Hi, this is Steve Holub, and I’m a music enthusiast, vinyl record collector, and the inventor of Records On Walls. A few years ago I ran into a problem. I had a great collection of records, and I wanted to use the album art as a display in my apartment, rather than just storing them in record crates. But everywhere I looked, all that was available was either standard ‘frames’ (which made the records inaccessible) or over-priced displays. I wanted something that was simple, stylish, affordable, and let me access the records quickly. And that’s how the idea for Records On Walls came about.
Going from idea to product was one of the most difficult, and rewarding, challenges of my life. At the time, I was working 9 to 6 as an IT consultant, which is a far cry from the world of consumer product development. My wife had just given birth to our first child, and I was barely home to spend time with them. I desperately wanted a way out of the office / commuter grind, and thought that I should try to do something about it.
After the first initial sketches, with my friend Paul’s help, we started prototyping with wood. And then I decided to try out plastic, to see how the final product might look. I had never worked with plastic before, so figuring out the different material, and ways to bend and form them, was quite the process (and in retrospect, largely unnecessary). After writing my own provisional patent, I was ready to try and find a short-run manufacturer. This was not an easy task, because most shops wouldn’t even return my emails, but eventually I managed to start a conversation with a Toronto area factory that would be willing to work with me, and my ‘unproven’ product.
Remember, this all happened just before ‘crowdfunding’ and low cost 3d prototypes had really taken off. And to be honest, although they existed, I was completely unaware of them. If I had been, I would have been over the moon with excitement. To be able to prototype, validate an idea (via Kickstarter or otherwise), and cover the initial production run would have been amazing. Unfortunately, I just missed the revolution, and had to carry the burden of risk on my own shoulders.
In September of 2010, after a few minor design iterations, I was ready to launch the first version of Records On Walls. To be honest, I didn’t have any huge expectations because I knew it was a niche product, and I had no idea how to market this thing. Fortunately, I managed to get a lot of positive feedback, and sales started to slowly grow. As time passed, customers started sending me some images and that’s when I realized that the product was much cooler than even I, as the inventor, thought it was. People started creating these amazing displays that really showcased their tastes and styles in their various spaces. I was so impressed. The product was no longer ‘mine’. It was the customers who made it amazing, and for that, I will always be incredibly grateful.
Overtime, I realized that there was a shortcoming in my original design. I have only collected North American vinyl, and didn’t realize that some European releases and some older albums were slightly smaller than the standard North American LP. That’s why I’m working towards a new version of the product, which will universally fit all 12 inch vinyl record albums. Since the start of this business, I’ve received numerous requests from all over the world to ship them this well priced record frame. It is my goal to improve the design of this product, and to be able to warehouse them internationally. For a guy who’s been packing and shipping boxes from his basement for the last few years, I can’t tell you how excited I am about the prospect of being able to ship them everywhere.
Thank you for taking interest in my story. There is some big news around the corner, so I thought now would be a good time to tell my tale – I hope you enjoyed it!