Cigarette Records has been in the Mansion since February 2018. It is founded and managed by Owain Jones
Tell us the Cigarette Records story
The business started around 2012. I’d DJ’ed for 3 years and wanted to play more vinyl, but couldn’t afford it. However, being the wheeler dealer I was, I bought a few small collections with my student loan, taking what I wanted and selling them on. I’d seen that there was a market for vinyl and hopefully the business would scale well.
I had a friend who’d been telling me about how he was trying to sell his and his friend’s 2,000 piece record collection for a couple of years. He’d been telling me about all the great tunes he had that I was listening to; classic house and similar genres from 1988 to around 1996. He called me saying he was off to India for a few months and offered me a price I couldn’t refuse. An hour later I had 25 boxes of records filling the lounge of my shared house. Then I decided to take it seriously.
I studied Optometry and had a job lined up for when I finished. I’d spent a week there, as part of an interview process, and been offered the job – but the feeling in my gut and heart was that my passion for music would make me happier. And that was selling records. I called them in that moment and apologised that I wouldn’t be taking the job. Five years later I’ve opened my first full time physical record shop.
How did you hear about the Mansion?
I stumbled across the Mansion because I spent time in the park and got in contact when they first started two years ago, but unfortunately there wasn’t a suitable space available. Since opening the shop in February, demand has increased and so I’ve had to match that with stock. Lots of different people come to the store. We see all ages and walks of life. The stereotype is that record collecting is male dominated, but since I’ve started five years ago I’ve seen a change in that more women are collecting records.
How do you source your vinyl?
I’m searching for stock everyday, on Gumtree, eBay, auction websites, getting up at 5am to go to boot fairs and markets. It’s a battle! But an exciting battle that is constantly taking me to new places, meeting new people and experiencing new things.
We have over 20,000 records (18,000 listed online and a huge back log), there’s around 3,000 records separated into genre and displayed in the shop. We stock everything from Prog Rock, Punk, Jungle, Garage, Soul, Disco and everything in between.
There are a lot of best sellers, but ask any record seller and they’ll tell you they can’t find copies of Sade ‘Diamond Life’, and Fleetwood Mac ‘Rumours’ quick enough. Neither sell for high amounts, but are so popular the dust of the room barely has a chance to hit them before they’re bought.
What’s a typical day for you?
We’re open 1pm-6pm and looking to extend hours coming into winter as demand is increasing. The typical day is a mix between pricing records, dealing with online orders, talking and serving customers. The majority of my time is taken up by dealing with online orders or pricing. Breaks in the day are always spent sat on the grass soaking up the park atmosphere.
Tell us about your party on Saturday 22nd September
The party is about promoting the record shop, label and a good excuse for a dance! Music is what this is all about for me and why the business started. To be able to play records in the beautiful Georgian mansion is a dream come true.
I was surprised at the success of our first party, as we packed out both of the rooms in the basement on a rainy Friday night. Disco and disco-inspired tunes played all night long, the atmosphere was infused with smiles and positivity, we had people from aged 21 to 60 all dancing until 2am. We can’t wait to see how the next party shapes up. Our first two tickets releases sold out; it’s set to be a good one.