Showcasing Professionals in Live Music: Interview with Hannah Smuda, Inventory Manager and Production Coordinator

When I met Hannah for the first time at the Tour Link Pro conference 2.5 years ago, I knew that this woman is a proactive doer and she’s not gonna just wait for things to happen. Since then, she has proven me right. Hannah has built a successful career in live music and touring of 15 years and is always one step ahead of the game.

Hannah’s expertise lies in logistics which she knows from different angles. Most recently, she has worked as an Inventory Manager and Production Coordinator at a lighting vendor to complement her prior experience in tour management and production.

Hannah’s journey and how she got to where she is right now, as mentioned in so many other interviews in this series, shows the importance of networking in the industry. She’s always ready to give back and help out her colleagues and peers, which goes a long way. Again, an interview to learn from!

This is Hannah’s story.

Inventory Manager and Production Coordinator Hannah Smuda
Inventory Manager and Production Coordinator Hannah Smuda. Hair, makeup, photography and styling: Jillian Savage

Hi Hannah! What do you do in the music industry?

I was most recently an Inventory Manager and Production Coordinator at a touring lighting vendor. I oversaw where gear was allotted, sourced and booked out sub-rentals (gear traded between Production companies at wholesale prices when you are short in items), assisted with tour logistics, our storage and rehearsal clients, artist hospitality, shipping and receiving, assisted client relations, and assisted the shop manager. A little bit of everything or a lot of everything!

I have a prior history in Tour Managing and Production Coordinator roles. All are logistics on different sides of the equation!

How did you end up working as an Inventory Manager and Production Coordinator? 

Well, I’m currently furloughed but I got my role at Pulse Lighting through two really rad women… One is Lauren their Business Manager and we had connected online through a few of the women’s groups and stayed in touch so when she heard I was a free agent she reached out to me and invited me in for a meeting.

The second is a friend from touring world Emily who has worked with one of the owners at Pulse previously and she told him time before last when I was looking that he should hire me. I took another gig before they made a move so when I went in to meet with them, he told her and she said really good things about me.

Cool full circle! Shows you never know what friends are putting in a good word for you!

What is the best thing about your work and on the other hand, the biggest challenge?

Well I’m furloughed. But the best thing about this gig at Pulse was the people. You had to be a good hang to make it on our crew. It’s truly a family from the clients to the owners. Everyone was incredibly talented but they are also fun and I still keep up with most of my friends/coworkers. They are humble, hard working, insanely talented people. They made every day good.

Time management is the biggest challenge of my job (which I’m fortunately naturally gifted in) but when you are loading five tours at once and two are returning home… It’s a challenge to be fast on your feet to keep on top of what is happening and where you need to be next!

Hannah and her lil Shih Tzu love Sonny. Photo credit: Hannah Smuda

How is the Coronavirus affecting you and your work?

I’m furloughed. It came to a sad screeching very early on on this for me and it’s been really rough. I bought a car a couple weeks before so most of my savings went to that before I knew this was happening.

What’s your best survival tip for fellow people in the industry in this situation?

The best thing we have right now is each other so check in on your friends and peers. This is keeping me alive right now. My friends know who they are and I love everyone of you for the effort you’ve put towards staying connected.

Take care of your mental health. My therapist is a former tour manager and it’s so nice to occasionally call him and talk to someone who gets it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Feel free to promote yourself and your services, how people can find you on social media, how they can help, etc.

You can find me on the socials if you look up Hannah Smuda. I’m the one the only! Instagram.com/hannahsmuda and if you care to help pay my rent Venmo is hannahsmuda, email/PayPal is hsmuda@gmail.com would be happy to answer any career questions as well there!


Wanna read more interviews with live music professionals? Click here


Current in the live music industry:

The Atlantic: Story by Dave Grohl: The Day the Live Concert Returns 

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