Friends since childhood, Robert and Julian grew up listening to music – particularly enjoying late '70s & early '80s music from artists such as Gary Numan, ABBA, Blondie, Duran Duran, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Our passion for music evolved into collecting, largely due to the multiple Frankie Goes to Hollywood ZTT 12" remixes.
In 1985, our hobby transformed into a business called “Esprit”. We paid £20 for our first 16-minute remix of "Relax" and later found another copy for just £7. Realizing there was a market for buying and selling to people like ourselves, we started purchasing records at Record Fairs and local Record Shops and advertising in Record Collector magazine. CD singles, released in limited quantities and instantly collectible – such as Genesis' "Land of Confusion" – further fueled our venture. We cleared out local record shops during our college lunch breaks. Around this time, our mutual friend Cathryn, also a music enthusiast, quit her banking job to join us as the third founder. The trio has remained united for 38 years and counting.
(draft of our first typed advert with handwitten edits)
We became the largest advertiser in Record Collector Magazine throughout the late '80s and '90s, often featuring hand-typed, 10+ page adverts, until launching our first online store Esprit (on Compuserve) and then eil.com (still going strong today). eil.com stands for Esprit International Limited.
(adverts in Record Collector Magazine)
In the years that followed, we opened a record shop called e2 Records and expanded our operations to Japan (still active), the USA, and Mexico. We witnessed the decline in vinyl popularity and the rise of CDs, only for the trend to eventually reverse.
Many of our dedicated, 30-strong team have been with the company for over 20 years, with Cheryl being our longest-serving member at 27 years!
What makes us unique? All three of us still love music, both new and old, as much as we did in the '80s and have always believed in offering great customer service and satisfaction. We truly understand what customers want from a company like ours. And if you ever have a problem, you can get in touch directly with any of the three of us.
We have also been featured numerous times in the UK press, radio, and on national TV.
(National Newspaper coverage in 2011)
In 2022, we launched RareVinyl.com on Shopify to offer the same stock with an improved mobile shopping experience.
Today, in 2023, with over 20,000 sq ft of warehouse space across four sites, we remain the world's largest online record store for new and used rare, collectible, and hard-to-find vinyl records, CDs, CD singles, picture discs, 12", 7" records, limited editions, promos, imports, and music memorabilia from countries like the UK, USA, Japan, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Sweden, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina, covering the 1960s to the 2020s. Our core genres span across Pop, Rock, Punk, Jazz, and Classical.
(and in 2023 - Still here and loving what we do!)
Our head office and warehouses have always been based in Kent in the South East of the UK, and we also have buying offices located in London, Surrey, Devon, and East Kent as well as Hiroshima in Japan.
We are rated 4.9 out of 5 on Trustpilot with over 13,000 reviews, and more than 500,000 happy customers in over 100 countries, and have earned platinum seller status on eBay and an average positive rating of over 99% on Amazon sites worldwide.
So, if you are fed up with trying to track down collectables on auction sites, or received something that wasn't quite what you expected, you can shop with confidence with us.
Ordering is easy and orders are despatched same day (Monday to Friday) in custom made superior packaging. All orders come with the added assurance of our 100% satisfaction guarantee and exceptional customer service provided by our expert music sales team, most of whom are collectors themselves and experts in their own field. Our team are available on the phone Monday to Saturday and emails are answered in hours, not days.