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iansmiler

Opening a Record Store - I need help!

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Hello group :)

I am getting to the end of my 'working for someone else' life and I am looking at starting a retail record business.

My kids are grown up and it now feels the right time to do something that I think I will love, as music is my passion.

Here is the problem though - I have no idea where to start! I have a small shop in mind that I can get relatively cheep but I have no contacts, I wouldn't have a clue where to buy new stock from?

I am hoping that some kind members of this group, maybe even other independent shop owners can give me some advice/tips that will help me on my journey.

Any advice welcome :) Ian

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A few thoughts:

- Have you considered starting small, perhaps with setting up a table at an indoor/outdoor flea market or “antique” store? Not sure where you live, but the timing for outdoor markets might be dwindling. Its worth the effort since “renting” a table might be $20 for the day and all you need to do is put a bunch of record crates up for people to paw through. You can engage with each person asking what they are looking for, both in music categories and what they look for in a physical store setting.
- If seriously considering a retail space, consider the location first. Does it get a lot of foot traffic? Is there ample (free) parking? Is there TOO much space in the store or not enough? 
- As for new stock, that’s not an area I’m familiar with, so I can’t help you there. Used stock however is relatively easy to come by. I’ve seen local shops scouring Facebook Marketplace with “I’ll buy your LP collection” posts and even yard signs. You can always offer to buy in bulk as long as you’re willing to weed through a lot of repetitive records. Beware of classical records since there isn’t a big market for those.

Edited by angryalan

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My advice would be focus on finding good used collections. It’s hard to open a new store focused only on new common stuff because most people will order it online nowadays, Amazon etc. 

 

if you can get people in with rare stuff and keep the rarities coming that’s what will build customers and profit. 

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Follow your taste, buy used collections in bulk, and email labels about how they do wholesale. You may open some wholesale distributor accounts like for example with Revolver or Bertus if youre going to be selling non-limited retail copies in black. Keep a separate calendar for drops. Get a good hookup for packaging because without a web operation youre going to probably lose money. Keep separate logs for your purchasing and sales so your taxes dont turn into a nightmare. Come up with a good brand that people can roll off their tongue. Oh and make sure you have plenty of money to do any of this to start because if you dont keep buying you dont have anything to sell. There are a million other things to do. Say goodbye to all of your free time. good luck !

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58 minutes ago, museummouth said:

My advice would be focus on finding good used collections. It’s hard to open a new store focused only on new common stuff because most people will order it online nowadays, Amazon etc. 

 

if you can get people in with rare stuff and keep the rarities coming that’s what will build customers and profit. 

This is important. I haven't stepped in a store that only sells new vinyl in at least fifteen years. My first (and really, only) draw to any record store is the quality and diversity of the used section. Keep it organized and keep it interesting, my favourite store has a new arrivals section for the used vinyl split up into daily section which they swap out as the days pass. 

 

All my new vinyl is ordered directly from labels or bands since that where the most interesting variants seem to be available. 

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I would echo the sentiment someone said earlier of maybe trying to work in another local record store to pick the owner's brain and get a good idea of how the business is handled, day to day stuff, etc. It may turn out you don't even like it. Many people get the idea in their head that they want to own a small business and sell something that they love. A great idea on the face of it but it's so much more than that. I'm not actively trying to discourage you (or anyone who dreams of these things) but while being a small business owner can be fun and rewarding it is even more grueling and stressful. You will find yourself working harder and longer hours than anything you probably have previously done for less or, in many cases, no money. Think long and hard about it before throwing your savings and time into a small business.

 

Again, I'm really not trying to discourage you but many businesses fail because people don't know what they are getting into. If you are passionate, have drive, are a hard worker and have money that you can afford to lose without destroying your life then give it a go. Just be sure to have a plan and go in as best prepared as possible. Good luck!

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Idk the first thing about running or working in a record store but i do know that my local shop has their suppliers, and they also constantly hunt for used lots of alternative/punk/rock collections.  It could be fun, it will be hard work, but please dont dump your retirement fund into it. 

you’ve got to stock a lot of artists from the get go, and many of whom that you cant stand to listen to.   Other than that be friendly and fair on prices and you might have a chance at a store that stays standing.   

