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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys.

Ones more i have to ask you all a question......but this time something serious.


i have planned to oben a 1/6 shop in the center of my hometown.

now i want to know what stuff or brands you think i should offer To remain competitive???


first i thought about my standarts i allready have like

Soldier Story... Hot Toys....Hit Figure...BBi ... but im sure thats would be too less to clone my collection and multiple it.


would also offer a kitbash service in which the people thst do not have much experience with this could let theyre kitbash put together.

and a repair service for the figs. I can not count how many times I've repaired my figure

also build dioramas and scenes of whatever ^^

any ideas for the initial supply?????
 

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Schizophrenic Modeler
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While I applaud your enthusiasm in planning to open a shop, I would suggest that you instead set up a web site and initially attempt to sell figures and parts that way. You will save money on rent for a shop, the cost of fixtures such as display cases, etc. You also have a larger potential clientele, with people from all over Europe able to buy from you as opposed to those in your town and the local area. If you can establish a money-making internet business, then you could perhaps expand into a local shop stocking figures and supplies later on.

If you have your heart set on a shop though, I would suggest carrying Hot Toys figures, as well as Soldier Story, DID, and DAM figures, all of whom are tops in the figure market.

David
 

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1:6 Acquisitionist
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Don't let enthusiasm and passion take heed over business common sense and realities.

Develop a business plan.

You definitely better plan out expenses (i.e. rent, utilities, advertising, etc.) for a minimum of 12 months.

You better have major capital (i.e. $) for your business.

Online presence.

Social media.

Advertising/marketing.

Research your potential and targeted customer base. Are you really able to make $ by offering the services you're planning? Does your area actually have a customer demographic that you'll be able to serve and make $?

I wish you luck and hopefully success.
 

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Some feedback:

- Consider the cost of a lease and what that means in terms of how many units you need to sell per month to cover the lease cost. You will likely find you need a wide variety of brands to just cover the lease cost given the irregular release schedule of most brands.
- Several of the larger US retailers have remarked in past interviews that without internet sales (in particular, overseas sales) their stores would be in a difficult position. Others have compromised by opening a retail area as part of their warehouse. Multiple retailers are actually the retail arm of distributors or brands, so they have additional revenue streams as well to offset retail. Most do not solely sell 1/6 as the product range is not necessarily enough to sustain a retail operation.
- Neither BBI not Hit Figure regularly produce 1/6 product.
- Manufacturers/brands do not really carry stock, figures are available for preorder then after that window they are no longer regularly available. This necessitates carrying a diverse amount of product if you hope to sustain a retail store.
- Consider how you will be obtaining product. Are you familiar with importing and the regulations, costs, etc associated?

I'm not sure how far along you are in planning, and what your finances look like, but I would echo the suggestion of starting with a web presence to start while looking to secure an affordable lease. Generally speaking, Hot Toys/Sideshow would attract the most retail customers, other brands are far more niche and have a narrower audience from a brick and mortar retail perspective. In Europe, I would consider 1/6 products as part of a broader hobby offering, as categories like models and diecast automotive have a broader customer base there. Of all the retailers I'm familiar with that have been around for years, they either have another more regularly selling category of products to sustain the 1/6 presence in their stores, have strong internet sales, or they solely operate online out of their homes to cut costs.
 

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Why so serious?
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Neben nem belastbaren Business-Plan bau auch und v.a. nen ordentlichen Web-Shop. Das wird schon ne Herausforderung! Viel Glück / viel Erfolg!
 

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Move it to Dallas Texas and I will help you with it.:D

On a serious note:
keep overhead low
do not rely on it as your reliable income
Internet sales are a must!
 

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What the others said - internet sales is the way to go.

Because, and this is damn important: 1/6 is a relatively small hobby. Unless you bulk out the merchandise in a brick and mortar shop with other stuff like RC or regular models, Games Workshop, books and what have you, you will never generate enough to break even or even make a profit. With an internet store, you can do everything from home.

According to Wikipedia, Hamm has a population of 180 000 people. I'd say you'd be lucky to find one or even two collectors of 1/6 there, and the chances that they will buy7 all their 1/6 related in your store is... Slim to none.
 

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Having been involved with a brick and mortar store I can tell you, unless you have another job...don't do it.
Very few can make it work.
All sell on line.
Most people buy from already established stores or on eBay.

1/6 may be your passion, but you are few and far between.

Yes it seems there are a lot of people on here but this is the internet, which covers the whole world. This hobby is really small ....

Like others have said, start small, selling from your home, this way you will learn how to import things, what your costs vs expensive s will be etc....

If you do go full store, let us know how it works for you...and one more thing and this is a biggy...KNOW YOUR PRODUCT...the fact you included BBI in your list of merchandise, shows you are not up to date on what is available....BBI has not made 1/6 for over 2 yrs now. Want to know what is out there, get the cotswold catalog...at least you will only be a few months out of date..not a few years.
 

