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Behind The Scenes

heading up a company producing modern products that celebrate the past, a sneak peak into his office (in the company’s West London premises) leaves you in no doubt. The walls are affixed with framed B

movie posters, the window ledge hosts an impressive collection of action figures from TV shows, there are tidy piles of historic music magazines, towers of music CDs and even a bank of various Apple Mac computers (all of which still work) going back decades.

And this is just the tip of

the iceberg. Chris’ father has a shed full of copies of NME going back to the 1970s, the ephemera collection extends into Chris’ own home too. Having worked in a

record shop from the age of 15 and then going on to set up a music distribution company (as well as having released 200 vinyl records and CDs), before setting up the CDCard Company, it is little surprise that music-related elements feature strongly in the new product line-up from RetroCo, whether as part of The Story of Your Life range, Birthday Boxes, keyrings, boxed button badges, cufflinks or even the deluxe boxes of art cards (including a collection of images from esteemed music photographer Dezo Hoffman). However, the new product range goes way beyond music:

The RetroCo Collections Making their official debut on the stand at next month’s Spring Fair, underneath the company’s new bright orange roundel logo, will be the extensive new RetroCo product collections.

● In what is being seen as the next ‘step up’ from the product that put CDCard Company on the map, is The Story Of Your Life concept. Covering every year between 1950 and 1985, this four-in one product combines a year specific card, a booklet full of facts about the year featured from box office hits to news events, a CD of tracks released that year (created to look like an old vinyl record) as well as a code for all that music on the CD to also be downloaded. RRP £9.99

● Birthday Boxes - are a whole new approach to milestone birthdays, with boxes covering 40th, 50th, 60th and 70th. Each keepsake box is bursting with 25 items relevant to the era, such as reproductions of pop posters, postcards of adverts from the year, cigarette cards as well as a DVD documentary of that time.

● Boxed Notecard Sets - positioned as frameable notecards, each set contains 10 different printed, embossed and double varnished cards (on art board) in a keepsake box. Among the different collections are those on a music theme (such as Music Legends of the 70s), art (eg La Belle Epoque), and miscellaneous themes (such as Destination USA and The Golden Age of Football).

● Deluxe 8 Button Badge Box Sets - across a variety of themes from nostalgia sweet art and vintage cars to classic 45s record sleeves.

● Retro Cufflinks - which come in a beautiful gift box. ● Fridge magnets, magnetic bookmarks and keyrings.

Above: Sian Ellis-Thomas, sales and marketing manager of RetroCo, with some of the artwork which appears on the products. Left: Some of the boxed cufflinks, which celebrates the company’s retro slant.

“Just to put together the booklets for The Story of Your Life and the Birthday Boxes, involved eight different researchers - each with their own specialism. One was an expert on the 50s, another the 60s, another on movie memorabilia, someone else was great on the news aspect and someone else looked after the adverts of the day. I’m a perfectionist so it has taken a long time, but it is worth it,” admits Chris. As to the nation’s seemingly unquestionable desire for nostalgia, Chris thinks it is down to a somewhat filtered view of the past. “Everyone thinks that the past was somehow easier, better and more enjoyable. This is not necessarily the case, but just the way we all remember it.” Chris’ collection is still growing. “In this

box, for example, is part of the wing of the Oceanic aeroplane that crashed in the Lost programme - in my opinion the best TV series ever,” says Chris excitedly, the package having only recently arrived from the States where a charity auction took place. “I loved the punk era, and Blade Runner is my favourite movie, but I go and see lots of new bands. My daughter and I are really into the band Fun at the moment and last Saturday we saw The Hunger Games immediately followed by The Imitation Game at the cinema. There are a lot of good things about the past, but there are a lot of good things about the present too!” And of course, today’s modern day

Above: The Birthday Boxes each contain 25 items of ephemera.

items will become tomorrow’s nostalgia - and perhaps be reflected in the future product incarnations of RetroCo!


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