Barry Bull

Barry’s passion is retailing and his store, Toombul Music, is one the largest and most successful independent music retailers in Australia. Acknowledged as an industry leader and listed in the top 400 privately owned companies in Queensland, Toombul Music is the only retailer to have won the prestigious Westfield National ‘Specialty Retailer of the Year’ Award three times in four years - an achievement unequalled in the history of the competition which annually attracts a field of over 3,000 entrants Australia-wide.

With the catchcry ”No Is Negotiable” - when Barry talks, people listen. Barry is a hands-on operator and a great believer in leading from the front and keeping in touch with his customers needs, a practice he attributes to his success in retailing. He talks not as a professional speaker but as a successful small businessman with a message for others like him. Barry’s store, Toombul Music, is one the largest and most successful independent music retailers in Australia. Acknowledged as an industry leader and listed in the top 400 privately owned companies.

In 1997, after winning a total of 30 awards, Barry was presented with Westfield’s inaugural “Hall of Fame” award for outstanding achievement, recognising his commitment over 17 years to the retail and music industries. Barry’s career in the music industry began when he was teenager selling records (those black vinyl things) at a local music store.

“After week one I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Barry recalls. “It was the 60s and the Beatles were big, there was Elvis and Buddy Holly. The world was responding to Rock ’n’ Roll. It was a great place to be.”

He spent the next 10 years in the retail business before he was picked out by CBS Records (now known as Sony Music) for the position of Queensland Branch Manager. From there he eventually found his way to Sydney where he spent 13 years in various executive positions.

In 1981, Barry pulled the plug on it all. He ventured back to his grass roots and decided to set up his own music store. And so began Toombul Music, a 150 square metre store in suburban Brisbane. Some 15 years on, the store has tripled in size, is recognised by the music industry as a leader in the field and Barry is the Chairman of the Australian Music Retailers Association.

Barry threw away an established career, backed by his judgement in retail and succeeded.

What is Barry’s secret?

“Well, enthusiasm for one thing. I have always had the view of being not the biggest but the best” and “To get there first!”

Today, Barry is sought after as keynote speaker at sales and marketing conferences where his practical approach to operating a successful retail business finds an attentive audience. Never dull, often controversial, his presentations are peppered with humorous anecdotes of his experiences with entertainers like Cliff Richard, Michael Crawford, John Denver and John Farnham.

With a special message for both small and big business, Barry believes that we must all have a genuine appreciation of our customers’ needs and feelings - that everyone in an organisation should be a salesperson creating an environment that is friendly, helpful and regularly exceeds customer expectations.

Commonsense, business sense - Barry Bull is telling it like it is and showing his audiences how to get there first.



• Business - It’s Just Rock ‘n’ Roll
• Successful Retail Strategies
• Philosophies for Small Business
• No Is Negotiable!
• Winning Isn’t Everything - It’s the Only Thing!


• How to build a VIP loyalty club.
• Data base marketing
• Marketing without money
• The power of event marketing
• Brand building
• Driving sale through regular customer contact
• How to innovate-not imitate
• Managing margins/ increasing profits/ debt reduction
• The challenge of change.
• To be good, be better, to be the best.
• To adopt Barry's famous trademark 'No is Negotiable'. Never take no for an answer