When we set out to create role models for the next generation, and to show young people those like them are leading the way in this industry, it’s exciting when one of those people says, “Yeah, you know, I’m ready to do this now”. That is the case with Jaica Tipper, maybe our youngest features yet! Jaica is the owner of both Tipper Records and The Beatnik Bus. When she started Tipper Records she was just 17 and eager to start in the world of vinyl. In January 2022 she finished high school a semester early, and a few months later in May opened Tipper Records in Okotoks, Canada, just 2 days after she officially received her high school diploma! “I had no idea what amazing adventure lied ahead of me!”
When she isn’t running her businesses she says, “I am quite skilled in crafting, which always comes in handy. Whenever I’m bored, I enjoy having multiple projects to work on at once. Crocheting, creating stickers, customizing cups, shirts, and totes, designing record art- you name it, I love it! It is useful to have the tools to make my own merchandise because it keeps costs low!”
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
I was fortunate enough to grow up with two entrepreneurial parents who instilled in me the importance of prioritizing passion over profit. Their numerous successful ventures, ranging from clothing brands to furniture stores to contracting and renovations, served as a constant reminder that doing what you love should always take precedence.
In July of 2021, my parents opened The Hidden Gem Okotoks, a collaborative space designed to bring together artisans and entrepreneurs to pursue their passions. At this point I had been collecting records for a short while, mostly from my dad bringing them home for me. After experimenting with buying and selling records on Discogs, I was presented with the opportunity in May 2022 to open my own small but mighty space for Tipper Records.
Despite my shelves being sparsely filled, my passion and drive were unwavering, leading to the birth of Tipper Records. A few months after opening, I was approached by the owners of The Beatnik Bus, a record store on wheels. We struck a deal, and in November of 2022, I bought out The Beatnik Bus business, making me at the age of 18, the proud owner of both Tipper Records and The Beatnik Bus.
What is a day in the life like?
While right now we are relocating Tipper Records, I can tell you it is no easy task having two businesses, even if they are in the same field. Every day I price anywhere from 50-200 records, and organize them into their genre. With the purchase of the bus came 20,000 records, so it is essential to keep things moving and always have stock circulating. When Tipper Records was open, I was working from 10am-5pm, 6 days a week, I only had Tuesday off. When we reopen (which will hopefully be very very soon) I can imagine it will be 7 days a week now with the bus, working at the store on weekdays and taking the bus out on weekends. Despite the challenges that come with owning and operating two businesses, I am eager to continue pursuing my passion for music and sharing it with others through both Tipper Records and The Beatnik Bus.
Favorite sale / relationship made from behind the counter?
Throughout my time in this industry, I have been incredibly fortunate to encounter a ton of kind-hearted individuals. Many of my customers have become dear friends, but there is one person in particular who has left a lasting impression on me: John.
John had rediscovered his love for vinyl a few years prior to meeting me, he had been away from it for quite some time before. From the moment we unloaded the 20,000 records to the day we closed, John dedicated every spare moment he had to help me out. Like clockwork, he would arrive every day at noon, spending hours socializing with customers, engaging in music related conversations, and digging through records until closing time at 5 pm.
Despite the fact that he only worked in exchange for vinyl, John was the best employee I could have asked for. His genuine passion and love for music were evident in every task he undertook, and his selfless commitment was truly admirable. It’s not often that you encounter someone so completely enamored with something that they’re willing to put in such tremendous effort without expecting anything in return. John’s kindness and generosity have touched my heart and will forever be remembered.
In your opinion what has been the coolest thing to come through your shop / thing you had to keep / almost couldn’t put out for sale?
One day a few months after opening, we were hosting an outdoor market outside the shop and a lady hauled in six boxes of records, I opened them up and found pure gold, everything from Bowie to Zeppelin – but the biggest find was 11 original pressings of Tom Waits albums. Some still sealed, all near mint. They never made it to the store because they were snatched up by my boyfriend so fast, now they live at home with us!
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
Consistency is key when it comes to running a business. Day in and day out, I find myself immersed in the never-ending tasks of pricing records, staying active on social media, searching for new collections, and brainstorming new ideas. Multi-tasking has become second nature to me, and I make the most of every opportunity to get things done. For instance, while I’m at a market with the bus, I’ll take advantage of the downtime to price a bunch of records or make several social media posts for the upcoming week.
