History Of Jukebox45s
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For the lack of any other inspiration today, I thought I would begin a blog post, that i will update once and a while, regarding how Jukebox45s was started, our development as a business, the good things we have done, the daft and possibly the future plans.
We often get asked by customers how the business got started.
It all started about twenty years ago. Looking through our old bookings I would say we started in 1993.
The business was born out of a wish to get a website started. I remember thinking I wish my ancestors had bought a printing press or a weaving loom when they first came out and thought the new tool of commerce will undoubtedly be the internet. I just wish I had thought of Google, Amazon or Ebay instead of the idea of selling seven inch vinyl records.
The internet as a place of commerce was still novel and wasn’t as we know it today.
I had always had a keen interest in music. Had a big music collection and my own vinyl jukebox. So for lack of a better idea, I decided to go into the business of selling records that were meant for the supply of Jukeboxes – so Jukebox45s was born.
The first supply of records to sell came from my own collection and any more that I could buy in from record fairs, charity shops and private individuals who were looking to sell their own collections. This then went to include CDs.
My internet / web building skills were basic and I used a piece of software called Actinic (just looked them up and they don’t seem to exist anymore) to put together the most basic of websites. I wish I still had a copy or a screen shot of it – because I can only imagine how poor it was; compared to what we have today.
Our sales went a little crazy and with the power of the internet behind us we sold records and cds all over the UK and world. Everyday i would be packaging up and posting records and cds and going down to the post office. Even this was an odd thing in its day. Nowadays, it’s not unusual to see lots of private individuals sending multiple parcels out and whilst I never stop to ask them, I generally guess they are Amazon or Ebay sellers.
Its worth noting that this was all done before the arrival of Amazon and Ebay – at least in the mainstream. All of these sales were generated by the Jukebox45s website – with no third party site having any involvement.
So how did we get from selling music to renting Jukeboxes, Pinballs, Pool Tables. Air Hockey Tables and more?
Well that didn’t happen overnight and was a gradual process.
My recollection is that a few things happened in tandem.
We began to get calls from prospective Jukebox purchasers who would call up and, i think because of our name Jukebox45s, would ask if we also sold Jukeboxes or wish to purchase one. And due to my somewhat gungho attitude would say yes we had them for sale and yes we would buy them in. Somehow the purchases managed to sustain the sales.
Then on separate days I had two significant telephone calls come in. The first was from a lady from a new company called Ebay that was pushing its services in the UK. ( i have just looked up when ebay started – which was in 1995 – which fits my recollection of events). She told me of this new auction site and if I agreed she would create a Jukebox category for me to sell our jukeboxes on. its worth bearing in mind that most people at that time had never heard of ebay and i was getting calls all the time from what we would now call ebay wannabes. So anyway i agreed and we began to list on the fledgling site.
Well sales went a little crazy. If i’m honest i was making myself out to be someone I wasn’t. I was no Jukebox engineer or expert. But because I got in the door of ebay first and long before the more established jukebox sellers and the older generation of sellers we seemingly for a while came to be the goto Jukebox company. We were even shipping jukeboxes to the USA and into Europe.
For a time I was selling them faster than I could get them. Back in the day, on ebay you could see the email addresses of the bidders who just missed out on winning the auction and I would often contact all of the losing bidders and offer them a second chance to buy and more often than not from one auction I would sell 4 or 5 of the same jukebox.
I remember one particular purchase and sale. This is hard to believe – but i bought on ebay a vinyl jukebox, that i then relisted and sold straight away. I picked it up and delivered it to the new buyer who was only about quarter of a mile away (and no they were unaware of each other).
So at this stage we had an ever growing jukebox sale business and a record selling business.
I now wish I had carried on with the selling of the records and cds in addition to the jukebox hires. I see companies such as Magpie etc and often think what it could have developed into. But it was becoming harder to manage the two businesses. i also made a very basic mistake – a very silly mistake but at the time I didn’t see it and it made for the whole process of cataloging the cds and records and finding them for customers a headache. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how I killed off what was a decent business – but here we go.
