Five More Commonly Ripped-Off Magic Tricks

In our first article, Commonly Ripped-Off Magic Tricks we talked about bootlegged and outright rip-offed items. The post was so popular I thought we should list some other commonly ripped-off items.

Here are four more items we distribute that have been stolen more than any others in our inventory. I have included links so that you can be sure to stock authorized copies for your customers.

11-1793pLightning by Magic Smith

Chris Smith, owner of Magic Smith, revolutionized light bulb magic with Lightning. It wasn’t long before illegal copies hit the market. At one point Chris told me that he was getting dozens of broken knock-offs from China every week. Now, magicians who want to do this amazing demonstration of mind over matter can get Lightning at the same price as the knock-offs! Get authorized copies of genuine Lightning by Magic Smith at the new low price.

Zip Tie Escape! by PoorBoyziptieescape-full__45304_zoom

As the name implies, the idea behind the PoorBoy line is to make great cost effective items that don’t put a big dent in your wallet. But this has not stopped China knock-offs from hitting the streets with copies of Aaron Smith’s instructions! Aaron has been praised all over the internet for this genius escape from plastic shackles. Have members of your audience tie you up tight in seven heavy duty zip ties and escape on command! Get copies of original Zip Tie Escape!

impcard__13544_zoomImpossible Card in Bottle by Gerald Kirchner

Talk about big in Japan! This was such a big hit, almost every novelty and magic shop in Japan made their own version. With all the unauthorized copies of Impossible Card in Bottle, it is hard to believe the idea ever had an inventor in the first place. The genuine trick and prop was a signature of so many magicians—some of whom are big names in the industry—that Card in Bottle became associated with each of them in its own way, providing a mythical license to thieves. Here is the original by Gerald Kirchner.

Show_OFF_1_2_Brian_Tudor__57439_zoomSHOW OFF 1 & 2 DVD by Brian Tudor

Brian’s DVDs are HUGE! This combo may be among magic’s largest selling DVD of all time! And if you have downloaded this project from the internet, it was probably stolen. This title has never been offered as a download. This includes the original volume #1 or #2.

The title combined his flourishes from Show Off #1 and Show Off #2 all in one place.  Want to learn Brian’s awesome flourishes and Show Off like a pro? Pick-up legit copies today! Stock Show Off 1&2 on DVD by Brian Tudor.

 

When you get a chance, check out infringement is accidental.

Talk Back Questions: What tricks do you see knocked off the most? Have you ever bought a knock off product? Share your experience in the comments below.

Tips & Tricks: Rebuilding the Magic Industry

Image by Scott Maxwell.

Image by Scott Maxwell.

The magic business was not exempt from the financial crisis in 2008. Our industry was badly wounded and recovery has been slow.

In the years from 2004 to 2007, the magic market dragged sales to an all-time high. It wasn’t unheard of for a new online entity to make a million dollars in revenue it’s first three years. Unfortunately, many of those startups didn’t plan for the cyclical nature of business, and their cashflow went to lofty endeavors that may have paid off in the future, had the future not been a crisis.

The good news is that when the bubble burst, it left all the pieces intact, they just need assembled again. Here are a few ways magic shops can help rebuild the magic industry:

Encourage Magicians to Give Magical Gifts

In advance of holidays, such as Christmas, Chanukah, Bosco Day, Easter, and Halloween, remind magicians to share the gift of magic with their friends and family. Offer cheap items in bulk for holidays that warrant trinkets, and substantial items for more traditional gift-giving holidays.

TIP: Magic Wand Scrolls are an affordable, year-round way to give the gift of magic and advertise your store.

Buy in Bulk from Suppliers

Jobbers reduced, or even abolished, minimums during the recession to assist magic stores in their time of need. But now magic shops need to get back into the habit of placing larger orders. If you are stuck in a rut of buying single units, start buying at least two of each item on your next order. If you can’t buy two of every item, that’s okay—make a sincere effort. As business increases due to your expanding inventory, buy three of each item. Don’t just buy what you have already sold. Genuine magic stores sell items they have in stock—they “store” inventory, create demand for it, and sell it.

TIP: Buy in bulk staple goods such as gimmicked decks, silks, folding coins, thumbtips, and D’Lites. That way you know they will sell within the month with very little effort.

Stay Loyal to the Magic Business

Just because a local source sells an item traditionally sold by magic distributors, doesn’t mean you have to stock it locally—you can still buy it from the distributor. Magicians learn loyalty from their local magic community: fellow magicians and their magic shop. If you see magicians sourcing everything locally or buying unauthorized versions of magic tricks, this is your opportunity to help mold the next generation. Lead by example. Keep your purchases in the family.

