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<b>BigBoppa Records - Vinyl Records, UK and USA reproduction sleeves and the famous Vinyl Solution Record Cleaner </b>








BigBoppa Records - Vinyl Records, UK and US reproduction record sleeves and the famous Vinyl Solution Record Cleaner


www: BigBoppa Records







Doug at Big Boppa Records has three distinct strands to his business that was born from his love of Doo-wop music. Doug is buying and selling vintage vinyl, selling the Vinyl Solution Record Cleaner and producing reproduction record sleeves. There are 300 sleeve designs covering aprox. 370 labels.


This has turned from a 'retirement hobby' into a busy and successful business, with customers from all corners of the globe.


Here Digger talks to Doug about the history of the business and what's on offer.



Big Boppa offer authentic reproductions of classic British and American Record Sleeves





Digger: Can you please tell us a little bit about your background and that of Big Boppa Doug?

Doug: My business is split into three. Vinyl records, Vinyl Solution Record Cleaner and the Record Sleeves.

Digger: Buying and selling traditional vinyl records?

Doug: Yes. I was doing fairs and it was all rock and roll. I specialised in the rare stuff and Doo-wop. I had to stop doing the fair for health reasons, so I worked harder on the website. At that time I bought a warehouse of 48,000 records.

Digger: Wow.

Doug: It was a distribution place and so that's what is behind my website. At the moment I've got about 10,000 records on the site and something like 9,000 of them are unplayed mint condition.

Digger: That's very good.

Doug: They are not rock and roll, they cover things like the late sixties and early seventies.

Digger: My sort of stuff then, like psychedelic and Glam rock?

Doug: Yes, that sort of stuff. There is some earlier sixties but nothing heavy.

Digger: Tell us about the record cleaner. You hear all sorts of claims for products. What does it do? What should people expect?

Doug: I worked with an industrial chemist to come up with this and I asked him how I could do it. We finally came up with this formula and the reason was that when I had this out first 20 years ago there was no other cleaner out on the market. Now you look on The Internet and there's dozens there, all making magnificent claims. But at that time there was one that was available from someone in Wales who manufactured it but you had to make a lot of it. You couldn't just clean one record.

Digger: As people sometimes want to do. So if I have an album or single and it's had a hard life and has scratches, dirt and dust on it, then what can I expect after I've used Vinyl Solution?

Doug: It's going to do nothing for your scratches. But what the Vinyl Solution does is - it's three different alcohols, polishes and oils - it's got all sorts of ingredients that get right into the groove and lift out all the rubbish. Once your record's clean you can then spray and play at the same time - I do that and let the stylus pick up the bits. At the end of the first clean of a record you've had lying around for some time, there's quite a blob as the needle lifts off all of the rubbish.

Digger: It's such a warm sound that you get from analogue and vinyl compared to digital. I suppose the DJs have kept vinyl alive in the last few years Doug? And that must be having a knock-on effect on what you're doing with the records as well?

Doug: Yes. The cleaner it was often mentioned on the BBC record collectors programme that went from Liverpool down to Bristol and I had lots of mentions. The chap who ran it used it and he always recommended it. So when I claim that it guarantees to get all of the rubbish out from the grooves, I've never had anybody say it doesn't work or they want their money back. I've been doing it for twenty years. It's just a quality product and all the ones that are coming up now, they're using the same idea but only one of the chemicals I use as the bulk and they're not putting the additives in that I do. So there's no doubt I'm the biggest manufacturer and seller of record cleaner.

Digger: They look fantastic - so what is the deal with these record sleeves?

Doug: I've been doing them for about eighteen years.

Digger: You're satisfying a need where the old sleeve is in bad condition or was lost and people can match them up again.

Doug: That's right. It helps the collector to make his collection look good.

Digger: And I suppose it helps in the resale as well if they want to do that?

Doug: It certainly does. When I was selling at the fairs, I put all my records out in the repro record sleeves. I found that the dealers liked them. When they were selling at the fairs they had a lot of buyers, and although it says that the record is in excellent condition, they'll look at it and that's the one moment if you're going to lose the sale that it will happen. The sleeve helps to sell the product.

Digger: Excellence or mint is a very subjective thing.

Doug: Yes. The whole grading system's wrong really.

Digger: If you said mint you would really mean never opened, touched or played.

Doug: That's right. I say on my website things are unplayed mint where they've never been on a turntable and it's probably the first time it's come out of the package when you buy it. Near mint means - I think it's mint but I can't guarantee it.

Digger: Who are your typical customers and where are they coming from these days?