Undoubtedly, time management is the most challenging aspect of running two businesses at such a young age. Balancing the workload can be overwhelming at times, but I have learned to stay organized and focused to ensure that everything runs smoothly. It’s hard work, but the love and passion I have for this industry makes it all worthwhile.
What has been the craziest experience that has happened at the shop?
There was an older fellow who came into the store a few times a week to look at CDs. CDs aren’t something that I go out and buy, I only put out new ones when they are donated as I focus mostly on Vinyl. Every week he would come in, ask me if I can find him certain CDs, I would tell him I just simply don’t have time to individually search for his list of CDs. Every once in a while I would find one or two, all would be well and the next time he would come in and yell at me for not finding anything! It was ridiculous.
One day he came in and was upset and whatnot that I hadn’t found any of his CDs, and while he was getting mad at me, he said “oh no” very calmly. I said “Is everything alright?” And he said “I’ve had diarrhea and I just went” me, confusingly thought he meant he just went at home and needs to use my bathroom to go again. Boy was I wrong. The whole store smelled like poo, he had “just went” two feet in front of me in his pants. All I could think to say was “that’s no good” (I still kick myself to this day for not saying “that’s crappy”) He still continued to come in a few times a week after that to yell at me and call me lazy and other rude things, to which I simply asked him to leave, knowing in my brain forever, he pooped his pants in my store.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
Life is too short to settle for something that doesn’t bring us happiness and fulfillment. If we want to live a life of purpose, we need to take the leap and pursue our passions. It can be scary to step out of our comfort zones and try something new, but the rewards are worth it.
I’ve seen so many people stuck in jobs they hate, simply because they believe it’s the only option. But that’s just not true. We have the power to create the life we want, and it starts by taking action. Whether it’s starting a new business or pursuing a hobby, we need to take the first step and just go for it!
Yes, it takes hard work and dedication, but when you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t feel like work. You feel excited and motivated, and that’s what gives us the energy to keep pushing forward. So, don’t settle for less. Let’s pursue our passions with everything we’ve got and create a life that makes us 110% happy!
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 am thrilled about several things, including the recent upsurge in the vinyl community. It’s so cool to see how the number of enthusiasts keeps increasing every month, and I’m so happy to be a part of it! Taking the bus to various locations and showing the world the charm of physical media is something that brings me lots of joy. I take pleasure in introducing people to the world of vinyl and witnessing their excitement when they purchase their first record, regardless of whether they are a young beginner or an older enthusiast returning to the hobby. It fills me with such satisfaction to spread the love of vinyl!
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
Yes I am! Growing up my dad always had on all the classics, he would blare Queen on car rides and have Guns n Roses playing in the game room. While he never collected vinyl, this music that he got me hooked on was famous for having vinyl pressings. Every once in a while he would bring me home a record or two, we would look together at garage sales, but I was never 100% into it. When I met my boyfriend, he already had a massive collection, and he gave me a copy of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. After that I spiraled, I wanted to go to record stores all the time, eventually it just formed into a newly discovered passion, and we needed to do something with it!
Who has been influential to you and your growth as a professional in this industry?
I’d like to give a shoutout to Eddie from Melodiya Records/Hot Wax Records, a local business here in Calgary. He has been incredibly helpful and supportive, always ready to answer any questions I have and going out of his way to offer opportunities for my business. Eddie is not only a great resource, but also a true friend in the industry, always offering discounts and being available for a chat whenever I need it. I feel very lucky to have met him!
Anything else you’d like to add; if not tell us what you’re listening to:
I have a passion for collecting soundtracks, it’s something that I truly enjoy! It makes up the majority of my collection, as I find them to be so unique and special. I’m particularly fond of the Labyrinth soundtrack, being a huge fan of the movie. Another one of my favorites is the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack, which I acquired recently. I appreciate the way the songs in the soundtracks resonate with particular scenes in the movies, while also being able to stand on their own as great pieces of music.
Tipper Records: @tipperrecords
Beatnik Bus: @the_beatnikbus
Tipper Records: @TipperRecords
Beatnik Bus: @BeatnikBus