Crateism and Fatima have been on our radar for awhile now, so we’re thrilled to be able to pin her down for an interview. Fatima Chantel is the owner of Crateism an online and pop up record store, as well as Blush Music Co. an additional online record shop where they sell artist / band tees and pop vinyl. Not only is she clearly a music lover, she’s been a long time vinyl collector as well and hosts a podcast of the same name, Crateism. Be sure to check out her site, and Black Owned Record Store resource list as well.
When she’s not planning her next project or pop up she enjoys good food and travel! “Whenever I visit a city, I have to check out at least one local coffee shop and record store.”
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
DJing and working in record stores. I always tried to pick jobs that allowed me to be around music. My family also played vinyl a lot when I was growing. Starting my own record store was a way for me to do what I love as work.
What is a day in the life like?
These days, really busy! Incoming shipments, outgoing orders, social media, sending out status updates to our customers. We also have a podcast. Our shop is mostly online, so I spend a lot of time deciding what albums we are going to carry. That’s the fun part!
What has been your favorite sale / relationship made from behind the counter?
That would be the artist known as Res. She dropped a groundbreaking record, “How I Do,” back in 2001, but didn’t really put out much after that. I was browsing our distributor’s database one day and was shocked to find that she released an album of Fleetwood Mac covers on vinyl called “Refried Mac.” I immediately brought a few copies for the shop, posted on social media and tagged her. She responded by asking if she could discuss the album on our podcast! Of course, I accepted the offer. It’s one of my favorite episodes.
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?
Nipsey Hussle’s “Crenshaw” back in 2017 when we first started. We only got a handful of these. Thankfully I saved one for myself. RIPower.
What has been the craziest experience that has happened at the shop?
At one of our pop ups, a customer started rearranging our records and placing certain albums in the front of the crates based on what they thought would sell. Then he started double-checking our pricing based on Discogs and proclaiming “I’m a record guy, you can’t fool me!”
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
I would say start selling records online first to test the waters. Also, use social media to see what people are buying. And of course, Discogs is a great resource.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself?
Yes, I’ve been collecting vinyl for years. As I mentioned before, I was introduced to records by my family. Aside from the music, I love the artwork, reading about where the albums were recorded, who the background singers and musicians are… all the details!
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
Right now, it’s inventory and operating costs. A lot of our distributors don’t have the staff that they used to and wholesale prices are going up so that means we’re sometimes receiving things late and also deciding if we should raise our prices. Thankfully, we have great customers. They have been really understanding!
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.
I’m excited about a whole new generation of kids discovering vinyl. I’ve been watching a lot of their record hauls on TikTok and IG, they are amazing! It doesn’t seem like vinyl is going anywhere anytime soon.
During this time we’re currently in, what message do you have for music and vinyl fans? How can we support you, the industry?
Right now I would say please continue to support your favorite record stores. Purchase vinyl and merch… follow, like and share on social media. And please listen to our podcast!
Anything else you want to share?
We’re in the process of opening another online record shop where we sell artist / band tees and pop vinyl called Blush Music Co. Hopefully we will have a physical location soon.
Blush Music Co.: @blushmusicco