Magic Distribution Also Means Warehousing

Image by Iamnee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Iamnee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If behavior is any indicator, most manufacturers would say distributing magic means selling to a jobber [or two] and waiting for reorders.

Manufacturers—i.e. content producers who make their own merchandise rather than selling the rights or getting a royalty from the acting manufacturer—have another option at their disposal. It’s called “warehousing” or “hubbing.”

And it’s an awesome way to make sales.

Lets say Wholesale Magic—Magic City—declines to stock your new product or wants to start with less quantity than you need to produce initially. They may still warehouse your product for you. Free!

What does that mean?

It means you send some stock, say fifty units, to Wholesale Magic. They store the merchandise in their warehouse—a service for which most companies charge by the cubic inch. Whenever someone orders the item from you, whether it be a jobber, magic store, or even Magic City, Wholesale Magic will deliver the item.

Magic shops like to keep things simple. Instead of buying from a hundred single sources, they purchase their inventories from a couple of massive sources—jobbers. Listing your products with a jobber increases the number of potential sales dramatically. Have you found that from magic stores you get a lot of “maybes”? Jobbers don’t get maybes, they get orders.

If you live outside the U. S. and need a hub from which to distribute your magic to companies throughout The States, warehousing is even more profitable. Now you have a U. S. address and your customers pay U. S. shipping prices—that means they can buy more of your product for the same cost.

Once you have a warehousing agreement in place, notify magic stores and tell them the item is available from Wholesale Magic and to include the item with their next purchase.

Additionally, you can ask Wholesale Magic to help you sell the warehoused merchandise. They will list the item(s) on their site just like any other product. They will offer it to the jobbers and stores within their network and cut you a check when the product sells.

You now have a West Coast warehouse—a hub—ready to ship your products anywhere in the world. You make the sales, your warehouse ships the products. It only gets easier: after you shoot your DVD or print your book, have the duper or printer send the product directly to Wholesale Magic. Less work, more profit!

Contact Wholesale Magic to reserve your warehouse space.

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Infringement Accidental: Duplication isn’t Always Evil

 

"Stealing is never justified. Copyright infringement is illegal. But overlap must be recognized as part of the nature of the industry's structure." Image by WoodleyWonderWorks.

“Stealing is never justified. Copyright infringement is illegal. But overlap must be recognized as part of the nature of the industry’s structure.” Image by WoodleyWonderWorks.

The magic industry is a vast landscape, both deep and wide. Within “magic” are hundreds of categories, thousands of perspectives, and a plethora of places for a magic trick to hide.

There is a common misconception that “Niche Business” means a small market. Magic is a niche business, but it is not a small market. For instance, performers reach millions and millions of people, and though we may complain that selling magic tricks is a small market, that’s really only because we advertise to a small market. Certainly, the magic business is not small when you examine the sheer volume of magic tricks released every year.

A niche business is a business filled with niches. And magic is one of the nichiest. (roll with it folks!)

Within all of those niches are the perfect hiding places of accidental infringement—mistakenly publishing an idea, routine, gimmick, or complete trick already on the market. On average, if you take any two magic creators at random, both will tell you their sincere intention is to not rip anyone off or infringe on the intellectual property of others—rather, they desire to release only new, innovate products. Yet, unintentional duplication occurs repeatedly. Those same creators might even inform you they have looked through both sides of the mirror.

There are many reasons for accidental infringement, but I would like to focus on the situation from a jobber level. Certain magic creators and manufacturers have their preferred distributors and stores—just like how customers prefer Walmart to Target and vice versa.

If you distribute through only one or two jobbers—even if sales are very, very good—there may still be a large segment of the magic community unaware of you or your product line, opening the door for accidental infringement.

When a creator is accustomed to working with one jobber, they may only be familiar with products released by that one jobber. In another circle, there may be the exact same trick with different packaging, title, and routine, and neither party will notice. Sometimes consumers don’t even notice, especially when that consumer buys from their preferred retail magic shop, who in turn buys from their preferred jobber. Multiply that by countries with their own supply chains and languages, and you have an environment ripe with hiding places.

So why don’t these creators spend more time, effort, and money checking the market for duplicates before releasing their work?

Lets go back to the beginning—magic is a vast landscape. It is very difficult, near impossible in the magic business to check every niche, every exclusive circle [with absolute 100% accuracy] to see if an idea is a duplicate. However, it is the creator’s responsibility to make an extensive effort researching the market—and most do—via web search, talking with other creators, buying products, reading like crazy (magazines, books, blogs), watching videos ad nauseam, monitoring message boards, Facebook, and Twitter, and discussing the idea with their jobbers who then, in turn, ask questions behind the scenes.