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Another thing that's important to know: The competition is murderous. Few retailers specialize in 1/6, and those who do often produce their own stuff, like Project ARE and Dollsfigure. The rest (companies just selling 1/6) sell a lot of other things to make ends meet.
 

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A strong 1/6 "front end" enterprise can be backed up by a broader kind of store: comic book store, science fiction bookstore, art/collectibles store, toy store, general hobby kit /model store, flea market are some profiles that have been seen with a 1/6 side. Historically most of those started as the more general store and maybe beefed up their 1/6 side, but it can work the other way with the 1/6 being your main focus, and the broader store behind it to diversify revenue.

I would say, don't panic over the many cautionary warnings you're getting here -- they're justified and well-meant but it doesn't mean you should give up on the idea, just think it through very carefully before you put yourself at economic risk. AVOID RENT at least until you're established, so as most people are telling you, be online first and for a while. Otherwise especially when you're starting out, rent will bleed you.

Also you shouuld be aware if you aren't already that the mechanics of getting product in on a store scale are very different from just buying units as you probably do personally, and expecting to mark them up and have people pay you. Stores stand or fall sometimes depending on what kind of Credit Terms they can qualify for from their Suppliers, as well as obviously what kind of quantity/store discount you get over consumer pricing. The current market for premium 1/6 product is quite unusual in contemporary retail to the extent it's so heavily driven by pre-orders, but eg. getting people to trust you with Deposits (for products that could be delayed a year) is a challenge for a start-up. Getting Distributors to trust you is a challenge too -- eg Sideshow and Diamond have pretty strict requirements for whether you would even qualify for an account. Subbing under an existing "friendly" store that has an established relationship with Suppliers can be very helpful to a start-up if the opportunity exists.

Plan everything beforehand -- the time to realize your monthly numbers may not add up isn't when the Landlord is knocking on your door (if you've gone brick and mortar), or when the Suppliers' invoices are piling up. Good luck.
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sits in a loose parts box
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Diversify. I'd definetly look into other Model based Hobbies if you even want a chance at staying in business.
There is only one store in Aachen (Universal Cards / Leuchtturm) that carried 1:6 Figures in the Region here. They used to sell BBI Figures back in the day (I haven't been there in years). But they sold:
- 1:6 Figures
- Trading Cards (Magic the Gathering, Pokemon and the likes)
- McFarlane Figures and General Action Figures
- Warhammer/Games Workshop Stuff/Miniature Models
- 1:6/1:4 Scale Statues from Movies&Comics
They didn't sell any comics, since there was a comic book store just two streets away.
(in the Back was a seperate store that sold Stamps/Briefmarken)
Additionally I would look into Model Trains, Maerklin and the likes, it's still a Hobby that is going strong here in Germany, and will get you some foot traffic.
RC might be an option as well.
To me it seems that there is always one store of each type in a region (region, not in a city) that manages to stay afloat, while others disappear.
Berlin, Munich, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart and the likes might have more than one of each, like Berlin probably has a dozen Comic Book Stores, but in the smaller (sub...250,000 people) cities, I don't think a Brick and Mortar Store will survive long if you're just doing 1:6.

I'd be quite careful, Aachen is bigger than Hamm. Also if you do go into Trading Cards, be aware that you'd be infested with little (often annoying) kids who wanna talk your ear off rather than buy anything. I hated going there at certain times (1:30 - 2pm after school) when it was full of 10-14 year olds who wanted to buy Pokemon Cards.

As others have mentioned, I would start with a webshop. Though you'd be directly competing with Thomas from Einszusechs.de , no idea if he's still in business though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
looks like we have some business experts here ...

do not get me wrong ...... im happy about this.

you know .... Hamm is probably the stupidest city in Germany .....

things that work everywhere in Essen ... in Frankfurt .... in Dortmund ... Berlin ... dont work in Hamm .... thats the funny thing.

thing that dont work there work fine in Hamm....

see and be seen ..... thats all about.....

it does not matter if there are people for those interested in the figure as a hobby .....

it's about the stuff to sell .... away from the Actionman Bull§ "" (= most think anyway just to this garbage for action figures.

I try to make people understand that there are more than stuff from the shelf.

and where no 1 / 6ler there can thus still others arrive who knows.

here there are lots of people interested in it ..... I'm surprised .... I've been so dealing with people from Lünen Berg Kamen Dortmund Rynern Werne and some even from Hamm


In the city some shops are empty and the competent looking forward to bringing in the pedestrian zone via "adventurers" something new.

The locally on what I've looked at is at one place where about about 1,500 potential customers pass every day

even if only a litle split of them come over to see my shop i have a good chance to make a deal.

the great advantage of a store is the customer can view all touch it take it in the hand and then decide whether to buy it without a wait.

if I buy on ebay I do not know whether the stuff fits what a quality the material has and I have often almost 6 weeks to wait until I find it.