TIP: If an item is available from local, non-magic stores, focus on brand. Magicians know when they buy a [magic] brand name they are supporting the community and possibly getting a better product. King Rough is an excellent example.

Support the Local Performing Arts

Even small towns host an element of performing arts, usually in the form of community theatre. There are a myriad of networking opportunities within this subculture. Chances are you can get paid for your time, but even if that isn’t an option, volunteer. Perform magic in the lobby opening nights or set up a magic shop or kiosk at the front of the theatre. Build stage props, work with youth on their stage presence, or bring performing arts to your community if there isn’t already a working group.

TIP: Advertise on playbills and offer to introduce the director at the opening of the show. Talk about the importance of the performing arts for society and lump magic in with what is already considered performing arts. Build credibility and market locally. This applies to online stores and brick and mortar shops.

Centsational: The Popularity of Coin Magic

Phlye_copper_english_penny__77807_zoomOne can miss completely the coin section of most magic shops with one quick blink. Compared to the mammoth array of card tricks, coin and money magic are a swirl of soda at the bottom of a Big Gulp.

Why?

It’s not like there is any less demand. A good coin trick is a miser’s dream! When a clever coin trick hits the market, it makes its way through the community like a brush fire, igniting a renewed interest in the classics as well as the cutting edge.

And maybe that’s it: old coin tricks never die.

Coin magic is the wine of the industry, getting better with age. Scotch and Soda is still as popular today as it was when it was first released, only now even lower-end manufacturers have enough experience to make every set a premium version.

As I am writing this article, a fresh supply of Folding Quarters and Bite Coins arrived at the warehouse, and several dozen went right back out the door.

As new gimmicked coins and coin sets are produced, they become part of the infrastructure. The community will always require them like a wall requires its bricks. A few years ago, Chastian Criswell released Cartel Coins and Phlye. Both items are now classics.

Magic shops who want an item with demand—a culture of demand—ought to consider cleaning up and pushing their coin department.

Beginner sets are an easy sell to new magicians looking to add to their repertoire, and longterm magicians looking to restore the coin gimmicks they already own. Focus too on premium coin sets such as Cartel Coins and Phlye. You, and your customers, will relish the change.

Surefire Sales for the Summer

Pyro_Perception_11-2537__10889_zoomAs a whole, the magic industry experiences a sharp decrease in business during the summer months.

There are a number of factors as to why this occurs. One of the biggies is fallout from the increase of newcomers during the end-of-the-year holiday season, starting in October and ending in April, which forces the industry to rely on longterm magicians for revenue.

The silver lining here is that the summer market—preforming magicians especially—is a recognized demographic. We can foresee their purchasing needs and stock our shelves accordingly. When times are tough, nothing beats a bulk order from a regular customer for an in-stock item.

In anticipation of those orders, here is a list of products that remain strong year round, but pick up during the summer. Stores that stock these items early and advertise them constantly will profit from their competitors’ lack of preparation.

Sands of the Desert

Black Water Clear Water

Magician’s Rope

Hippity Hop Rabbits

Snowstorm Refills

Dancing Cane Gimmicks

Appearing and Vanishing Canes

Spring Flowers

Pyro Perception

Ash on Arm

Newspaper Tear

Mouth Coils

Throw Streamers

Paper Tears

Silks

Mylar Wands

Scarabaeus Gimmicks

Slush Powder

Snow Powder

Egg Bag

Cracked!

Magic Wand Scrolls come as blanks, which you can keep in stock, and customized Scrolls made to order. When magicians purchase the items above for their upcoming summer season, mention a hundred-pack of Magic Wand Scrolls. They are the best business card in magic!

Royalty Free Download System for Magic Shops

icone-downloadDownloadable content is here to stay. Even as new technologies develop and gain popularity, a method of virtual delivery will continue to provide value to consumers, stores, and content creators for the foreseeable future.

Yet there are magic shops who still haven’t embraced this concept. And those merchants who do offer downloadable content, typically lump the products together in a giant, uncategorized list on their website—imagine shopping Walmart without departments.

While Magic City isn’t viewed as an industry leader today when it comes to downloads, we were the first jobber to distribute ebooks through stores on digital media. And before the recession, Magic City was working on a massive electronic version of the jobber, store, magician paradigm in digital form.

The project was abandoned because it doesn’t make sense.

Other than tradition, why create a new system with the limitations and problems of the old system? Why not use the new technology to do better things instead of the same old thing?

The magic industry already works on such a small margin, it’s foolish to induce the same constraint on a technology with the potential to reduce costs.

