Former classical chef Trystan Lloyd Williams and his auntie Einir Williams have always been passionate about music.
But the resurgence of vinyl and advertisement of a local record shop for sale piqued their interest in making it more than a hobby.
Now they own Atomic, a vinyl and comic shop off Islington’s Camden Passage, which is about to celebrate its first birthday.
It has been a steep learning curve and a major life change for 27-year-old Trystan, who looks after the day-to-day running of the shop.
He explained: “Cheffing is long hours and very stressful – I got married last year and wanted to spend some quality time with my wife and improve my work-life balance.
“I’ve always been into music – through my teenage years and early 20s and always had a small collection of cherished albums. As vinyl was making a resurgence, I grew more of an interest. I was online one day trying to figure out what I wanted to do after cheffing and I noticed a record shop for sale in Stoke Newington. I mentioned it in passing to my Auntie (who all my musical tastes come from). She has an encyclopaedic knowledge when it comes music and had always talked about going into retail. We started talking about how we would run it and the dream started to become a reality.”
(Owner Trystan Lloyd Williams)
The landlord of the Stoke Newington shop was unable to agree the internal changes they wanted to make there so Trystan and Einir continued their search. They found the shop on Camden Passage, a former second-hand clothes shop and put in an offer.
Trystan added: “The inspiration for the design all came from Einir. It was a race to get the shop open in time for last Christmas. We’d bought 10,000 records from an online shop which was closing-down and had to carry out a full inventory, which was incredibly time-consuming.
“We learnt a lot about how to categorise vinyl by its condition, publishing date and what etchings to look out for. When we found a good record, we’d put it on and enjoy it. What had been a hobby has very quickly become a profession – it feels like a dream job.”
Einir and Trystan, who also sell vinyl via Atomic’s online shop, came up with the name while listening to a Blondie album.
A year on, their business is shipping worldwide and they’ve gained great insight into what sells and what customers are looking for. In Islington that generally includes jazz, funk and soul, anything by The Beatles, Pink Floyd, David Bowie and Prince!
(Atomic on Charlton Place)
Trystan added: “My music tastes have changed too. We play the music we think people in the shop would want to listen to – before I was into British Indie music but, since opening Atomic, my tastes have become much more diverse.”
The resurgence of vinyl means demand stretches beyond those looking for retro to a much wider demographic seeking out albums by artists who’ve never printed anything in vinyl up until now.
Atomic is the latest business to join the Local Buyers Club, offering members 10% off purchases over £10.
Want to support local independent business and save some money? Join the Local Buyers Club and save 10 - 30% for just £12 a year.
Trystan added: “We joined the Local Buyers Club because it demonstrates we’re part of a community of independent shops and because it’s a badge of confidence and approval.”
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