The Vinyl Solution Record Cleaner




Doug: I sell worldwide on The Internet David.

Digger: It was supposed to be a retirement business but has turned into more than that really, hasn't it?

Doug: It was a hobby that got extended!

Digger: It's good isn't it?

Doug: Not everyone can do their hobby and make a living out of it.

Digger: Your partner gets involved?

Doug: Yes I couldn't do it without her help.

Digger: That's good. And your son does the technical side for you?

Doug: He looks after the website. I don't know that much about it and I'm forever phoning my lad up and asking him to do this or that.

Digger: What sort of feedback and comments have you been getting from clients about the sleeves?

Doug: I get phone calls saying they're absolutely fantastic. One of the Sunday newspapers did a great review and the only feedback I get which is not really positive is that the colours are deeper than what they should be. Of course it isn't, it's just that when they printed them out back in the day they printed millions and when they tipped in the bucket of ink they would start with a different mix to how it was towards the end of the run.

Digger: I used to notice that even back in the sixties and seventies when I was sorting my singles out. And I suppose they also would weather if they were left near a sunny window too.  People's memories are a bit suspect, Doug. I spoke to Mark who runs the Ace Cafe and he says visitors come from Australia and tell him that the jukebox he has now is not the one they remember. Well, of course, there were numerous jukeboxes at the Ace over the years and so they will probably only remember a specific one. What sort of feedback and comments have you been getting from clients about the record cleaner?

Doug: Yes, I get only positive comments about the cleaner.






Digger: When people buy the sleeves do the tend to buy them in larger quantities?

Doug: Yes. Whenever I sell a record I put a sleeve in as a sample.

Digger: Good marketing.

Doug: I usually get an order from that first sample.

Digger: What is this enduring fascination people have generally with Retro and nostalgia in all its forms?

Doug: I would say first because they can't get what they want. I started doing the sleeves because I was a London label collector and I just couldn't get decent sleeves. I was actually buying records to get the sleeves. A lot of people tell me they did the same - they would go around the car boots buying the records for 1 just to buy the sleeves.

Digger: You see that with Corgi collectors too where they have a mint condition car and are looking for a box to put it in.

Doug: Yes. That's right. And once they've put a record in a record sleeve it's so much more sharp and different. Then they go for the lot and say "I might as well do the whole collection."

Digger: If they get kitted out with all of your sleeves and clean all their records with Vinyl Solution then basically they've got something that's as good as the day they were bought?

Doug: Yes. The cleaner definitely makes the records sound and look better. I once had someone send me a letter and it was to do with the cleaner and it was a report really. They had hundreds of lines of comments, with each line representing a note or a pitch and what the improvement was before and after they'd used the cleaner. There were only four lines out of several hundred where there was no difference.

Digger: They were very thorough!

Doug: Yes, I've no idea why. I didn't ask for it.

Digger: What are the best things about what you do and what do you most enjoy about running Big Boppa?

Doug: I probably enjoy the sleeves more than the records. I like the customers where I get a bit of chat going. I like a bit of feedback and I like to get involved. People will phone me and ask what sleeves they need for their records. Because of that, I've now got on my site a place for more information on sleeves and I'm really involved with that now. We have a list of all the labels - I'm working with this guy to provide as much information as possible for people.

Digger: The sleeves and the record labels are very familiar to people and remind them of particular times, just like the songs do. I can still remember which groups were on what label.

Doug: Yes, as humans we can recall those sorts of details. Click on any label and it shows what the record looked like and the sleeves with it.

Digger: That's a clever bit of kit.

Doug: Then on some of them it will give more information and this database is being built up.

Digger: Do you still listen to music?

Doug: Yes, Do-wop is still my thing. I've always liked it and always will.

Digger: What are your plans for the future for Big Boppa Doug? You're obviously the biggest and the best at what you do.

Doug: It just grows and grows. I've not had a year where it hasn't.

Digger: That's good in the middle of a recession.

Doug: I sell all over - to Japan, a lot to Australia, a really good amount to the States, because the market there for sleeves is just huge. I get emails and feedback from the States that is really good.

Digger: You are an expert. You've got the original vinyl and two things that really complement that perfectly - the record sleeves and the record cleaner so it's the perfect business model Doug.

Doug: Yes, when I send out leaflets I say we're a "Record Care Company."

Digger: The sleeves look fantastic Doug. It's a great business.

Doug: Thanks David.









BigBoppa Records - Vinyl Records, UK and US reproduction record sleeves and the famous Vinyl Solution Record Cleaner





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