People are always asking me how or why did Monster Merchandising start and what was I doing before? Well, we have to go back to the beginning and you will notice it all slots into place.
It started with the love of music
In 1987, I worked for Windsong exports, part of Pinnacle distribution, as a rock and heavy metal salesman. It was my dream job.
We had an in-house label called MFN (featuring Metallica plus many other acts) + other rock releases from other major UK labels to be sold to export companies around the world.
Fast forward to 1991, and I was promoted to key account manager for the import division –selling to the head offices of Our Price / HMV / Virgin etc… We imported 5000 New Kids on the Block tapes and we sold them to HMV stores across the country.
Then in 1994 I was asked to head up the merchandise department which consisted of clothing, magazines, books and video (this was before DVD).
I was a regular at the Cannes Music festival in the south of France for around 10 years.
I struck many deals and grew relationships with suppliers. I expanded the department from almost nothing to half a million a year turnover (very proud!!)
I sold Dance tee shirts and MOS merchandise around the world. I sold magazines e.g.GQ, NME Wire and Kerrang, music related books and videos of blockbuster films.
In 1998, I was promoted again to sales and buying manager for the whole company. I then went all round Europe looking at suppliers (as Europe was far cheaper than the UK). My biggest purchase order was to Our Price totalling approx. £1 million. My biggest buying purchase was Shania Twain “Come on Over” approx 60,000 units over a year.
I left 2 years later and took an offer from another company in West London called Prime, as their General Manager. They wanted to get into heavy metal, rock, and main stream chart music. Whilst I was there I went to Croatia dance festival – now there’s a story ….
In 2002, we bought Caroline exports, one of Richard Branson’s first companies, for £1.00 and its debt.
To entice clients back I set up a record label for Caroline exports and called it Majestic Rock, a rock reissue label, I had my good friend Geoff Gillespie to run it.
Then at the end of 2003 the whole mother company went bankrupt.
Geoff and I bought Majestic Rock from the receivers. Our biggest market is USA, Japan and Germany.
We still have it today with 189 titles in our catalogue.
We initially did VERY well but in 2007 we lost a ton of money on new acts. I almost lost my house. So, I got a driving job for 2 years to help pay the mortgage and bills.
The company was called Civilised Car Hire. They were based in Clapham North and my job was to drive people to various functions/shows / gigs / tours. My passengers included Glen Campbell, Chuck Berry, Bruce Springsteen, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Swing Out Sister, Tricky, HardFi, The Specials, Extreme, Foreigner, Leftfield, Paul Brady (famous Irish folk singer), Gypsy Kings (Kew Gardens), Roni Size, Craig David, Faithless, Groove Armada, DJ Tiesto (the most successful DJ in the world), Judy Collins (who was lovely, my FAVOURITE), David Bailey with a load of top models, Nigel Havers plus many others.
I have lots of funny stories with Chuck Berry, Glen Campbell, Bruce Springsteen, DJ Tiesto and Ginger Baker.
It was a very stressful time to say the least
At this time because I was sooooo stressed out – I thought I needed another challenge…
Monster Merchandising was born
We joined a large organisation, which enabled us to have access to 350 factories both here in the UK, Europe and across the world which means we have approx 60,000 lines in our catalogue.
We are adding our own bespoke lines too, such as the Hugo Boss writing and accessories catalogue, Cerruti, Christian Lacroix, Ungaro, Nina Ricci and Cacharel.
We are not a franchise who are locked in at various levels.
We set our own selling prices and negotiate our buying prices. We can buy worldwide which means more flexibility for our clients.
Then I discovered NETWORKING
Accidently at my local car mechanics garage – there’s a funny story there…………….
So, I joined 4N and started networking in Bromley, Beckenham, Edenbridge, Orpington, and Sidcup.
Later I joined Business over Breakfast (B.O.B) and Bizlinx and also went to ABC which I did for about 2 years. Then, I stopped and just went to the odd one here or there as a guest as I got very disillusioned with it all.
I started again at the end of last year and here I am
We have now been trading for approx 3 ½ years although the company has been around for 6 years. We have supplied small start ups to big corporates.
- Bromley Borough Council
- Sussex Police
- Solicitors (C W J)
- Accountants (Blue Rocket)
- Theatre (Orchid Dartford, Churchill Bromley)
- Charities (Demelza, You can, Jigsaw 4 u Bromley Mencap, Abigails Footsteps)
- Music companies (Ministry of Sound, Warner Music, Cadiz Snapper Music Prime direct, Bromley Music Youth centre)
- Recruitment companies (PDR)
- Printing companies
- Curry restaurants
- Taxi companies
- Marketing companies (Scaramanga Marketing, Blue Badger, Nugget Design)
Tracy sources all the products and manages the admin and accounts. My job is to connect with people via networking at stupid o’clock.
I also SOURCE NEW DEALS with both suppliers and clients.
We both love our roles.
We have been asked to source some weird and wacky products which include a Growler, frisbee, branded prosecco and beer. Also message in a bottle for a laundry company and Aberdeen Angus cows for a bank
Here are a couple of examples when people DO NOT pay attention both from a supplier AND A client
One of our clients, a finance company, got in contact with us and wanted some branded thermal mugs well that’s great – isn’t it!! Well they asked us on the Monday morning and wanted them Friday at their exhibition in Westminster – FRIDAY!!!
Well, I said yes, no problem, of course we can do that for you. I spoke to my supplier and said I needed this type of thermal mug and here’s the artwork – the best they could do was to have them ready for Thursday night. Too late for shipping. I said we would pick them up. So, Thursday comes, we get in the car at 1pm and drive all the way to Kings Lynn to pick up the order.
When we got there, we were shown around the nice factory and told we could see our order on the production line a little later. After all the nicities were done we were shown our order. I said that’s the wrong colour, isn’t it???? The blood drained from her face it was now 5pm……