Meet maker Steve Olsen of The Wandering Minstrel, Inc. This self-proclaimed lifelong maker was a machinist in the Army where he honed his skills allowing him to pursue his passion for making into a lifelong career.
Where did the idea to make musical instruments come from?
Books and gratitude! This particular project, now a business, was inspired by books! I was reading about musical instruments and came across the dulcimer family. It was stated that anyone could play the dulcimer, especially those who never played an instrument before. I was curious! So, with my background in all things making, I found a variation of the dulcimer that spoke to me and made a few.
Music friends were tickled with my builds and wanted one for their instrument collection! That inspired me to build enough for our first show. I was blown away by two things that happened during that first showing. 1) My dulcimers made people HAPPY! My girlfriend (Ethany Galloway) and I would get people playing instantly and folks would giggle, laugh, and cry! Nothing I ever made before held that much positive influence over people! 2) They sold! Customers thanked me for the quality builds I produced and asked me to keep building. They loved having a musical instrument that was beautifully handcrafted and sounded great! They loved that beginners could jump right in and pros could jam out! They encouraged me to keep building.
A decade later, I’m building my best Travel Dulcimers yet! I’m continuing to hone my skills, and now have my own original Box Flute design to offer! Every day I am grateful for going down this path and for the support of my partner and customers.
What new product(s) will you be bringing to the show?
I’m super proud to be sharing my Box Flutes with everyone! These travel-friendly woodwinds have a calm and relaxing voice and are very easy to start playing! With all of the stresses in today’s world, my Box Flutes offer moments of peace and relaxation; perfect stocking stuffer size for your music-loving loved ones!
What prompted you to apply for the Braum’s An Affair of the Heart shows?
We recently took a leap of faith to pursue our musical instrument business full-time! In doing so we relocated to southeast Kansas and discovered Braum’s An Affair of the Heart while looking for local events. The AAOTH staff welcomed and worked with us to ensure we had an awesome experience. Our first show with them was last July in Tulsa. We met so many great people and new customers! It felt so good to be back in business and making a joyful noise with our musical instruments!
Shop The Wandering Minstrel, Inc. in booth 403 Nov. 18-20 at the SageNet Center at Expo Square. You can also find them online at pickinstick.com, Facebook or Instagram.