Not only does Les Harpes Camac produce harps, it also develops and services them. The company’s lever harps are designed for beginner musicians, while its pedal harps are better in the hands of advanced players and professionals.
“We’ve also developed electric harps in both areas,” says President Jakez François. “They’re a rarity on the market.” Camac’s best sellers include the lever harp Ulysse, the DHC line of electric harps, and the pedal harps Oriane and Élysée.
“There’s a six-month wait for Ulysse – that’s how popular it is,” Mr. François notes. Surprisingly Camac’s smallest target group is professional musicians, orchestras and conservatories. Instead, families buying instruments for their children make up about 90% of its customers.
“The harp is really a niche instrument for kids, compared to the guitar or the piano,” the President adds. Camac sells its harps through its showroom in Paris, its boutiques in Berlin, Madrid and soon Rotterdam, and its twelve franchisees.
“About 55% of turnover is generated outside of France,” Mr. François says. “Sales in Europe and worldwide make up equal parts.” The brothers Gérard and Joël Garnier founded Camac in 1972 as a producer of American Indian flutes. With time other instruments joined the range, and in 1985 the brothers split the company into a part that would sell musical instruments and another to develop and produce harps: Les Harpes Camac. Today Eric Piron leads the company as General Director with Mr. François.
Camac’s overriding goal remains the optimization of harps. The harps are known for their distinct French sound – clear and vibrant with a defined timbre. Camac will continue to partner with musicians to develop new products, such as its lightweight harp with carbon for easier transport.