But just because there were no visible duplicates on the market at the beginning of the process, doesn’t mean one won’t crop up during the research and development and production phases, which can take months or years to complete. By then, it is difficult for a creator to take a product off the market—or stop its release—even with a heavy demand to do so by the magic community.

This article isn’t to say that infringement is okay and we should release with abandon. On the contrary, we need to keep the published record as clean as possible—it is our duty as magicians. Stealing is never justified. Copyright infringement is illegal. But overlap must be recognized as part of the nature of the industry’s structure. It’s important that magicians identify the difference between a rip off and accidental infringement, if for no other reason than the reputation of those involved, which is an essential part of the published record in its own right.

Talk Back Question: have you ever thought you invented a new magic trick, gimmick, or move only to find it already on the market?

Five Cool Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Magic Jobbers

Magic City just celebrated its 40th year in the business (you can read more about us here). We have manufacturing and/or distribution in nearly every country where magic is made or sold. And that got us thinking, for the most part, magicians don’t know much about jobbers.

If you have never heard the word jobber before, the terms “wholesaler” and “distributor” and “jobber” are used interchangeably in the magic industry. We will get into the nuance in a future article. Suffice it to say, jobbers distribute magic to magic stores, pitchmen, bulk buyers, non-magic retail outlets, etc.

Until recently, there hasn’t been much talk among magicians about jobbers. So we thought we would start the blog off with Five Cool Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Jobbers…

1) Magic Jobbers are Invisible

Or at least they were in the past. For many years, it was a widely held industry standard that magic distributors would stay out of the public eye. Buying from a jobber was a multi-step process. You had to prove you were a store with a business license, perhaps supply a picture ID, credit references, and complete an application. If you weren’t a store, they wouldn’t even talk to you. But the internet changed all that. URL’s meant direct [anonymous] contact and browsing. Stores wanted retail pricing displayed on wholesale websites, they wanted accurate stock quantities on display, and it became the jobbers responsibility to popularize items by advertising those items direct to consumers to buy from magic shops. Before long, the word “jobber” crept into the global conversation, and now many magicians can name three or four jobbers.

2) Magic Jobbers Buy from Each Other

While it’s true that magic jobbers work on a very low percentage—the lowest percentage in the distribution chain—they still buy from each other. And at a loss when necessary. Jobbers are friendly with one another, especially when those jobbers are owned or managed by magicians who love and care about the craft. The chummiest of jobbers get together at conventions and talk like old friends—because they are!

3) Magic Jobbers Aid in Quality Control

Magic jobbers must stock the products they sell and they stock a lot of products. Magic City is aptly named because it is like a small city inside—a neighborhood of packed, overflowing shelves, manufacturing rooms, sales centers, packing and packaging, a full-scale printshop and binding station. In fact, it takes two massive warehouses to hold all of the products Magic City stocks. Quite frankly, jobbers cannot afford to stock bad merchandise so they focus on the good magic. Today, manufacturers can sell direct—even create demand for products that are not as good as they could be—whereas products that go through a jobber may get personal attention from magicians with years of training designing magic tricks and turning them into magic products fit for their intended clientele. Some manufacturers prefer to only sell direct as it means more profit for them, but some must sell direct because there simply isn’t a jobber willing to take the items. Jobbers act as agents, producers, and investors.

4) Magic Jobbers Also Make Their Own Products

Without exception, all of the major jobbers either manufacture their own products in-house, or have items manufactured for them. The bulk of what they sell is direct from magic creators, but each jobber has their own product lines—well-known brands within the industry that concentrate on staple goods and subject-specific how-to books and DVD’s. Employees within the company may be magic inventors too. The CEO of Magic City, Gerald Kirchner, was a performer and is a creator. Colleagues call to bounce ideas off him and to take the industry’s temperature every single day—who better to know what jobbers need than a jobber?

5) Magic Jobbers Stock Millions of Dollars Worth of Magic

The magic industry often operates in trends produced by a handful of manufacturers and/or performers. Walking down the isles of a jobber’s warehouse is like seeing a museum of those trends. There are sometimes whole rooms dedicated to major products that shipped all over the world—the room having emptied and refilled several times. Eventually, those products add up to millions of dollars worth of magic. And that’s not counting the cost of the machinery used to make their own product lines. Every year an item in inventory doesn’t sell, the profit margin decreases.

Talk Back Questions: had you heard the term jobber before visiting this blog? After reading five things about jobbers, what are five things you wish jobbers knew about the retail business, pitching, etc?

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