008, with a “no sacrifices” approach. This meant that only the absolute highest quality could be acceptable. In fretwork, ergonomics, balance, tone, electronics, finish work, and artistry, every Blindworm guitar exemplifies perfection. Consistency and reputation of what we deliver have been key elements of success. I focus on rare and intriguing materials, chosen for superior sound qualities. Meteorite, jade, and dinosaur bone are just a few things that I incorporate into the instruments. We mill everything in house. And I am constantly searching for new ways to achieve unheard sounds and tone. Was it hard for you to strike a balance between the art and the business sides of your company?
Absolutely. But it has been a driving force to make it all work. You can’t just make an art guitar and consider it one of the best in the world. Simply being an artist puts you under greater scrutiny in the boutique market, so you can’t really make a big impression without proving you have all the other elements. I spend more time studying, designing, and doing administrative tasks, than I do building. While the art is the obvious element at first glance, my reputation exists around the highest levels of precision and functionality available.
What drew you to Colorado Springs from Oklahoma and what made you stay?
I visited Colorado a few times throughout my childhood, and it made a lasting impression on me. When I was studying the demographics of various regions, Colorado Springs kept coming up. A trip out here during my last year of college convinced me. I fell in love with the landscape, food, climate, and friendly people here. The opportunities for my daughters have been a major factor, and the main reason I will continue to stay.
What unique opportunities or challenges do young professionals face in Colorado Springs?
We are a culturally diverse area with a large amount of short-time residents. It is a constant complaint amongst the artists and musicians that one half of the community here is unaware of the other. There are great organizations that try to address this, but the revolving door of the residents here provides a real challenge to organization. As a business owner, the transitory population provides a constant influx of new customers, and a way to spread the word outside of the area as well.