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Reggae Unlimited

Specialist music shop

An e-commerce site selling collector’s reggae music. You can listen to tracks before you buy, watch videos of your favourite artists and learn more about reggae music in regularly updated features. With over 1,500 items in stock, it’s a veritable aural feast!

Some History

Reggae unlimited is the place to find and buy rare vinyl imported from Jamaica. It is owned and run by one of the UK’s best known and respected men in reggae music – Gladdy Wax aka Mr Vinyl Fingers. He has over thirty years in the industry as a recording artist, producer and is also the owner of the infamous Gladdy Wax Sound System – a cornerstone of the Notting Hill Carnival every year.

Inside Wax Unlimted record shop, Stoke Newington, London 2005. Copyright  Ian Hallworth
Inside Wax Unlimted record shop, Stoke Newington, London 2005 © Ian Hallworth

I’ve been working with Gladdy and crew since 2000, having built a previous website for his destination record shop Wax Unlimited which was based in Stoke Newington, London.

Building a community

The website is not just about selling music, it’s also about building a reggae community and a place where you can find out more about the music and people involved in making it. The site features regularly updated news, events and in-depth features. There’s a healthy bunch of newsletter subscribers and the shop sells right round the world. The reggae community is a truly a global niché – the shop regularly ships to Japan, Scandinavia, Italy, New Zealand, Brazil and France.

Design branding

In 2006, we digitised the music catalogue to enable us to launch the e-commerce site – about 5,000 items. Working with Gladdy, we decided upon a new name for the site which would build upon the already established reputation and also make it clearer what the website was all about – Reggae Unlimited does what it says on the tin!

When designing the new site, we wanted to differentiate the site from the competition and give the site a strong non-derivative look and feel. We wanted to convey the vivacity and dynamism of the music culture, but strayed away from the ubiquitous colours of Rastafarianism – red, gold and green. As much as we admire the highly crafted found-object styling by Intro for Blood and Fire records, we wanted to give the site a more clean and professional look – it’s also a look that’s difficult to translate into an on-going online environment as it’s so design-intensive.

The proof’s in the pudding – we’re selling music throughout the world and our customers keep coming back for more. Ian worked really hard to make it all happen.

Gladdy Wax, Owner, Reggae Unlimited

Website development

We don’t belive in re-inventing the wheel, so we built the site using Cubecart, a robust standards-compliant e-commerce application which is reasonably easy to extend and customise.

We extended the functionality of the software to allow us to add features, news items and crucially for a music shop, a simple mechanism to play sound clips. We also hooked up videos pulled in from Youtube to add further richness to the site. Similar mash-ups are in development with Flickr where we’ll allow the reggae community to be included at a deeper level.

Working on Reggae Unlimited and witnessing its popularity grow over the years has been a joy – things can only get better.

T-shirt design

Stickers

Sounds by Gladdy Wax sticker

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