Know Your Product

Know Your Product

Know Your Product

trakMARX - How long have you been trading as Know Your Product & how did it all get off the ground in the first place?

Andrew Culture - Rikki Flag has been running Know Your Product as a mail order and dragging stuff to gigs to run a stall for about four years I guess, I've been shoving my tuppence worth in since we opened the shop in Ipswich about six months ago.

trakMARX - Punk/Ska/Metal/Psycho/Hardcore/Stuff - which genre is king of the hill right now - & what's the rough demographic of your customer base?

AC - It's gotta be punk, but to be fair I think we're still viewed as a punk shop, despite our broad range, in fact, I was trying to think about how to describe what music we've got, and I figure if it's got a guitar in it and isn't on a major label then it's our kinda thing. Our demographic is a bit hard to describe, we really do have allsorts in our merry little shop.

trakMARX - Who's winning the CD v Vinyl war in your establishment?

AC - When we opened the shop we really did think the vinyl would be popular, but it just kinda sits there looking a bit sad. Well not sad, really, it looks great, it just makes us sad that more people don't buy it, especially when some of it is so pretty!

trakMARX - Is there any format preference across genres: i.e. – do skateboarders prefer CDs so they don't smash them when they fall off their boards in the middle of a double back flip pancake burner?

AC - Bar the hardcore kids, CDs are king, I've gotta admire the obsession that the hardcore kids have about vinyl.

trakMARX - New, second hand, rarities - what are Know Your Product most revered for?

AC - 70s and 80s punk is very much Rikki's specialty, whereas I'm more about current stuff like the Hydra Head releases and Fat Wreck stuff.

trakMARX - How tough is it being an independent record shop in 2006?

AC - Bloody tough, margins are small, costs are high and I'm crap at making cups of tea. We don't actually have any heating in our shop, we're keeping it real, DIY stylee!

trakMARX - What are the worst aspects of your operation?

AC - Do you mean what are we worst at? We can't tell you that! Tee hee

trakMARX - What are the best bits about running a record store?

AC - Getting out of bed late and spending all day listening to brilliant music on a kickass stereo (cheers to The Edge Hi-Fi for that gift) and chatting with mates who always know where to find you!

trakMARX - Do you do mail order as well as retail? If so, how does the business split across the two modes of purchase?

AC - We do mail order through our online store as well as through ebay. Ebay is stupidly competitive and there are a lot of sellers flogging stuff well below cost price, I have no idea how they can do that, maybe they also send their kids up chimneys for extra income?

trakMARX - What effect do you see Ebay culture having on the record shops & dealers of the UK?

AC - Whereas in the past collectors wanted something at any cost, they now want it at no cost. It doesn't affect us too much as we don't do second hand stuff.

trakMARX - Do you think record fairs are suffering too?

AC - Anyone involved in trying to sell music is suffering. I don't want to appear too negative here, we get round this by trying to buy stuff direct from the bands that are making the music, it's good for the bands and it's great for us.

trakMARX - What about prices on rare stuff? Has objectivity gone out of the window?

AC - We do have a habit of selling stuff at normal price then seeing it on Amazon for something stupid like £60, but we don’t want to play those games.

trakMARX - Tell us about Beat Motel.

AC - Beat Motel zine is an outlet for my (Andrew Culture's) opinion, misspellings and fart gags. Every home should have a copy of Beat Motel next to their crapper, find out more at:

trakMARX - And finally, you're obviously very involved in your local scene - with the shop, the fanzine & Corndog PR - give us an overview of what's going down in Ipswich right now.

AC - Ipswich is really kicking off, we've gone from one gig every three or four months (as it was three or four years ago) to a gig almost every night and three or four a night over the weekend. I think it's kinda reached saturation but it's a bloody great time to come and play here! I also run a site to promote the town:

Guy Debored – tMx 27 – 11/06
Contact: - Writing About Music Is Like Dancing To Architecture