 

Edited by bear801

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4 hours ago, luke.bremer said:

Have you considered offering to volunteer at a local shop to learn as much as possible? You could always offer to buy the owner lunch and pick their brain as well 🙂

Yes! I have a record store close by that is going to let me work there (It's a small shop, off the main street and he is half retired), I am covering for him for a full week at Christmas and in February - I figured that this would be great experience :)

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Some amazing advice :) Thank you for taking the time to reply 🤘

I certainly won't be sticking my retirement fund into it! The intention is to work at my local shop (He knows my plan, and I may end up taking over his stock when he jack it in), and whilst I ma working there start an onliune presence - via Instagram/Facebook and selling on Ebay which should help build my knowledge - Questions for the group: Are there better ways to sell on the internet? Should I avoid certain ways? 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, iansmiler said:

Some amazing advice :) Thank you for taking the time to reply 🤘

I certainly won't be sticking my retirement fund into it! The intention is to work at my local shop (He knows my plan, and I may end up taking over his stock when he jack it in), and whilst I ma working there start an onliune presence - via Instagram/Facebook and selling on Ebay which should help build my knowledge - Questions for the group: Are there better ways to sell on the internet? Should I avoid certain ways? 

 

 

1. Perfect your grading skills and really grade accurately. Spend the time to grade. If your feedback says "accurate grading" and "as described" several times, people will trust that you are safe to buy from. 

2. Don't try to be a flipper who sells rare shit at exorbitant prices. If you're looking to eventually open a shop, you want credibility, but also common sense: if you have to sit on stock until that one sucker/ rich kid/ super fan comes along who will pay the extra $50 you're asking, then you will sit in the red a lot.

3. Definitely start with what you like, but pay close attention to what is big at any given moment too. You may find new artists you like and something that will sell like hotcakes. 

 

Disclaimer: I'm not a store owner, or even really a frequent seller (sometimes I purge my collection). However, I know what works and doesn't. 

 

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16 minutes ago, iansmiler said:

selling on Ebay which should help build my knowledge - Questions for the group: Are there better ways to sell on the internet? Should I avoid certain ways? 

 

 

eBay is fine, but get familiar with Discogs, a lot of shops supplement their incoming stock (specific customer requests, keeping an eye out for high demand items, etc) and outgoing sales with Discogs.

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43 minutes ago, unknown pleasures said:

I feel like everyone here is just dancing around the subject and too polite to tell this guy he’s crazy.

I think it’s that, if he’s crazy enough to want to open a record store, then he fulfills the requirements needed to open a record store.

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2 hours ago, unknown pleasures said:

I feel like everyone here is just dancing around the subject and too polite to tell this guy he’s crazy.

Thays my thought. Yeah, I get the allure but if you havent been in business for 20 years already - you're essentially fucked. People have their loyalties.

 

 

Edit : Or if you dont have a niche genre that the others around you dont (assuming you're in a big city) youre gonna be out of business so fucking fast instead of slightly fast. 

Edited by Satan

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3 hours ago, somethingvinyl said:

When I opened my vape shop, I posted on vapecollective.proboards.com because I know I love the smell of fruit vapers, but didn't know anything about how to sell vaping to people over 20.  Store lasted 37 days. Good luck!

What's the latest and greatest mod in your shop?!

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I have been selling on discogs and Facebook for a few years now. Prior to that record shows and yard sales. It's a rough time to buy collections right now but can be done. People think their records are worth insane amounts of money. My suggestion would be to start small. Buy a couple of collections and resell wherever you feel the most comfortable. Absolutely do not open a spot until you know what you're doing. 

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9 hours ago, Satan said:

Thays my thought. Yeah, I get the allure but if you havent been in business for 20 years already - you're essentially fucked. People have their loyalties.

 

Edit : Or if you dont have a niche genre that the others around you dont (assuming you're in a big city) youre gonna be out of business so fucking fast instead of slightly fast.

I've always wanted to open a record shop here in my hometown. Since the closest is nearly an hour away. But all the points brought up here have always discouraged me. Mainly because I think the main reason I want to open one up is because I just want a shop close by hahahahaha

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On 9/12/2020 at 7:38 AM, iansmiler said:

Yes! I have a record store close by that is going to let me work there (It's a small shop, off the main street and he is half retired), I am covering for him for a full week at Christmas and in February - I figured that this would be great experience :)

As someone who has previously worked in a record shop and pressed records, I can’t recommend this enough. What I learned in my time working in a record shop was absolutely invaluable and stuff i would have never learned otherwise.

from learning how many copies distro will “actually give you” to typical trade-in scams, RSD preparation, and everything in between.

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I would only recommend a physical store if you're able to take over the store where you would be volunteering. You'll be able to understand how that particular store works(which you can improve upon as needed) and how much of a built-in clientele you might expect. At best you might make a little money and have a cool spot/hobby. And definitely do online sales with accurate grading and reasonable/secure shipping.

Good luck.

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