People of all ages have been having fun with harmonicas for hundreds of years. The musical instrument’s popularity continues with the world’s smallest working harmonica on a necklace from Village Square. The product is a big hit in all kinds of gift and souvenir shops, especially in historic markets, and science and nautical museums. It comes individually bagged with free custom header cards, which can be customized on the front to share company name, event and/or logo, while the back offers simple song instructions.
Village Square’s harmonicas are made by the world famous Hohner Group, and are about one inch in length. They contain four holes, with eight playable notes. The instrument is mounted on a 30-inch waxed cotton cord, which resembles leather and is decorated with assorted colored beads. The wholesale price is $3.50, and retail is $5.99 to $8.99. “At these low price points, many companies just sell plastic items,” says Gary Faltin, who owns the company along with his wife, Pamela. “Our harmonicas are made of metal.”
Fort McHenry, San Diego Maritime Museum & beyond
On the wholesale level, whatever interest merchants have, whether it is a baseball stadium, nautical destination or farm, Village Square will customize a song to their location. “We teach retailers how to play the song, and we include instructions on the header card so their customers can easily learn to play as well,” Faltin explains. Notes are marked by arrows, with an up arrow indicating a breath out and a down arrow indicating a breath in. “We sell at Fort McHenry where they wrote the Star Spangled Banner, so that is what we teach people to play there, and at Laura Ingalls’ Little House on the Prairie we teach a prairie song,” Faltin continues. Multiple other locations where Village Square’s harmonica necklaces can be found include a New England whaling ship, New Orleans Blues Festival, San Diego Maritime Museum and cultural events in Japan.
“Our harmonica necklaces are popular wherever they are sold, and once merchants stock them in their shops, they stay with us,” Faltin adds. “Customers like that they are real quality harmonicas. They remind some people of their childhood, and for others they are something new. Our harmonica necklace is small, fun and affordable, and it really works. Our philosophy is to offer things that people can actually use.”
Village Square also sells compasses and telescopes on cords, as well as a bosun’s whistle and sand timer. They are solid brass pieces that also really work. “Those are selling extremely well at places like planetariums and the Grand Canyon,” Faltin reports. These items wholesale for $4 and retail for up to $8.99 each. The firm also sells full size telescopes and sextants. The minimum order is generally 48 pieces, and turnaround is typically ten business days or less.