How Tech is Powering This Vinyl Record Shop
Since launching in Detroit’s West Village last fall, Paramita Sound has created more than a record shop. The company and its four-member team has forged a music community combining curated selections with one-of-a-kind events. A recent partnership with Microsoft is showing the startup how technology can power its next steps and keep everyone in sync.
The company’s mission: Douthard is a native Detroiter who loves hip hop and was raised on the sounds of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. He appreciates all genres and founded Paramita Sound to bring people together through music. Founding the shop in a city with such a rich music history makes running the company all the sweeter. “It would only feel right here,” says Douthard.
In an age where most music is streamed or downloaded, Paramita reimagines the shopping experience, stocking only vinyl records and cassettes. Customers sample songs from a tablet in a special digital listening lounge, but only after chatting with one of the shop’s four partners -- versed in everything from hip hop to jazz to noise and punk. These simple conversations connect listeners to new artists and genres.
This process puts a human element back into music shopping. “We collaborate with artists and use those collaborations to build friendships with our customers,” says Douthard.
The company’s challenge: Entrepreneurs need to make the most of every minute, especially this bootstrapping founder who works 20 to 30 hours a week at a nearby restaurant. Douthard’s personal computer was often needed at the shop, so administrative tasks sometimes had to wait. And since the partners’ different mobile phones used different platforms, collaboration wasn’t always seamless.
The solution: In a special partnership, Microsoft transferred Paramita to a single platform and provided it with a suite of devices. With a Surface Pro 3, Douthard no longer needs to leave his personal laptop at the shop. Lumia smartphones connect every partner on the same system, keeping everyone up to date with new music and local shows. “We can share things more simply now,” says Zach Poley, the company’s creative director.
What’s possible: Technology gives Douthard ultimate flexibility. Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud solution offers up to 30GB of storage, letting Douthard store every document he needs without incurring extra cost. He can access everything from work or home. Customers sampling songs in the shop’s digital listening station have millions of options from which to choose through Xbox Music, the system’s music platform. Douthard’s team members can share playlists they’ve created easily among the store’s devices.
Lastly, should the company switch to mobile point of sale PayPal Here, Paramita could sell records on the go from its tablets or smartphones, at local concerts or pop-up shops. PayPal Here’s enhanced reporting can also give Douthard much-needed access to his shop’s sales history and inventory data, and let him share that data quickly and simply.
Says Douthard, “This process is highlighting my needs. Replacing product isn’t our end goal. We’re looking for cohesiveness across platforms.”