The Prosumer’s Choice brand creates purposeful products, and each of our offerings tells a story. You may have seen us say that our product managers carefully design every new item with you in mind. This isn’t just a hollow phrase; it means you’re as much a part of the story as our team members.
That said, we’d like to highlight products we’re especially passionate about and share their backstories with you. We hope you’ll enjoy exploring our thought process and what inspired the products you love.
We recently released a sophisticated line of eco-friendly vinyl record jackets, including 12in, 7in (white), and 7in (Kraft Brown). What you may not know is that the Product Manager behind this project, Josh, is a fellow vinyl enthusiast. With Record Store Day just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to dig into these products a little deeper. Find out how Josh dreamed up the jackets in the interview below!
What inspired you to make this product(s)?
Josh: On the weekends, I often enjoy going to second-hand stores. Part of visiting is not only wondering what you might find once you get there, but when it comes to discovering a stack of old and forgotten records on a dusty shelf, part of the enjoyment comes from listening to them for the first time once I return home. Sometimes I discover jazz albums. Sometimes I get comedy albums. Classic Rock is great, though hip-hop, punk or metal is certainly more exciting to me. Every time I go, I find something new and unique.
If the record is rare, or had a limited pressing, from time to time I won’t be able to find it on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, or anywhere else online. So it’s really important to keep the record’s condition the best I can as part of maintaining its sound quality. I can’t tell you how many times I have stumbled upon a crate of records, only to start going through them and see how badly they got mishandled by their previous owner. Many times, the records are without any type of jacket or cover and riddled with scratches and marks.
It can be frustrating to deal with, so this product really came out of a necessity for me because I have quite a few different records with torn, ripped, and damaged covers. Yet they’re important enough to where I want to keep these records in decent condition and continue listening to them for as long as possible.
Who is this product for? Did you create this product for a specific type of person or group of people?
Josh: The short answer is anyone who loves music. I think more appropriately, the TunePhonik® record jackets we’ve created are intended for someone who not only loves music, but has the foresight to understand that quality music must be maintained, and you need the right tools to accomplish that. As a whole, we were looking to help serial collectors, audiophiles, DJs, people just getting into vinyl records and wanting to expand their collections, and those wanting to simply better organize their music due to lost or damaged jackets.
It’s interesting to see newer and independent artists indulging in limited vinyl releases, as both a distribution platform, and keepsake medium. I also see existing artists coming back to vinyl in part due to the format’s fidelity, which is otherwise lost with digitally distributed music.
Vinyl is an analog format, which means there is no compression or conversion when listening to music. So when you hear the music play on a record, it’s being replicated in a way that is closest to how it originally sounded. For me, that’s a really neat feeling. When you get dust and scratches on a record, you anticipate the effects each and every time the record gets played, which is why it’s important to handle your records with care and treat them with respect.
What features set Prosumer’s Choice record jackets apart from other products?
Josh: The material the jackets are made from are sourced from ecologically friendly forests, monitored by the FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council®). This means that the trees used to create the pulp for our paper was harvested in a way that minimizes environmental impacts, which also falls in line with the values of our parent company, Aleratec. Many of the other products we make also focus on recycling, the environment, and socially responsible manufacturing.
Furthermore, each jacket has been created under a strict set of tolerances – where our production line makes certain our creases and folds are consistent, and that glue is evenly distributed for a uniform look throughout on each and every jacket. While our prices are competitive, it’s these otherwise unseen features that make our jackets top performing items, and that the typical consumer might not be aware of.
Why/How did you choose the white and Kraft Brown finishes? Did you design the product with these materials in mind?
Josh: White finish has a really nice, high-contrast look to it. It’s universal. You can write on it with a marker and add labels or artwork. It makes it easy when identifying the album you are looking for. White jackets are already popular among many collectors; we wanted to make certain we created something that would feel familiar to them. We also selected the same material for our 7-inch records. Both materials are Acid and Lignin Free, qualities which make them ideal for archiving purposes.
For the Kraft Brown 7-inch record jackets, they’re not only a unique color (giving collectors an interesting look to their collections), but also comprised of 100% recycled, 90% Post-Consumer waste, which again, ties back into our mission statement as a company.
What’s the advantage to making these record jackets here in Los Angeles, CA? How does this decision benefit consumers?
Josh: Making products here in the USA is a big deal to us. Given the opportunity, it’s a great feeling to support the local economy as the products we created were done so right here in Los Angeles, California – the Entertainment Capital of the World.
We have very high standards as far as how our products are made down to the finest detail. I’ve found we get the most amount of control over the production process by manufacturing in LA. As a Product Manager, it’s great to be able to easily pick up a telephone and communicate directly with someone or take a hands-on approach when any questions arise during production. I think the results speak for themselves. The jackets we created were not done so out of opportunity, but out of this trust in knowing that the execution would be top-notch. Together, as a team, we are putting forward the best product possible for you, the consumer.