August 18, 2019

The Maker’s Dozen – Igor of DawMan Manufacturing

One of the Plectroverse’s best kept secrets, DawMan Manufacturing are responsible for some of the most strikingly efficient plectrums I’ve ever come across. Not content with thrusting their Jazz King into this top 5 , their Shredline pulped the opposition to be crowned my favourite pick of the year in the second ever HR! video on YouTube. Thankfully, we can all find out why, as I sit down with mainman Igor P to get some answers.

HR: thanks for talking to Heavy Repping! For the uninitiated, can you introduce yourself and DawMan Picks?

I: HI! My name is Igor. I’m owner and main plectrum producer in DAW MANUFACTURING

HR: What was your background prior to becoming a plectrier? What’s it like being a plectrier in 2019? Have you experienced a change in attitude from players and makers in the scene? A lot of pick makers go for serious thicknesses, and very high densities when it comes to their materials. How conscious was the decision to stay under the 3mm mark? What do you think about picks over that threshold? Who’s playing DawMan Picks? DawMan principally seems to use thermoplastic and Delrin over other materials – what was it that prompted this choice? Can you give the readers some insight into your production process when it comes to thermoplastic?

I: I’ve played guitar for 20 years (or tried to!). DAW MAN. is a very young company. My first order that I produced and sent was in 2 February 2016. Before 2016, I had a few business startups and companies in Fitness and Apparel industries. During all that period, I played guitar, and scrolling through Instagram one autumn day in 2015 I saw Gravity or V-picks (don’t remember) – I founda video on Youtube with the process of pick production from V-picks, then went to shop, bought my first grinder, piece of 3mm acrylic and tried to make my first picks. Also, want to say that I did not plan a business-like production process in that moment; it was for my personal use only. I made picks and was amazed by the quality, durability and tone! Then I posted few a photos of picks in my Instagram and received questions from people: -“Where to buy? How to order?”

After those questions and few orders, I made a decision that I will try to make this business idea real and made my first webshop. (after 10-20 emails with positive feedback from first client.) In addition, my investment in 2015 year to business: 50 usd – Chinese grinder, material for production (about 200 usd) and cost for laser engraving service to local company that had laser engraver. Also it’s very funny, but about first 1.5 years I made all picks on window-sill in my apartment. I need to say that 2015, 2016 were gold years for promotion in Instagram without any money or other manipulations….   All photos immediately got to top and gained 700-800 likes. Today all bad with it in Instagram. Think that it is unreal in 2019 for new people in business and my case do not work in these days. 

I do not associate myself like 100% plectrier in media or any socials because I try to build strong company/brand and this brand must exist with me or without in future. Main idea and philosophy of DAW MAN.: We make awesome tone and durable picks for affordable price and this why we stay under 3mm picks or don’t make picks about 20-30-50usd cost each). Also if you’ll try to find real professional guitarist who have a lot of session work in studio or with artist, you don’t find any who plays 5mm -10 mm, 12 mm picks every day with mirror polish on top and made from nice colorful epoxy=)). All of this options just fetish for newbies, collectors and awesome for gifts. I know it 100% because have worldwide statistic of sales and in our region (CIS countries) 95% endorsers are only high level professional guitarists (video of playing and their level you could find in our Instagram page or website). That’s why we choose classic Delrin and variation of cast acrylic for our picks. We still don’t use injection-molding machines and got all material in sheets from few production factories in our region. Then only semi-automated and handmade production. But soon we’ll start to use all range of machines. It’s maximum info that I can open about technology process. It’s our commercial secret! I don’t share the point of view from new plectriers about “handmade”, “handcrafted” like main marketing idea, for me this is a lack of investment or knowledge in production process. I know it 100% because I was that guy in starting point. Also I know maximum 2-3 plectriers who made really great looking handmade picks, not 20-30 or 50. 

We still work in boutique segment but technically go in mass market with boutique specifications in future. That’s why in this days DAW MAN. production is very modern and technology production and very soon we’ll move to the next generation of DAW MAN. Picks (3rd generation), more quality than before and with new options. Also I think that our manufacture is the only among others boutique producers (maybe 1 max 2 other big companies – exception) who can produce about 15000 handmade picks per month. Last 2 years we have a lot of work like OEM producer for other brands, right now it is about 80% of all production volume.  

HR: You seem to be right into the Jazz III and XL shapes – what drew you to these shapes particularly? From your current range, what’s your personal favourite? Where would you recommend someone who’s new to the company to start? The first pick I got from you was a Dia de Muertos skull on a black plectrum, but the design that defines DawMan for me is the sparkle-finish. How did that come about?

I: We produce about 15 different shapes like custom option and if you need something special we also can do it: any shape, size, thickness and etc. Also when you visit our webshop, you see only 20% of our production capabilities. Other 80% in custom production for clients and other brands. (In 2016-2017 I had more free time and tried to make new picks or designs each 2-3 weeks. Today I have not extra free time for it and I hope that we’ll update the whole DAW MAN. line in our webshop by the end of this year. My personal choice – pointed 3mm picks and pointed shape is bestseller from all DAW MAN. picks (our personal statistic for last 4 years of sales). About sparkle, skulls and etc… for me – our Tone defines DAW MAN, not design=). In the end of 2019 or 2020 you’ll see new affordable options on our picks… Maybe new shapes or picks=) 

HR: большое спасибо for the interview – your Jazz King is immense!