Cardiff designer in tune with sleeve to warm trumpets
By Andy Roberts
BBC South East Wales
Brighter sound: the sleeve may improve the quality of cold trumpets
A designer from Cardiff says she is winning orders with her protective sleeve for trumpets which keeps the instrument warm in cold weather.
Ali Kedge devised the Warmahorn as an accessory for young musicians to decorate and protect their trumpet.
She also found that the sleeve made of wetsuit fabric helps improve the tone of cheaper instruments in all weather.
Orders for the product, made in Cardiff, have come from individuals and stores across the UK and Holland.
She said she came up with the idea when her daughter - jazz singer Ruby Samba - was performing an outdoor gig in the grounds of Cardiff Castle with trumpeter Jonny Bruce, who seemed to be playing off key.
"Jonny told me how difficult it is for brass players to keep their instruments good when it's cold," said Ali.
"Ruby jokingly said, 'why don't you make a little coat for it?' "
Ms Kedge, who works as a costume designer, used some pink fun fur to make a sleeve which she said proved a hit when Mr Bruce took it to gigs.
"All these trumpet players asked him where he got it from - all these dandies waiting for a chance to preen!"
She developed the idea further with marketing advice from a specialist music shop in Chesham, Buckinghamshire.
She also made contact with a factory in Cardiff which imports neoprene - wetsuit material.
They agreed to produce an initial run of around 200 items which she has been selling online to customers all over the UK.
Ms Kedge said word had spread via online forums and she recently received an order for several items from an individual in Holland.
Music shops in Cardiff and Bath have placed orders for the product as well as her advisers in Chesham.
The designer said the sleeve helped keep instruments warm but her retail experts believe the main appeal is allowing musicians to accessorise - or "pimp" - their horns.
A sleeve with diamante sparkles has been ordered for a major pop act
"A few years ago they had been buying in cheap Chinese coloured trumpets," she said.
"They were flying off the shelves but they've stopped selling them - lots of teachers have stopped allowing kids to use them because they're rubbish.
"For me that proves kids want personality... you've got the colour, you can also get stick-on bling, diamante, graffiti pens and transfers."
Two major British pop acts are said to have expressed an interest in kitting out their brass sections with the colourful sleeves, although their identities are being kept under wraps.
She has also been in discussion with the British Federation of Brass Bands and will be testing out a range of cornet, trombone and flugelhorn sleeves with the Tongwynlais Brass Band in Cardiff.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.