I had wanted to own my own record store since I was a kid and so instead of even attending college I decided to go right into business and Haidak was created. Despite being just 20 years of age, I had mapped out Haidak for many years and I felt that I was more than ready to hit the ground running. Whilst it was completely unplanned on my part, it just so happened that in the two years after we opened, vinyl made a huge comeback and was being snapped up by just about everyone. I could never have seen this coming and in truth, I nearly lost Haidak more than once. I learned, I persevered and thankfully we are still here, and doing well, this is what I learned about the challenges of opening a record store.
Even someone who thinks that they know music will be in for a surprise when they start in the record business, because there is just so much out there that it is impossible to be able to have a firm grasp on everything. Originally I wanted to make Haidak purely hip-hop, my go-to genre, but the demand for more music was just too big, and so I had to start educating myself. It is not just the themes and the artists that you need to learn, but also the vinyl releases and the differences between them all. If you don’t know stuff then your customers will lose confidence, a tough learning curve for me.
I always had this idea that Haidak would be a cool, community-style store where everyone got on and chatted about music. This happened on occasion but I made big mistakes in the hiring of the staff. Owing to me being far too liberal, I let the staff get away with far too much in terms of letting people in the store who weren’t buying, and in turned into something which I just didn’t like. I had to quickly learn to be a stronger manager and get rid of those staff who were losing me money.
Given that I never had any real business schooling, something which I had completely failed to understand was the importance of cash flow. In the record business you are always sitting on a wide range of assets in the vinyls, which you may not be able to sell right away. For me there were a number of occasions where I had zero capital, but a tonne of assets. Thankfully I managed to take out small loans to help out those slow times, and I have greatly learned now of the importance of buying in stock which is going to get sold, at least the majority of it. That limited edition vinyl at $1000 which you got for $450 is going to be awesome when you sell it, but that is going to be a long time with $450 tied up, this was a tough lesson to learn.
Life and business ownership is all about learning, thankfully I have managed to survive that process.