By now I had a small shop / unit where all the music was stored. It was on racks. But in my wisdom I had decided to alphabetise it all. This was fine when it was only a few thousand items – but when it became tens of thousands it became a pain. I had The Rolling Stones in the T’s. the R’s and the S’s. I had T Rex under T and R and just for good measure under M and B (Marc Bolan). I did get some help in and employed some part time people – but this seemed only to exacerbate the problem as they would find even further letters to put particular artists and bands under. So all in all it became a bit of a problem. Now what I should have done and to this day I cant believe that i didn’t; was to simply number the items with an ever increasing numerical value. Quite why I was hell bent on keeping all of one particular artist together (albeit spread about the place) I don’t know.
Also, because the jukeboxes were selling so well, the work involved in the sales of the records was so much higher and the revenue it generated was seemingly smaller than the bigger ticket item jukeboxes.
So I began to let the record side of things wain and pursued the jukebox business.
At this stage we are still not in the hire business. This would have been around 1998.
I don’t recall the beginning of the long term rental business to pubs, clubs and businesses. This must have just happened naturally and there is not a “Eureka” moment that i can recall.
I do kind of recall going into pubs and clubs and amateurishly going about hanging jukeboxes on their walls and routing cables throughout the premises for the speakers etc and all the while trying to pretend i knew what i was doing. But somehow we got through that and got to know our business – although I do recall some near missed pipes from drilling holes and i recall an architrave disaster in this very ornate pub. But somehow we got away with it and customers were happy.
The party hire side of things wasn’t an original idea. it was the idea of a customer who telephone us one day and asked if we hired jukeboxes for parties and weddings. If you have got this far in the blog (which I’m starting to think is more for my own internal cathartic interest, than anyone else’s external interest), you will recall that we generally winged our way with new ideas and this was the case here. Yes i said. Of course we hire jukeboxes for parties. And so our very first hire was booked.
I will never forget it. Mainly because I was very nervous about the whole thing. Not that jukeboxes generally go wrong. They are built to be reliable. But this was of a different importance to delivering one for sale. This was for someone’s wedding. They hired a CD Jukebox (it would still be some years before Digital Jukeboxes were around) and I delivered it during the course of the day for their wedding reception. I was so concerned that there might be an issue that I parked the van down the road and sat there all night. At least that way – if anything did go wrong I could be there very quickly. I have thought that in actual fact it may have seemed very odd if they had rung and in a matter of minutes I rocked up. They may have thought I was stalking them in some weird fashion. But they had no problems and when i went in to collect it in the early hours of the morning they told me how pleased they were with the service and how much they and their guests loved having the jukebox.
So the party hire side of the business was born and from that one hire we now undertake some 400 party entertainment hires, for weddings, corporate events, birthday parties, film, tv and product launches a year.
Then the next significant development in the business was when we had a call from another new internet business; Google. A lady rang from Google and asked if we would like our business listed on their new search engine, to which we agreed. This then pushed the business further. – as an aside – for many years we had this contact number for the lady at Google and she always remembered the business, when we rang from time to time, usually when we were concerned about our ranking. I remember on one occasion we seemingly dropped off the front page. But from one quick call she fixed the problem and we sprung back to no.1 for jukebox hires. Give or take we have pretty much remained at No.1 on Google ever since. I would guess that she is sitting on a beach somewhere now.
From there we have gone on to hire Pool Tables, Pinball Machines, Air Hockey Tables, Crazy Golf. Wedding Photo Booths, Shuffleboards, Table footballs. Skeeballs and much more.
Our clients are generally private individuals for weddings, birthday parties, and family get togethers, but we also hire to big and small companies such as Amazon, Google, Ford and alike and to TV and Film productions.
We have also gone on to buy and run other businesses such as TouchproMedia
This is far from the full story of Jukebox45s and I think from time to time I will add to this post. It has been good to have a look back.
As to the future we have some ideas up our sleeve, so what this space.
Interested in hiring with us? Please contact us below
Our Website: http://www.jukebox45s.co.uk
To see some videos of various items click here http://www.youtube.com/user/jukeboxhire/videos