We love introducing the vinyl community to up and coming women in the industry, it’s a true testament to what we are trying to do. So today, say hello to Caitlin Welch and Dora-Jane Ryan of Paradise Found Records & Music in Boulder Colorado. Paradise Found formerly Bart’s Record Shop, was founded in 2016 when former owner Bart Stinchcomb turned the keys over to new owner, Will Paradise, after twenty-five years in the CD and vinyl business. Will had been one of Bart’s best customers since 2008, when he finally unpacked his vinyl in storage. He now brings this knowhow to Bart’s, building on one of Boulder’s most beloved businesses.
Caitlin and Dora-Jane are both college students at University of Colorado, Boulder. Caitlin studying studying biochemistry and Dora-Jane film production with the goal to pursue this within the music industry. When Caitlin isn’t at the shop or in school she loves being outside, scuba diving or traveling be it a road trip or hanging out at the beach. “I also love thrifting my clothes, I get the same thrill when I dig through a rack at a thrift store that I get digging for records. I just really enjoy one of a kind pieces and finding something old and wearing it a new way.”
Dora-Jane when not at the shop is part of the big mountain free ski team at CU Boulder. She also enjoys clothes putting together fun outfits, film production, especially editing footage. “Aside from music, skiing is the one thing that makes me feel free and happy. I have been doing it my whole life, so it is definitely part of who I am. I also love clothing. I always try to look my best when I go places, especially work. It is a way I express myself. When I look good, I feel good.“
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
Caitlin: I got into the industry first as a collector, I loved the thrill of looking through a bin of records hoping for a score. I’ve always been drawn to old things, I began collecting records before I had a record player because I loved that I could hold my favorite albums in my hands and look at the physical artwork. I got my first record player as a gift when I was 13 and haven’t been able to stop buying vinyl since.
Dora-Jane: I grew up with a father who was absolutely obsessed with music. He was actually the lead singer in the band, Six Finger Satellite. So, from a young age, he exposed me to a wide variety of music and genres. He has also been collecting records since he was younger and he exposed me to vinyl at a young age. There’s actually a photo of me out there when I was about 6, holding this bright blue electric guitar. I don’t play guitar, but it kind of shows what I grew up with. My dad got me into the industry with his connections and his passion for music. His passion became my passion.
What is a day in the life like?
Caitlin: A day in the life at Paradise differs day to day, but one thing I usually take on is keeping the bins stocked, making sure every title we have is represented for the customers to dig through! Social media posts are also important, we try to have a variety of different posts day to day so keeping up with the customers on instagram is a daily task. My favorite part of the job is talking music with customers and how we get to listen to so much new music everyday.
Dora-Jane: When you walk into the shop, it is like the rest of the world doesn’t exist. You could be having the worst morning known to man, but as soon as you walk through the door, you can’t help but smile and feel good. We walk in the shop before open and immediately start playing music. We all work together to set the shop up for the day. Some days we have small tasks to be done, but for the most part we just focus on helping customers and restocking new records. One of my day-to-day tasks is managing social media. When I work, I keep track of our Instagram page and try to consistently post. I love creating a community with our customers. You know, getting them involved with our store and making them feel connected to us and our store. The whole day is filled with fun, music, and great people. Literally the best job in the world.
What has been your favorite sale / relationship made from behind the counter?
Caitlin: My favorite relationships I’ve made from behind the counter are with my coworkers because I love hearing all their recommendations. I have never met people as passionate about music, its so cool to be in an environment with people who love the same things you do. I like to call my Sunday night closing shift metal Sunday because I get to work with my friend Sean and we just nerd out about all things 80’s hair metal!
Dora-Jane: I make the most connections with people who ask me for recommendations. I love helping someone find new music. I always look forward to people showing me new artists and bands, so I like to do the same with other people. There’s this one customer who has been coming in the shop for a few months and he has a dog. He started coming in when his dog was this tiny little puppy, and every week we get to see the dog get bigger. The customer always asks me for recommendations and then calls or comes in the next week to talk to me about how he liked or disliked what I recommended. It makes me feel connected to the customers on a level deeper than just your basic customer service. It is really rewarding. I think the dog is starting to really actually know who we are, too. It’s awesome.
In your opinion what has been the coolest thing to come through your shop / the thing you had to keep / almost couldn’t put out for sale?
Caitlin: A couple days ago a zipper cover copy of the Rolling Stones ‘Sticky Fingers’ came in and I was so excited to see it I put it in my pile immediately. The shop was busy so I went back to work and when I went to buy it later on it was gone. I was so sad when I thought it sold, but I found out that one of our regular customers, Paul, had overheard me talking about how excited I was to finally add it to my collection and he bought it for me as a gift! I just think it’s so cool that people can bond like that over a shared appreciation for music.
