Trader Spotlight – Brian Webster

January 17, 2018

With the popularity of vinyl music records booming across generations today, one place that provides a must-visit destination for music lovers far and wide is Leicester Market, where record trader Brian Webster provides shoppers with a vast (and we mean vast) array of vinyl music spanning across numerous eras and genres.

Located at B58, B59, B73 and B74 every Tuesday, his stall is truly a sight to behold for record collectors.

“I’ve been here 20 years now,” explains Brian. “Over that time, trade has generally kept growing. On the small scale that I am on, the more people that find me results in trade going up. Over the last four or five years, the whole demographic of record buying has changed. It used to be geriatrics like me, but now a good third of my trade is under-30s. I’d add that a sizable chunk of my trade would be under-20s too.

“The resurgence of vinyl and the character of the Market help,” he adds. “It’s been interesting; because things you couldn’t give away five years ago people can’t get enough of now. I’ve got a very large stock, with a warehouse located just outside Oakham. I carry about 5,000 records here and I have around 100,000 at the warehouse. That means that as people ask me for stuff; if they keep coming back I can keep bringing stuff down for them. With the Internet, which is something I don’t use nearly to the extent that I should, it’s been amazing how much my customers actually generate trade for me. A lot of people come up to me and tell me I was recommended on the net – and it’s all going on without me even knowing!”

As you can imagine, 20 years of trading has resulted in Brian becoming a familiar face at Leicester Market – and he’s pleased that over that time, he’s developed good relationships with customers – borne of the fact that he’s as passionate about music and record collecting as they are.

“I do this to make money, but you like to feel that you’re building a relationship with customers,” Brian says. “I think 80% of my trade is to regular customers – even if that means just one visit a year. So many different kinds of people come to the stall, all looking for something different, which is great. I even get people coming up from London. The catchment is really quite sizable.

“It helps that I’m obsessive about record collecting. I think I’m at the acceptable end of the obsessive spectrum, although my wife might disagree. Even if it’s for different areas of music, if you can at least be interested in it, it helps. Something that’s great is that you’re always learning from customers. That’s part of the fun of doing it.”

The ever-changing scope of music means that pinpointing a popular artist or genre is difficult, although there are a few that remain timeless, and that Brian is constantly adding to his ever-growing stock.

“You can always sell premium soul, disco, funk or modern jazz music,” he admits. “I also have regular customers for pre-war blues, but you don’t get a lot of that. I sell a lot of indie stuff. The big-selling groups like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd never stop being popular. However, there are things that go out of fashion. It’s much harder to move rarer Elvis Presley and things like that, because those people that have been collecting Presley for such a long time have pretty much everything.

“I work hard to find stuff for people,” Brian states. “Because I am a collector, I’ll go to a different town each week and trawl any record shops I can find. I buy 200 to 300 records. I’d always bought more than I sold, but now I am selling more than I’m buying in.”

Love music? Make sure you head down to see Brian Webster on a Tuesday at B58, B59, B73 and B74.