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BOUTIQUE WEEK: AD Drums - 'Not all bespoke companies are out to make millions of pounds'

Laura  Barnes
BOUTIQUE WEEK: AD Drums - 'Not all bespoke companies are out to make millions of pounds'

MI Pro has kicked off another Boutique Week, this time focussing on some of the UK’s most innovative and exciting custom drum kit manufacturers.

Each day this week, we will interview a different boutique drum kit maker to get their take on the state of the market and find out what issues they face.

First up, we chat to Carl Haffield of AD Drums to find out more about his boutique businesses what he thinks about the UK dealer network…

How did the company begin and what’s your background in the industry?
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I have been playing the drums since I was six and from an early age was very hands on in my approach to art and design. During my early teens I experimented with customising my existing drums which lead on to me developing my own methods in building drums from scratch.

Most of the passion came from people who would see me play on tour with my band, they would ask where I got the kit from and I would reply “I made it, I can make you a custom kit if you want.”

Since then I've never looked back.

How easy is it to source material as a boutique brand?

Sourcing materials is so much easier nowadays than back when I started. The internet has thousands of forums and bespoke pages you can now learn most things from, but actually doing the work is another matter.

A few drum supply shops have actually sprung up because of the bespoke industry, which helps everyone in the industry.

Has the demand for customised kits increased or decreased over the past few years?

A few years ago the custom scene in the UK was booming harder than right now – but it comes in waves.

The market is quite saturated at present so customers have more choice. I try and stay out of the price battles and race to zero games. I only make products when people want the goods. I never stock drums to sell (apart from show stock to show off the products).

Do you think boutique manufacturers are sufficiently supported in the UK dealer network?

I have always stayed out of the dealer networks despite being asked numerous times as it really takes away from my beliefs in running my custom drum company, but the support isn't there as much because the margins are smaller. Also the custom market is always going to be at higher prices than the big companies so customers looking for a mid range kit will always choose from the named brands.

What do you think dealers can do to help bring more homegrown products to market?

I think they need to understand that not all bespoke companies are out to make millions of pounds. With me it's all about the reason you do something – it has to be for the right reasons!

I would rather make one drum a year for the right reason than 100 a year for the wrong reason.

Find out more about AD Drums at and

Check back tomorrow for the next Boutique Week instalment.

Tags: Interviews , Boutique Week , AD Drums

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