Dora-Jane: The coolest thing I have seen so far, that I bought almost immediately, is the Vinyl Me Please pressing of MIA- Kala. MIA makes me feel like a badass. AND it was a neon purple and yellow pressing. Super, super tight.
What has been the craziest experience that has happened at the shop?
Caitlin: The craziest thing to happen at paradise so far was when the lead singer of the Dead Kennedys came in to shop, it was awesome to see such a big artist in our own store. I got to talk to him and tell him face to face how awesome his music is, and he even signed the album that i have of his which rocks!!
Dora-Jane: We had the lead singer of the Dead Kennedys come into our shop so nonchalantly. And he kind of just like started talking to us and testing out records. A bunch of my coworkers got his autograph on his solo album. It was cool.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
Caitlin: Be passionate!! Anyone can look good on a piece of paper but nothing beats actually being able to connect with people about the kinds of music and the artists that you love the most. Also become a regular at your local shop, the more you get to know the people behind the counter the better.
Dora-Jane: One of the biggest things, I think, is having an open mind when it comes to music. There’s no better feeling than saying, “Yes, I do know that album/artist. If you like that, you should check this out.” And just, like, passing the vibes on. It’s a song for song type of thing. Just have an open mind and things will go your way. It doesn’t take too much to be in the industry, except having a good heart and an open mind. Also, obviously, you have to like music at least a little bit.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
Caitlin: Yes, I am a collector myself, I have been collecting for about 7 years now. My parents got me into the vinyl game, my Mom worked at a music store when she was my age so I am definitely taking after her. I love that I get to feel close to my Mom because of a shared job experience.
Dora-Jane: I am a blossoming vinyl collector. I got my first turntable 4 months ago and nothing has been the same. My Dad gave me roughly 60 of his records and I keep buying more. My collection is growing a bit too fast. By too fast I mean, I have no money saving skills and I am spending too much money on vinyl. My Dad drew me to being a collector, but I’m not drawn to first pressings or anything like that at the moment. I am mainly interested in my favorite artists and having all their albums. I am really proud because I have all three Alt-J albums and I am slowly (but surely) collecting all of the Led Zeppelin albums. I honestly just go with the flow, as well. Unless it’s a pre-order or something I am waiting for, I just buy what I like in the moment.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
Caitlin: The most difficult part for me has been balance, I’m so excited about this job I want to be here every day. Balancing school and a second job with life at Paradise has been tricky, but its a great problem to have because I really don’t feel like I’m at work when I’m in the shop.
Dora-Jane: One of the hardest things about working in a record store is saving money. I swear, at the end of the day, I am just paying myself. I give so much of my money to the store and then it just comes right back to me. It’s like the circle of life, I guess. I also find it hard to tell a customer that we don’t have a certain album. It sucks!
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.
Caitlin: I think it’s fair to say that vinyl is booming right now, I love being able to see all the different people that come into the shop, the customers really span all generations. Being so close to a college campus we get a lot of students and young people coming in to buy records which is awesome to see because when I first started collecting I wasn’t surrounded by anyone my age who shared an interest in vinyl.
Dora-Jane: I am honestly super stoked to be a part of Women in Vinyl. I really like what you are doing; the empowerment, making us feel like we can do anything. It just makes the industry that much better. Even though we already are part of something big, it motivates me to do as much as I can and more. It is super sick and an amazing thing to be a part of.
During this time we’re currently in, what message do you have for music and vinyl fans? How can we support you, the industry?
Caitlin: Support your local record shop and never underestimate how powerful music can be in bringing people together. There is nothing better than finding people who love the same music you do and putting each other onto new music that gets you excited.
Dora-Jane: Listen to as much music as you possible can and support your small businesses. I guarantee every small record store will have impeccable vibes and lift you up. Plus, you get to listen to music all the time.
Anything else you’d like to add, if not tell me what you’re listening to:
Caitlin: My favorite genre of music is classic rock and 80’s metal, anything I can head-bang to I love! I have also recently gotten more into soul and jazz music. Iron Maiden has always been a nostalgic favorite that I was raised on.
Dora-Jane: Music is more than just a form of entertainment for me. It is something that has helped me form a strong relationship with my Dad. It is something we can always talk about and bond over. The fact that I am now involved with the vinyl industry, makes it that much better. Music has made my family stronger, and it is amazing that something so simple can make that big of a difference. Right now, I am really into Kevin Morby and the White Stripes. Kevin Morby is a newer find for me and The White Stripes are a band that my Dad introduced me to when I was probably 6. Some things never change, I guess.
Find Caitlin & Dora-Jane:
Paradise Found: @paradise_found_records