Record store owner grateful to make a living out of his hobby
It had always been his dream to run a shop selling hi-fi systems since he was in school.
But it took Mr Gabriel Tan several years before he finally left a teaching career to pursue his love for music.
Mr Tan, 64, told The New Paper: "I have not worked a single day since, because it has never felt like work."
Zenn Audio Electronics, named after his eldest son who is now 31, is a record store in Simpang Bedok that carries an extensive selection of vinyl records.
"I was confident enough to tender my resignation as I made enough money from my part-time job to support my family," said Mr Tan.
He had worked part-time repairing various kinds of audio equipment while teaching and finally set up Zenn Audio Electronics in 1990.
The shop initially focused on repairing and modifying audio equipment. It was a struggle for the business to take flight at first, he said.
"The business grew quite slowly when it was first established. It improved as my customer base expanded."
Mr Tan later shifted the shop's focus to selling different vintage hardware products.
Six years ago, it switched to selling more vinyl records and analogue items.
He said: "In the last three years, my business grew through customer recommendations and the resurgence of records and analogue."
His wife, Madam Julie Foo, 60, also left her teaching career to help out in the business in 2015.
Mr Tan is in charge of the technical side of the business while Madam Foo manages the logistics and administrative work.
He said: "I feel that people have an intrinsic desire to collect things such as records and they will value them more.
"Analogue playbacks also provide a more organic quality of music that cannot be replaced by digital streaming platforms."
With the rising interest in all things retro, Mr Tan said: "I am grateful for being able to make a living out of my hobby."
Secrets of the trade: Record store owner
• Curate high quality records for your customers. Searching for products of such quality will contribute to the reputation of your store and bring back these valuable buyers.
• Be prepared to have your capital tied up in your inventory, as retro and vintage records do not appeal to everyone.
• Be passionate and enjoy your work. The records you sell will help you through the bumps that your business will face along the way.