We had the good fortune of connecting with Josh Markarian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Josh, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
It’s almost as if the business aspect came after we had been creating under the name of Discover Vinyl. We had been around for about a year, operating as a music blog before the shift to turn our passion of record collecting into something more sustainable than a hobby.
During the first year, I was working a full-time job running the blog on my off hours. As much as I loved writing, it became clear that if I really wanted Discover to grow it needed to be treated like a business. Transitioning into a business gave us the excuse to spend more time doing what we loved, which was working with artists and vinyl.
That’s where the concept of the record stands came into play. We had been resorting to a variety of subpar methods to photograph and share our collections, typically ending up repurposing old picture frames & easels. After trial and error and shamefully damaging a record here or there, we began designing our own stands for the records we loved. What started as a series of sketches being sent back and forth quickly developed into 3D CAD modeled prototypes.
Since then things have come to make more sense and fall in line. So I guess to answer the question, the thought process behind starting a business was that if I treated doing what I loved as a career that eventually it would become one. I knew that building a business wouldn’t happen overnight, so it’s helped always keeping a long-term mindset when approaching decisions.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Discover Vinyl is a music blog and community of record collectors. Covering the full spectrum of Rock, from Pop-Punk to Metalcore, Discover highlights trending vinyl releases while also shining light on underground records. We help record labels & artists to get their music directly in front of fans who are eager to build their vinyl collection.
Well, that was what our intial focus was when we began.
Covering the music we loved because it gave us the vehicle to come full-circle and work with artists that inspired us to get into the industry. But since then our love for music and vinyl has only grown deeper which in turn led to the launch of our signature vinyl display series.
While we initially started with a single design, we now have four unique vinyl record display designs. Recently we also released our first merch collection for the Discover Vinyl Record Club with limited pieces left available up on our site now.
For our stands, each of our vinyl displays is Small batches of high craft vinyl displays designed in and fabricated in the Phoenix, AZ out of high-grade aluminum.
In the process of designing our stands we went through several design revisions to ensure perfection. We experimented with various heights, angles, features and finishes before arriving at our current record displays. We here at Discover Vinyl love our records and know you do to, that is why we made sure all of our displays are not only secure but non-damaging to your favorite vinyl.
Designed on a weighted scale centered around standard vinyl weights, each record when mounted is held in a low center of gravity preventing wobbling and tipping. Three points of contact allow for equal distribution of weight for records of any size. Every angle & dimension was precisely designed to ensure none of the grooves on the vinyl touches the display. Contact points are the center label and outer rim both in dead wax areas.
Turn your collection into a gallery with the endless display options available of our different vinyl wall shelves and stands.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m based in Highland Park so I would definitely keep it local, there are so many hidden gems in the area. I would force them to come and get tacos at HomeState, which is the best taco spot in LA (I am willing to back that statement up) and then walk down the street to our local hi-fi record shop Gimme Gimme Records which is a few blocks down.
After going to Gimme Gimme Records (pre-pandemic) I would probably kill some time in the neighborhood and relax and then in the evening go out to Gold Line Bar also on Figueroa. Funny thing about Gold Line is that it is directly under the record label Stones Throw Records and is also owned by the labels founder Peanut Butter Wolf. The best part, they have a full vinyl library behind the bar and are regularly spinning deep cut records making it the perfect sound lounge.
Just in this little area of Figueroa and then York if you go the other direction there are so many great spots for food, a drink, a record, or whatever you’re in to.
That’s just my cup of tea, but if you’re in East Los Angeles these spots are worth seeing.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Throughout starting a business I have been lucky enough to work with and learn from some extremely inspiring individuals who helped either directly or indirectly along the way. Notably here are a few of the people, books, and communities that have helped support along the way.
I have to say that one of the bigger inspirations and also support networks has been the online vinyl record community. Specifically the community of record collectors on Instagram who connect through the different contests, shared hashtags, comment sections of their favorite labels, you name it. From pre-Discover Vinyl all the way to now, the community has been a huge source of inspiration and a place where like-minded people can connect.
We also would literally not be able to operate without Ty Sively and the team at MacDermid Designs, LTD. MacDermid has been an integral part of our entry into the marketplace, giving us the access to a manufacturer which typically would be cost prohibitive to any start-up. Allowing us to move beyond the prototyping stage to being able to ship our vinyl displays worldwide and have the production capabilities to scale with our market share.
I am super grateful for Caitlin Pingrey, Justin Nuckols, and Jomo who have not only helped build Discover Vinyl but have been a part in the creative direction we’ve taken over the years.
If you’re still reading this far here are a two books on opposite sides of the spectrum that I revisited a lot when working on the business.
Non-Fiction: Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Fiction: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Albums shown in floating shelf photo: Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin Paranoid by Black Sabbath Diary of a Madman by Ozzy Osbourne Van Halen (Self Titled) by Van Halen