“Is Boutique finally over?” JHS’ Josh Scott on what Fulltone’s reported closure could signal for the pedal industry

“I think that Fulltone signifies the ending of this era. There’s really nothing left.”

JHS's Josh Scott on Fulltone

Image: JHS Pedals on YouTube

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JHS Pedals founder Josh Scott has weighed in on Fulltone’s reported closure, and what all of this could mean for the boutique pedal industry.

In the latest episode of his weekly YouTube series The JHS Show, Scott discusses Fulltone founder Michael Fuller’s decision to shut down the business after 30 years of operation.

Referencing Fuller’s official memo which states “I’m closing the Fulltone CA Shop because I will not start pumping my personal money into a business that no longer turns a profit… this four year climate makes 100 per cent made in the USA impossible,” Scott says that as a fellow pedal-maker, he fully agrees with the sentiment that “it’s so hard to make money on a product.”

Diving into the ins and outs of how Fulltone blew up in the 90s (via magazine advertising, for one), Scott argues that current market conditions (the rise of digital effects, death of print media, shrinking market share) simply do not allow for that anymore.

“Mike was a print ad, old school, handmade boutique quality thing that clashed with culture going forward,” he reasons, “I don’t know how that affected him but he’s done very well but there’s only so much in the market.”

According to Scott, several characteristics define the current era of boutique companies: they are smaller, they hand make everything with “the most select parts available”, and most importantly, they “stand for some type of ideal”.

The “boutique virtue”, if such a thing exists, is that “there is a care and an attention given that is much different than a bigger company,” says Scott, who’s quick to clarify that “the care given to the product that’s different than the bigger company doesn’t [automatically] make it better”.

While it’s “interesting that this boutique era has this ideal [that] we’re gonna make things by hand, we’re gonna take more time with it, we’re gonna make fewer things,” Scott is of the opinion that all of this is coming to an end.

Describing the pedal-maker’s closure as “the signifier of possibly the end of an era,” the question Scott tosses to his audience is a poignant one — Is boutique finally over?

For Scott, the answer is clear: Fulltone’s closure is both a symptom and the culmination of changing times.

“I think that Fulltone signifies the ending of this era. There’s really nothing left.”

Check out the full video below.

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