Out with: Collect
For the first iteration of Out with, we spoke to our neighbors COLLECT – Food, Radio, Records. In this conversation, we talked about their innovative approach to business, breaking barriers, and music.
FN: When and why did Collect start?
CL: Collect opened doors in 2019 but the idea started way back. Our team has been connected to the music and hospitality industry for a while, so the idea was to merge music, food, and a record store – a bold and gutsy project but we were very confident that it would work.
Right before opening, we hosted a pop-up at a temporary location to spread the word about Collect. It was a huge success. This experience not only solidified the brand but also got our team up to speed with all the business processes.
FN: How has the evolution of Collect been since its opening?
CL: From the get-go, we quickly understood that we had created something that was relevant to the local scene. The business was healthy, and we felt that people were starting to take notice of this new concept. But things changed quickly. The pandemic hit us pretty hard – just like any other business in the restaurant & live-concert industry. We were scared, in debt and the scenarios were not comforting at all. However, the first few months were proof of concept, which gave our team hope and strength to turn things around. Those dark times were also an opportunity for us to solidify our relationship with the local community (there were no tourists at that time) and test some new concepts.
Now, the business is growing and we feel like we are becoming a relevant piece of the music scene in Lisbon.
FN: Describe one of the best nights you had in Collect.
CL: Having José Cid playing at Collect was a special night for us – it’s someone that we have been listening to since we were kids. That night also showed that we are not bounded to only house & techno music, but we are open to any type of musical expression as long as we feel it aligns with what we value and like.
FN: We are the new kid in the block, any advice on how to run a business in Cais do Sodré?
CL: Welcome! The more local businesses the merrier. That will certainly allow the creation of a very welcoming neighborhood for tourists and the local community. And our advice is just to be open to interacting with other businesses and really capitalize on the diversity of consumers that you’ll find in this part of the town.
FN: Besides your day-to-day activities at Collect, you have organized some Collect Culture at other locations. How has that experience been?
CL: Collect Culture was always meant to happen. We have been connected to events and music festivals for a long time now and it was inevitable that our project stirred in that direction. In the first edition, we had the idea of merging music with skate and surf. One of our founders has deep connections with the surf and skate community and we felt it was right to create a music event that would resonate with those groups. And that’s how the collaboration 58 X Collect Surf Edition came to be. It was a very rewarding experience to see that so many people got behind the project and made it a success story – and we are grateful to 58 Surf, Nixon, RVCA, and Cariuma for supporting this idea.
FN: How is it to run a record label in Portugal?
CL: Running a record label is hard. Running a record in Portugal is harder. Navigating the independent market has become really tricky. First, there isn’t a single independent Portuguese distribution company, and secondly, pressing plants are at max capacity and the bigger companies have already secured production for the next couple of years. So, it forces us to find more expensive solutions.
FN: What have you been listening to?
CL: Lately, we have been listening to a lot of old-school hip-hop, mainly Jeru The Damaja. We also are trying to dig some ambient tunes from back in the day and see if we can find them in vinyl.
FN: Next big step.
CL: Going public! (Laughs) We are really just trying to learn more and get better at running our business. We work hard to improve our bar, restaurant, radio, and record store. And if we do it right we’ll be able to help more artists and more careers – and that’s the end goal.
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