I am working on the business plan'm just about enough money for two years endure and negotiate with the landlord over concessions as regards the conversion ..... I hate the google translator ^^
 

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Have you ever managed a shop before? Have you worked in one? Experience is important.
What is the population of Hamm? The demographics? The average disposable income? What percent of those people collect 1/6? If you don't know, find out. It doesn't matter how many people walk by the store if they're not in the market for your product.
You are getting into something that most people who started when the hobby was more popular are getting out of. There are only 2 hobby shops left in my city of 2 million. 10 years ago there were 8. They sell everything: model kits, 1/6, a smattering of model railroad stuff, t-shirts, books, balsa wood and mini airplane motors, RC cars and helicopters, paint......

I hope you will take the advice of all the knowlegable people that have posted here. Start small with low overhead, ie with an online shop. Or perhaps start a 1/6 club if that's your passion.
 

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Have you ever managed a shop before? Have you worked in one? Experience is important.
What is the population of Hamm? The demographics? The average disposable income? What percent of those people collect 1/6? If you don't know, find out. It doesn't matter how many people walk by the store if they're not in the market for your product.
You are getting into something that most people who started when the hobby was more popular are getting out of. There are only 2 hobby shops left in my city of 2 million. 10 years ago there were 8. They sell everything: model kits, 1/6, a smattering of model railroad stuff, t-shirts, books, balsa wood and mini airplane motors, RC cars and helicopters, paint......

I hope you will take the advice of all the knowlegable people that have posted here. Start small with low overhead, ie with an online shop. Or perhaps start a 1/6 club if that's your passion.
Totally agree with everything said here by Spitfire except for the record, I feel compelled to say, for the benefit of any potential visitors to our 2 million people city of Toronto, that we have way more than 2 surviving hobby shops. We still have at least 8 actual old-school hobby/model shops, plus a hobby presence in game stores, and in local comic book / collectibles stores (lots of those), and we even have one brick-and-mortar store with online presence that is devoted to the premium 1/6 trade.

Civic/geek pride aside though, Spitfire is 100% correct in saying that "You are getting into something that most people who started when the hobby was more popular are getting out of." While I disagree on the specific low number of hobby shops in Toronto Spitfire is also 100% right in the basic point that in Toronto or elsewhere there are way fewer shops than there used to be. So, much caution in opening such a shop is warranted.
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Have you ever managed a shop before? Have you worked in one? Experience is important.
What is the population of Hamm? The demographics? The average disposable income? What percent of those people collect 1/6? If you don't know, find out. It doesn't matter how many people walk by the store if they're not in the market for your product.
You are getting into something that most people who started when the hobby was more popular are getting out of. There are only 2 hobby shops left in my city of 2 million. 10 years ago there were 8. They sell everything: model kits, 1/6, a smattering of model railroad stuff, t-shirts, books, balsa wood and mini airplane motors, RC cars and helicopters, paint......

I hope you will take the advice of all the knowlegable people that have posted here. Start small with low overhead, ie with an online shop. Or perhaps start a 1/6 club if that's your passion.


jes i work since 8 years in a shop......

you talk about a murderous business ???? :loony

I can tell you from personal experience about a perverse business .....

I am a trained bicycle mechanic I run the workshop and represent the chef when he is on vacation

with all the trimmings ...

the wheels are only available for 6 weeks .....

. then being built for next year

So if you have to order you have only a small time window.

30x price increases per year for the manufacturers ... if you're lucky .. :urp

I've worked for people who were too stupid to tie his shoes :dunce:dunce:dunce

could not properly deal with their customer

but since 20 years carry a huge shop successfully.

and cycles are correct cost not so small things like figure ....

1200 wheels 500 square meters of exhibition space (without workshop which is also huge)



a small 80 square meters shop I will probably lead or not ?? :dunce

the costs that are waiting for me for pocket money
. compared to the hum I needed to manage for my former boss. :broke

this is no stress this is as vacation .....

no 48 bikes that need to be completed in 8 hours each day :knock

no work on parts that your customer could bring in the wheelchair if they do not work.:bag

and no other thing that pis...... me off over the jears.
 

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I would be very happy to have a store close to me, but i don´t think this will work. 1:6 is a niches market, it maybe work if you have a big toy, RC, comic or modellshop and you try to sell some 1:6 stuff too.
but unfortunately the internet killed this business too. i am from mainz and a couple of years ago there was a small comicstore in the suburb of mainz, they sell comic books, tapletop figures, pokemon etc and there was a corner with about 40 cheap BBI/elite force figure for prices between 25-40 euros. i was really happy to find a store but 1 or 2 month later the store was closed.
we also hade a lot of modellshops or toy stores selling model kits, model railway etc back in the 90s and early 2000s, but all closed now, even the biggest toy store in town closed some of the seeling floors.

the competition with the internetshops, ebay etc is very hard for a traditional shop.

so if you have a room, and you don´t have to spent money for the rent, you can try it just for fun, but if you wan´t to make money...........keep your hands off!
 
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