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Kathy Wilson

Co-Owner, Suitcase Records

An exciting introduction coming to you this week, on a pressing plant which recently opened 'down under' in Brisbane Australia, and the co-owner is a woman, how awesome is that? Meet Kathy Wilson, co-owner of Suitcase Records, the first vinyl pressing plant in Brisbane in more than 30 years. Suitcase Records is a family-run plant and that is passionate about supporting artists to keep making music. They believe in music and musicians and are far more interested in how things could be, rather than how they have always been done.

Outside of managing records getting pressed day in and day out, Kathy's free time is spent doing yoga and with her kids,"I feel like kids can become a hobby once they are adults."

How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?

Well....My husband (Neil) and I had just hit 50 and were looking around for a new adventure. Our kids were about to leave home. Neil was a long time vinyl lover and saw that there was an over demand and undersupply in the market. So we sold our house and bought a record press? Are we idiots? Yes. Do we regret it? Most days no.

What is a day in the life like?

I manage the pressing logistics so when we take an order, I manage everything from getting the lacquer cut, stampers made to the jackets printed and any extras. We work closely with small independent artists who have often never pressed vinyl before as well as the major labels to press major artists. Each day is different but is basically some combination of those things.

In your opinion what has been your favorite / the coolest thing you've worked on?

We worked with GFlip to press their records and also help plan their pre-sale. In short, they toured the eastern coast of Australia with an outer vinyl sleeve that fans received when they pre-ordered. It was a huge success and they soared to number one.

What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?

Helping people understand the limitations of vinyl and printing and ensuring they get all their assets together in the right format.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?

Well if you are in Australia - hit us up!

We are committed to a diverse workplace with lots of different viewpoints and life experiences.

Otherwise - ask for help. We leaned on the expertise of others in our early days and I find people in the industry to be very generous.

Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?

You know. I wasn't. It was my husband who loved it and drew me into it. I have a modest collection of mostly female country. And weirdly I have developed a thing about album covers. I love album artwork.

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.

Our industry has to become a sustainable version of itself. We recently won $20,000 to import a PVC compound that has a carbon footprint 92% smaller than our current PVC. Its not perfect but we believe you need to keep taking steps in the right direction rather than waiting for someone else to solve the whole problem.

Who has been influential to you and your growth as a professional in this industry?

At the risk of sounding sucky - The Women in Vinyl Podcast was a big deal for me in our early days. I almost cried with relief when I heard you discussing how hard it is to explain print limitations to artists who want to supply a jpeg file or who want an album in 3 weeks. (P.S. from the WiV team - this makes us so happy to hear).

Anything else you’d like to add; if not tell us what you're listening to: 

Country. Ideally female.

Find Kathy

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