As more and more quaint record shops pop up on our local high streets, the quiet but powerful UK vinyl market reached an overall value of £25 million in the quarter leading to the 1st of July 2018. Recently, I spoke to the proprietor of Richmond’s first vinyl outlet, Ken Marshall, founder of Sleeve Notes Records, about the booming vinyl business and his personal journey into selling records.

Firstly, I was interested to hear his motivation for starting the shop. ‘A change in life circumstances last year, following a very long career in the music business, made me re-evaluate what I wanted to do.’ He told me. ‘I had always wanted to own a record shop- this turning point in my life turned dreams into reality for me.’ I admire Ken’s guts in taking a complete change in career to fulfil his childhood dreams- a daunting feat. ‘From a young age I was always fascinated by music and vinyl; the records opened up ideas that I could only dream about in a pre-internet age. They were an important window into a much bigger world.’ After discovering the story behind the shop opening, I moved on to the more pragmatic questions, like why he chose Richmond. ‘As a long-time vinyl collector and someone who lives in the area, I was always surprised that Richmond didn’t have a record shop.’ He explained. ‘Richmond has a fantastic musical heritage with many musicians living in the area, so a record shop only seemed fitting.’ As someone who knows nothing about records, the name ‘Sleeve Notes’ intrigued me- I wanted to find out what it meant. ‘One thing that always comes up when talking about vinyl is how much people love the artwork and reading the notes on the sleeves to find out about the record.’ I discovered. ‘As this is something which is missing from the digital experience, I wanted a name that represented what people loved about vinyl.’ I also asked him, as we see more and more record shops opening up, why we as consumers should come to Sleeve Notes for our vinyl. ‘We are a small, 100% independent, family owned business. In the short time we’ve been open, we’ve started to build up loyal some loyal customers and it is great to hear them discuss music and make conversation, something you cannot get from an online purchase.’ As a completely digitised 16 year old eager to try new things, there was only one more question that I needed to ask Ken: What vinyl did he recommend for me? ‘Instead of individual records, I would encourage you to go out and explore music and find things you love. Buy things that will make you dance, think, laugh, and cry… that’s music.’