Thus, we scrapped the project and began working on something new—converting Magic City’s massive collection of books and DVDs into easily distributable digital formats for the sole purpose of licensing resale rights to magic shops…

…in such a way that content producers get paid and magic stores get to keep 100% of their sales. Simple. Profitable. Revolutionary!

Here’s how it works:

For a yearly fee, magic shops select the products they want to sell royalty free. The system is scalable, license only the items you want to sell, then sell as many as you want for a year and keep all the money.

Magic shops have total control of the system to ensure customer retention.

Magicians purchase the licensed book or video and download it directly form the magic shop’s website. There isn’t a central hub as we originally planned or as others in the industry have done, you keep your customers right where you need them—on your website.

As a merchant, you might feel overwhelmed when you look at all the downloads available industry-wide or on a competitor’s website. But don’t get discouraged.

You only need to start with one item.

Put it on your site in the category where it would go if it wasn’t a download AND in a category just for downloads. Then, as we release more products with licensing, you add more products to your site.

We will grow this system together.

The program begins April 1st. Several shops have already licensed the first product, The Complete Course in Pick Pocketing. This is one of our best selling speciality books. It’s an item with built-in demand among closeup magicians, stage performers, street artists, and general entertainers.

Buy a license and sell as many copies as possible for the next year—saturate your customers—and keep all the profit.

You knew this year was going to be different. Click here to get started!

Customers Xtreme: The Tudor Movement

Tudor_2013__79401_zoomDon’t let the name fool you. Tudor 2013 isn’t dated material now that it is 2014. Rather, the timestamp is like a journal entry, necessary to someone—Brian Tudor—who, at a relatively young age, grandfathered a significant movement in the magic industry.

There was a time in the early 2000’s when the debate between “to flourish or not to flourish” reached a pinnacle point. Half the magic population was against it, the other half really didn’t understand the negativity.

With the release of SHOWOFF, Brian Tudor changed the argument. He took it to the extreme. Flourishing—card manipulation—became a separate entity. Fans of the craft finally said, “Fine. If you don’t want visible card manipulation to be part of magic, we’ll do our own thing.” And they did.

Brian Tudor’s Showoff, Showoff II, Showoff III, Card Sharp, and Generation Xtreme influenced a movement that is not only alive today, it is… in a word, flourishing.

So when you see the title, Tudor Twenty-Thirteen, realize it’s not time-sensitive material. It is a chapter in an ongoing saga. It’s part of a movement. Customers crave Tudor’s work because it is entertaining in a way that some do not understand and others cannot live without.

If you don’t stock Brian Tudor’s DVD’s, you probably haven’t experienced the demand firsthand. The demo video sells the DVD online, and playing the DVD in your store on an overhead TV will net sales all day long. Image how a student inspired by Tudor can spread the word of card manipulation—and your store—to a whole school of potential new magicians.

Card Tricks Make a Comeback in Show Stopper Style

Show StoppersLike any other type of magic, card tricks have gone in and out of popular favor. I love card tricks, but as a distributor of magic, I am constantly pitched new products. By 2002, I had seen enough card tricks and was looking for just about anything else.

It wasn’t that I was burned out on card tricks already published, it was that card magicians really weren’t making epic strides like they were in the nineties. Plus, the market wasn’t buying card tricks. I would get calls at the office, “What’s new? And isn’t a card trick?”

Today, however, cards are starting to make a comeback. Card magicians have taken advantage of new technology and reduced modern printing costs, cranking up the gears of innovation once again, producing top-quality card magic. And the best part of all, card tricks are selling!

Still, with all the leaps and bounds forward, one of my favorite card tricks is an oldie – the “Dunbury Delusion by Charlie Miller.”

Few magicians are familiar with the plot, and those who have seen it, probably have no idea where Charlie published it originally. I learned it from a remarkable little booklet called “Show Stoppers by Hugard and Braue.

The book is very good – filled with so many amazing card tricks – I just had to have a copy for myself. It was long out of print though, so I purchased the rights and brought it back to life for the next generation of card magicians. You can own it now in hard copy or digital format.

The reason I like the “Dunbury Delusion” is both because of Charlie Miller’s streamlined handling (easy for beginners, but strong enough for pros), and the impact of the final revelation. It’s one of those tricks that makes a wonderful performance piece at parties, high-class shows, or even a money-making bar bet. In other words, you can perform for your friend, your date, or the president!

Another thing I like about “Show Stoppers” is it has Frederick Braue’s original handling of his infamous “Homing Card.” Fred Kaps performed Braue’s “Homing Card” so often, he is often credited for inventing it. In fact, Kaps performed it on black and white TV, making it one of the first card tricks ever performed on television.

