April 27, 2020

We got to know Mim at NAMM 2011, when she was working with ukuleles and ice cream!  And we’d say that shows what a sweet personality this Friend of Ohana brings to the table in every interaction.  We’ve been lucky to grow up with Mim as this tiny instrument took on big popularity.

Mim is known far and wide by ukulele players for her attention to detail, personalized service, and ability to set up your ukulele just for you.  Whether it is a change to left-handed stringing, an EQ installation, or a simple change of strings -- Mim works with her customers to make sure they’ll be strumming and smiling for years to come.

Image Source: Instagram

Beyond being an incredible and reliable source for all things ukulele, Mim also puts on one heck of a show!  Catch her on stage for a one-of-a-kind performance that is sure to get you into a celebratory spirit. She is part of the core planning committee for the world-renowned Grand Northern Ukulele Festival, and provides a number of classes for those who would like more depth of knowledge about the instrument.

If you’re driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and spy a lovely little home, with a bright blue roof -- stop in and say hello!  Mim and her assistants Bitsy and Dovey will be so excited to help you find your perfect uke!

Image Source: Instagram

Company: Mim’s Ukes
Name: Mim
Position: CEO, Technician, Web Design, Warehouse & Security
Years at Company: 10
Main Focus: Ukulele Only


How long has your company been in business?

10 Years

What makes your store stand out?

A one-person operation, Mim is known worldwide for her setup.  All ukuleles are meticulously gone over, set up to the customer’s specifications, and shipped with care off over the world.  She only sells ukuleles! And being an ukulele-only dealer means she is very picky about the quality of the instruments she offers, which is why Ohana is the main ukulele brand she sells! 

Where will folks see you outside of the shop?
Are there community programs you’re involved in?

Community Ukulele Workshops, The June Bug Center for the Arts, and various charitable ukulele causes!

How did you get started in musical instrument sales? 

It is a long story!  Once upon a time I had an ice cream shop.  I bought an ukulele because no one was coming in during the winter months.  I would play in my downtime and a company thought it would be funny if I was an ukulele and ice cream shop.  I thought, “Why not?”. But being a bit of a perfectionist, I knew that if I was going to offer ukuleles I wanted to offer it well.  So I went about learning set-up from various technicians. Their know-how combines with 10 years of experience means I have a very particular set of skills.  Eventually it was time to close the ice cream shop, move to the middle of the mountains, and sell ukuleles!

Any favorite tales from retail?

I love when people come into my shop and I get to watch them fall in love with their new ukulele.  My favorite thing is when someone falls in love with the first ukulele they try. It is like in Harry Potter when the wand chooses them.  I ask them a couple questions about their preferences and hand them a uke, and many times it is just what they were looking for. Even though I make sure they try as many as possible, it is kind of fun when we get it right on the first shot!

Image Source: Instagram

Favorite age to teach to?

Kids workshops are hilarious!  But I love teaching adults too.  I just love watching any age group become music makers!

Studio Space/Host Performances/Regular Community-Open Events?

I am in the process of renovating an old cinder block country shed into a demo space.  I also have a flat bed trailer and land if anyone wants to put on a show. I emcee at various ukulele festivals.  I am on Team GNUF, where I help plan and bring about the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival in the UK! I also put on a local Vaudeville show from time to time!

Image Source: Grand Northern Ukulele Festival

Why are Ohana Ukuleles a good product for Mim's Ukes? 

All over the world, people trust me.  They trust that I will be offering quality ukuleles!  And as a retailer that cares about my customers, I want to offer the best value for their money.  Ohana to me is the best bang for my customer’s buck! In their price point they have the best true-to-tonewood sound and quality build!

I am super picky!  I won't offer an ukulele that does not have a great true-to-the-wood tone and a great build.  With Ohana tone is kind. Mahoganies sound like a mahogany. Cedar sounds like a cedar. I know that may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many brands manage to manufacture their instruments in such a way that they no longer possess the tone of the wood it is made out of.  So if someone says they want a mahogany sound, at a good price, I know they are looking for an Ohana! You can insert any other tonewood in there as well! Being a technician, the “bones” of an ukulele are also SUPER important. With Ohana, the neck and frets are excellent! So as a technician I know I will not have to deal with cumbersome problems such as lack of neck relief, twisted necks, and high frets that make an ukulele “buzz”. 

Image Source: Instagram

Why do you enjoy working with Ohana Ukes?

I just bragged about the ukes.  So of course that is why I love Ohana.  But also, I love the Ohana people! They really care about me and my business.  They really care about the ukulele. You can see Louis's passion for the ukuleles he produces and the innovations he has made to the instrument.  There are many innovative ukulele ideas on the market that have originated with Ohana. Steph is my sales contact and she is always there for me.  For my business of course, but also in working together for so many years, she has also become a really good friend. The company as a whole knows me personally, knows my likes and preferences when it comes to my stock, and I feel like they know me.  With other companies I am just a number, an invoice, an order. But with Ohana… ok this is going to sound cheesy… but with Ohana I am family! Ok, yes, I went there! But it is true!

Can you pick a favorite Ohana model?

You are asking me to pick a favorite child.  I love my little SK-38. It is my inspiration for my Vaudeville style acts and feels like my little partner in crime.  But, but the TK-250G is my deep voiced, smooth, resonant sidekick for when I kick back and play sad-songs in my shop. I love a good sad song.  But my O’nino I have named Tim has gone EVERYWHERE with me. He fits in my purse. He has been dinged, dropped, and abused, but he is my little constant travel friend!

Image Source: Instagram