You'd think a musical instrument company that boasts deep-pocketed clients like Lady Gaga and Imagine Dragons would be raking in profit. But that wasn't always the case for Massachusetts-based SJC Custom Drums. What started out in 2000 as a hobby for brothers Mike and Scott Ciprari, who built these drum sets in their grandmother's basement, blossomed into a proper business -- one beset by creative differences and a damaging familial feud.
Though SJC enjoyed an enviable credibility within the music industry, it struggled to stay in the black and fulfill orders, leading to a rift between the brothers that saw Scott walk away from the business he co-founded. The company was in such dire straits that, in 2014, it eventually sought out Marcus Lemonis for a much-needed helping hand. Now, Mike says that, post-The Profit, his business has changed "180 degrees" … for the better.
When SJC first appeared on The Profit, the company was mired in chaos: it was inefficient and lacked the sort of scalable production process that could meet demand for its custom drums. It was also sorely missing a more budget-focused product line. But the most distressing rupture Marcus discovered had nothing to do with drums and everything to do with the Ciprari's lack of brotherly love. To truly fix SJC, Marcus had to first mend the nearly destroyed bond between Mike and Scott.
Before their brotherly break-up, the company structure was split 50/50, with Mike running SJC's business matters and Scott handling more creative issues, like the actual production and innovation of drums. Over time, however, Scott began to feel Mike had turned the staff against him, or as he put it "formed a mutiny," essentially forcing him to accept a buyout.