If you would like to add a couple Show Stoppers to your act, get the book!

Click Here…

Deck Your Store with “Entry Point” Profits

"A Spanish Deck of Cards (1495-1518)" Source WikiPedia

“A Spanish Deck of Cards (1495-1518)” Source WikiPedia

You have heard the debate ad nauseam: should you or should you not perform magic with special-design decks? The ought-not argument is that audiences will see the abnormal deck and assume it is gimmicked, ruining the tricks that follow.

In most cases, you can hand the deck out for inspection rendering that argument moot. And besides, a good magician overcomes suspicion with entertaining magic. Either way, those arguments are for another blog. We are focused only on these decks from an industry point of view.

Instead of the debate above, the question is: should you or should you not sell specialty decks in your magic store?

Playing cards with any design other than any of the big-four standards—Rider, Aviator, Maverick, and Hoyle—are in demand simply because they are different (both in quality and design). Even Tally-Ho, Bees, Steamboat, Studs, Aristocrats, and Bicycle’s [other than Rider back] have appeal.

There is nothing wrong with that craving. It is to be expected. We learned from Aesop’s Fables, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” The new designs are refreshing. Hip. An excellent addition to the modern magician’s prop reserve.

Ever wonder why the copyright and manufacturer information is typically printed on the Ace of Spades? During his English reign in the 1600’s, King James the First passed a law requiring the manufacturer print their logo on the Ace of Spades to prove taxes were paid. Later, after the Stamp Act of 1765, boxes of playing cards were also sealed with a “duty wrapper.”

If you want to attract that card market—still emerging—then offering those cards is the solution. The market itself isn’t waning, even when it appears that the major players are slowing. There are still large outfits that like to push cards, and they offer new sets every few months, complete with an energetic video demonstrating the deck’s unique, ethereal charm.

But to everyone other than the manufacturer and possibly the consumer, cards are a pain in the butt.

Ungimmicked playing cards do not have a very large profit margin—less than industry standard wholesale on average. Manufacturers can make money off them from the high volumes, but individual magic stores owners aren’t retiring from playing card profits. Plus, despite the small size of a deck of cards, they are expensive to ship when compared to their overall order total and other items of equal size. Four packs of cards weigh a pound with tare.

Then there is perception and realization by beginners. Magicians who already know card tricks or manipulations have no trouble understanding specialty decks. Those who are just getting into magic, however, may buy one of these decks and ask the magic shop why it didn’t come with instructions. Kind of like Fushigi Balls—they look cool in the hands of a master, but are just a clever design to the average Joe.

According to WikiPedia: "A Chinese playing card found near Turfan, dated c. 1400 AD during the Ming Dynasty. From the Museum fur Volkerkunde, Berlin. Its dimensions are 9.5 cm by 3.5 cm."

According to WikiPedia: “A Chinese playing card found near Turfan, dated c. 1400 AD during the Ming Dynasty. From the Museum fur Volkerkunde, Berlin. Its dimensions are 9.5 cm by 3.5 cm.”

Regardless, specialty decks remain popular, and have been popular since their invention in Imperial China. But back then, every deck was a custom deck and society craved standardization.

After all, a standard deck brings with it familiarity and trust. When you trust the brand, you feel comfortable enough to take risks. Sometimes those risks are financial—gambling for instance—and other times, those risks are a belief that the deck isn’t gimmicked—how can it be? Those are the same cards they sell at Walmart. Remember the stories about currency before standardization? Every bank had its own bill, making it difficult to conduct transactions from state to state.

In the past, magic shops have overcome the negatives elements of playing cards by selling accessories instead of full decks. Decks were sold, but mostly as a loss-leader, much like they are today. Gimmicks have a higher profit and more value overall, especially when you factor in their kinetic magic and high-rate of satisfied customers.

So how can you make money selling specialty decks?

All of this information should not dissuade you from carrying these decks. It should encourage you to sell accessories along with these decks. If a deck is going to sell, regardless of design, sell it for more by including a book or DVD—instructions on how to make it look even more magical than it already does.

This information should also remind you that these special decks are still not as popular as the original specialty decks in our industry.

Since its introduction by Burling Hull in 1909, the best selling specialty deck in the magic business is the Svengali Deck. It sells nearly every time it is demonstrated and it has a comfortable profit margin, with plenty of books and DVD’s to accompany it. There are several other decks that fit this mold.

Yet the Svengali Deck is [nearly] forgotten on the websites of modern magic stores, where other specialty designed decks are front and center.

