Far and away the biggest chain of it’s kind in New Zealand with – currently - 25 retail stores nationwide, the Rockshop Group continues to expand both the number and size of its outlets and roster of the world’s best brands of Musical Instruments and Equipment. Since establishment in 1986, growth has been dramatic with the Rockshop Group undoubtedly the industry and market leader.
The Rockshop has become a household name, synonymous with professional sales and service, the best available products, committed staff, innovative presentation, superior locations and a proactive commitment to local artists and the NZ Music Industry as whole through partnerships such as Rockquest and Play It Strange.
The Group’s mission statement is simple: “Best Prices, Best Service, Best Products, Best Deals – Guaranteed”. It is within this simple framework that the group has flourished, driven by the desire to be the best... and stay the best.
The NZ Rockshop Group continues to dominate the NZ market through its market leading brand support, professional approach and commitment to providing musicians of all levels with the best possible deals, service and products.
When The Beatles played the English television show ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ in October 1963, it would have been impossible to predict the impact they would have on those who saw it. Obviously The Beatles played a very influential part in the musical and cultural revolution of the 1960s. However, that iconic performance, on a black and white TV, was the inspiration for Mick Webb’s musical journey.
Mick is best known for creating the Rockshop, the largest chain of wholly-owned musical instrument retail stores in New Zealand. It has been this enduring passion for music that has not only created a successful group of companies but also allowed many others to live out their musical passions through their careers.
A Christmas present of a 3⁄4 size nylon string guitar from his sister was Mick’s first musical instrument. He was listening to ‘skiffle’ music at the time. It was a rough, raw, immediate music compared to the mainstream alternatives. Mick wanted to be involved in music in some shape or form. This lead to joining a school band called ‘The Section’, which eventually lead to the first band which Mick managed called ‘Slowbone’. “I felt my skills weren’t just in playing music but in management, organising, taking opportunities and making things work. I really enjoyed going out and finding gigs for the band and dealing with record companies". Mick signed Slowbone to a deal with the ‘Rare Earth’ record label in the UK.
His musical journey continued in the formation of a t-shirt printing company. Starting with printing shirts for Slowbone, it lead to printing shirts for numerous other bands and even for customers like Richard Branson’s Virgin Records. Eventually he sold this company and opened a guitar store.
Mick then opened a store called Holiday Music in Walthamstow, East London. He split from that and opened the Cambridge Rockshop, then opening a shop in Germany, Islington and another in Cambridge.
Mick left England in 1986 to live in New Zealand. He met Paul Skipper, who was working as a town planner. Paul played keyboards and was gigging with his bands regularly around the Auckland region. They formed a partnership, taking over a rundown music store on Karangahape Road, Auckland.
Over the next 25 years this partnership has developed into a group of companies representing 30 musical instrument retail stores, 4 wholesale companies, a magazine, a private music venue called Backbeat and Rockshop Radio.
“It’s all been very organic, a natural progression the way it’s all developed. I’ve been very fortunate with the people that I’ve had around me. Business is all about people. Trusting, enjoying and living your life with other people. Without other people life is nothing, that’s where we get enjoyment from, interaction and relationship”. Mick emphasises that “the organisation is not about me, it’s about everyone in it. People enjoying what they do. We can’t all be successful rock ’n’ rollers. Some people have their five minutes of fame and then find they still have to pay the bills, particularly in New Zealand. So it’s good to be part of creating something where musicians can earn a living by indulging in their passion in one way, shape or form".
“It’s been great to have buy-in from other people who have similar aspirations or love for music”. Mick believes the Rockshop is distinguished by its employees. All of its directors, senior staff, product managers, marketing & design, technical service division, IT team and even the group CFO are active or gigging musicians, who bring a real musical connection to the company. This goes much further with numerous store managers, retail & wholesale staff all regularly playing, bringing their expertise and their musical passion to what they do.
This real musical connection is woven into the fundamental structure of the organisation from the top down and provides credibility for both customers and staff.
L to R: Torey Leggett - Director, Brett Wells - Director, Mick Webb - Managing Director, Paul Skipper - Director, Wayne McIntyre - Director (not shown).