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Shelley & Waylon - Couple

Our people, their stories

Connecting through music

“I never get tired of seeing Waylon, he’s a hard worker and a fantastic father, he finds a balance that works well, always putting our family’s needs first.” Shelley and Waylon share a marriage, a family and a business, however if it wasn’t for music (and fate) they might have never met. For Shelley, music has always been closely tied to family. Yearning to be close to her late father’s memory, as a teenager she picked up his old acoustic guitar and taught herself to play. One day it needed a restring, and she took it to a music shop where Waylon was working. The rest is history.

“We hit it off immediately… I ended up lay-buying a drum kit, so got to see him every week.” This was just fine with Waylon of course. “I would always look forward to her coming in. She has a kind of positive spark that rubs off on people around her.” Shelley credits their shared love of music for shaping their lives. “Music has brought us together and helped focused our life journey together as partners and as a family… We look forward to watching [our kids] grow and turn into amazing young people. Maybe they’ll be musicians, maybe something completely different.”

Pursing a passion

“He always wanted to be an inventor when he was small; he also wanted music to be part of his job, ever since he picked up guitar at nine years of age.” Like all journeys, it wasn’t simple. Waylon tried his hand at lots of different things, never thinking he would one day even own his own home. He eventually ended up at that fateful music shop, although after a while he grew frustrated. “I was spending a lot of time away from our home either at the music shop, or gigging or doing small tours.” Their solution? To start their own music business, making quality effects pedals and fixing equipment and instruments. Together, they’ve followed Waylon’s dream and made it a reality. But it wasn’t easy. “Deciding to start a company together was real team work. Waylon worked super hard… We had to think outside the box to begin with.”

Of course, dreams don’t come free, they take money. “Money to pay the mortgage and to buy equipment, and the start up costs of building a very small workshop.” Shelley is proud of how hard they worked to realise and fund their dream. “It was quite stressful and we talked about concerns and both worked on simply not spending… While it made life a bit tough, it actually did not hurt us to live a more humble existence. No dinners out, or shopping sprees or movies, in fact we lived off lots of soups and homemade bread, and lots of basic but nutritional meals. I got great at making something out of nothing and am still very good at not wasting food. I found that by being diligent with our money, we really could survive on one wage, albeit rather frugally. Everything went back to basics.”

As their company went from strength to strength, Waylon eventually had to sacrifice one aspect of music that he loved. “Giving up teaching guitar, it had to happen. The workshop has got busier and I wanted to gig and build and repair and not be teaching into the evenings.” Business is just one part of the puzzle however, and starting a family took things to another level for Shelley. “We wanted to be set up before even deciding to have children… Adding Cohen [our first child] into the mix and us deciding for me not to go back to work and instead for us to focus on family and the business together was a challenge.”

Juggling family and business

Building a business that complimented a family life was always a priority; Shelley believes their parenting is empowered by their work model. “Self-employment gives us a reasonable amount of flexibility with the kids, so we can enjoy being here when they are here.” For Waylon, the balance between family and work has always been paramount. “We have worked really hard over the years to put things in place to try and separate the business time from our family the best we can… You can always earn more money, but time is something not all people factor into life. Time is a precious commodity and the challenge in life for us has always been trying to find a balance of work and play, income and freedom, having enough to support our family.”

This balance also gives their business something special, setting them apart. “Because we are a small family owned business, we truly care about our customers. We often get to know some of them on a personal level. We want the best for them, we want them to get the best out of their gear and to trust that if they have our pedals or we’ve worked on their equipment then we back our workmanship 100%. We pride ourselves on our quality workmanship; we genuinely want to keep our customers for life.”

For Shelley, her business and family with Waylon are symbiotic. “We want ours to be a long-term success story that maybe our kids may continue if any of them decide they too love electronic, inventing and building, but there no pressure. More importantly we want them to follow their own dreams and create their own life journeys and memories.”

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