The Svengali Deck and other decks like it, should be displayed foremost on every magic shop website. Selling these decks increases the percentage of a second industry purchase by nearly 80% when compared to exit-point items, and the long-term retention of that customer, exceeding a one-year purchase streak, is over 20% (statistics factored by survey). Those numbers increase when the place of purchase teaches the customer how to use the deck—the book and DVD I mentioned earlier.

Brick and mortar stores already know the power of a magic trick that is easy to do and confident-building in performance. These specialty decks have demand when they are pushed, and by selling them on the front of your site with a demo video and book/DVD special offer, you decrease your bounce-rate, increase sales to the largest demographic—new customers—and have a better chance for a follow-up second sale.

This concept is nothing new. In mainstream marketing it is known as an entry point campaign. There are a number of good decks to push. Start with Svengali Deck, Stripper Deck, Mirage Deck, Brainwave Deck, Deception Deck, Haunted Deck, Pop-Eye Popper Deck, Switch Back, and of course, the Invisible Deck—used by pros and beginners alike.

Don’t Ignore These Customers, They’re Ready to Buy Magic!

Next time you demonstrate magic in your shop or at your booth, remember everyone with an iPhone is a potential five-product sale. An EASY five-product sale! And if you include just one of those five products per visit, their average order ticket can easily exceed $40 when combined with other impulse buys.

There are a variety of magic tricks for the iPhone that require additional apps, but who has space for those? Very few of them work with the spectator’s phone, and fewer still are demonstrable on the fly with only the spectator’s phone. These products also, in many cases, bypass the magic shop and require the magician to download the trick directly from the iTunes store.

Since we’re talking technology, some magicians will get nervous right away. But you don’t have to be tech-savvy to perform amazing magic with an iPhone, let alone demonstrate it to your customers. In fact, you don’t even have to turn the phone on to profit from some of the best selling iPhone DVD’s and props on the market.

iPhone users love to make their phones look even cooler than they already are. That’s why the following items are easy sales to magicians and the general public, perfect for brick and mortar demonstrations, multi-venue pitches, and of course, online traffic always searching for the most current “Tips and TRICKS with the iPhone.”

If all else fails, wad their iPhone up and throw it in the trashcan using iFoam!

iFloat__09524_zoom iFoam_magic_tricks_DVD__07495_zoom iphone-insert__26673_zoom iUtility_Magic_DVD__52913_zoom Magic_with_iPhone_Vol_2__47652_zoom

Authorized Copies of Commonly Ripped-Off Magic Tricks

Unlike my previous article, not all infringement is accidental. Some of it is outright theft!

While it is not always easy to tell the difference between an authorized copy and a bootleg, you can tell the difference between an accident and malicious intent.

Accidental infringement is a product that contains a basic element from a previously released trick without credit to the original author. A bootleg is the whole enchilada—the idea, method, presentation, and routine. Rip-offs are outright copyright infringement—exact copies of the cover, instructions, and/or DVD. The sellers and re-sellers of bootlegs even use the original product’s demo video when available.

Here are four items we distribute that have been stolen more than any others in our inventory. I have included links so that you can be sure to stock authorized copies for your customers.

bigbang__30114_zoomBig Bang by Magic Smith

Chris Smith, owner of Magic Smith, revolutionized the exploding light bulb concept with Big Bang. Magicians who wanted to do this amazing demonstration of mind over matter could now perform it anywhere—the broken glass was no longer a problem and the gimmick set up as you did the trick. It wasn’t long before illegal copies hit the market. You can get genuine Big Bang by Magic Smith here.

behold_the_scarabaeusBehold the Scarabaeus

Cellphone in bottle—among other things such as car keys, credit cards, smaller bottles—was the hottest magic trick around when Behold the Scarabaeus hit the market. Demand was so strong, supply couldn’t keep up. This opened the floodgates to knock off versions of the trick. You can still get the original Behold the Scarabaeus right here!

11-0176T__42213_zoomCard on Tie by Gerald Kirchner

With all the unauthorized copies of Card on Tie, it is hard to believe the idea ever had an inventor in the first place. The genuine trick and prop was a signature of so many magicians—some of whom are big names in the industry—that Card on Tie became associated with each of them in its own way, providing a mythical license to thieves. Here is the original Card on Tie by Gerald Kirchner.

Magic_as_a_Weapon_Hidden_Spaces__21766_zoomMagic As A Weapon DVD: Hidden Spaces

As you might have guessed, this fascinating DVD has a HUGE market outside the magic industry. And since that market is people who are breaking the law already, what is a little copyright theft at the end of the day? Learn how to hide stuff the legal way (well, sort of!), and stock the original Magic as a Weapon DVD.

 

Talk Back Questions: What tricks do you see knocked off the most? Have you ever bought a knock off product? Share your experience in the comments below.

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