A Trip Down Memory Lane with RAM Collectibles (Local Business)


Father & Son

With its stock of hard-to-find, obsolete and retired toys, time spent at RAM Collectible Toys is a glorious trip down memory lane that satisfies your inner child. Owner Mark Priestley started trading 5 years ago. He named the shop after both his and his father’s initials, Robert and Mark – RAM, to pay homage to his dad for inspiring his love of old toys and investing in the business. Once the pair had made the decision to go into business together, they looked in Whitstable where Mark lives and also in Tankerton and Swalecliffe, finally discovering a shop with the perfect rent in Herne Bay where Robert lives.

Mark’s love for his collectible toys is palpable as he explains that what makes RAM unique is the rarity of the majority of his stock. The other unusual factor is that, rather than catering to children like other toy shops, his clientele are predominantly men in their 30s and older.

Stars of TV & Film

As an entrepreneur, what Mark loves most about his business is meeting his interesting and diverse client base. He says “my customers are passionate about their toy collections, there are some very interesting conversations going on. Sometimes they are people from the TV and Film industry or the design studios of toy manufacturers and they have wonderful stories to tell me about the toys and the films that inspired them. When the local Sci-Fi by the Sea events are on I also get actors from movies like Star Wars and James Bond popping in to browse and buy.” At first all Mark’s customers were local, but news of the shop has spread through word of mouth, radio, cinema advertising and social media and people now come from farther afield. He also recently shipped a slot car to Germany after a buyer spotted it on his website. Mark is keen to get involved with the GrowMyBiz and Buy in the Bay Projects so he can get advice on further growing his business and support Canterbury City Council’s drive to get more people to “shop local” in Herne Bay.

Spotting Trends and Bartering

Another exciting aspect of Mark’s work is that, of course, he doesn’t deal with normal suppliers, he buys his stock from serious collectors. This means that the toys displayed in the shop usually have a fascinating backstory and once sold, he may never find another one the same. Mark has to choose his stock and balance his budget carefully as his busy buying and selling times come at opposite times of the year. It’s essential for him to be adept at reading the market and seeing how trends for certain toys rise and dip. Also, unlike many retailers, Mark’s niche business does not necessarily pick up on public holidays and celebrations, so he has to be more creative with his marketing and sales offers and discounts. He also has to be an excellent negotiator, as collectors like to barter!

TV with Titchmarsh

There are exciting times ahead for RAM Collectible Toys as a selection of Mark’s vintage toys will appear on the TV programme Masterpiece, with Alan Titchmarsh, in April 2017.

You can discover more about RAM ‘s delightful collectibles on their website www.ramcollectibletoys.co.uk and on Facebook.


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