December 2021EntrepreneurshipFeaturedIssues

Holiday Gift Idea: Flute Swabs by Flute Hoot aka Jodi Bortz

Jodi Bortz is the owner of Flute Hoot and a life long flutist and creator. The patented Flute Hoot flute cleaning swab was designed to wick away moisture from your fully assembled flute, quickly and gently. Jodi lives in Chestertown, Maryland with her husband, Gregg and her daughters Sydney and Bailey. 

Tell us about your flute life.

I studied flute performance and pedagogy at Moravian College and I've been a private flute teacher and performer for more than 20 years. I've recently taken on the role of director of the Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble and I am looking forward to our season starting soon.

What are your goals professionally?

I have recently taken on a role as an elementary music and band instructor. I believe a good foundation in the basics of beautiful sound, healthy posture, and joyful musicality can lead to a higher level of success and musicianship in students. I hope to reach even more children in my new role and instill a love of music and learning. I am continuing to grow Flute Hoot, which is currently shipping to the US and throughout the world.

Tell us about how you started with creating the flute stands and swabs, how long ago? how did you come up with the idea?

Several years ago, I was performing regularly with a flute quartet and when you're in a long rehearsal or a long gig, your flute can get damp and your keys sticky. At the same time, I was seeing a lot of young students in my teaching studio and found myself saying "Gently! Gently!" whenever we got to the end of the lesson and it was time to swab and put their instruments away. A flute is a big investment, so ramming a wood or metal stick through it seems counterintuitive to me. I set out to create something that was strong enough and long enough to swab an entire flute or piccolo but gentle enough that my smallest students could swab without doing damage to their instrument.

What is the part that you enjoy the most about Flute Hoot?

I love meeting and talking to my customers. I love being able to help other flutists solve the problem of keeping their flute clean during performances, and I love hearing about their successes in the flute world.

What has been your greatest challenge with creating Flute Hoot?

My biggest challenge was navigating the patent process. I went through many iterations of the flute swab before I landed on the current design because it works the best. It took more than 3 years to design the prototypes, test them, refine the design and work through the patent process. Receiving the patent certificate in 2015 was one of my greatest personal accomplishments.

What are your goals for Flute Hoot?

I want to continue to grow Flute Hoot and to help other flutists take good care of their instruments. I think there is a lot more market out there for something like what I have created and I hope to continue to reach new customers.

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