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Subject: Are we crazy?? rss

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Nick Fisk
United Kingdom
Stoke on Trent
Staffordshire
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Come on you Seagulls! Sami Hyppia's Blue & White army!
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That's weird. This bit used to mention Shire Games, and tell you all how wonderful we are. But it seems to have got deleted. Let's see what happens this time ....
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Forgive me if this journal entry is a bit rambling …. But it’s a little bit like me ‘thinking out loud’.

We’re currently in the process of setting up our own board game shop in the UK. It’ll be based in Hanley, Stoke on Trent – pretty much in the centre of England – and we’re going to call it Shire Games. Obviously, we’ll also be trading by mail order on the web.

The reason for this journal is … Am I doing the right thing ??!?

I firmly believe people should do what they enjoy for a living, and work in a field that they are knowledgeable in. I used to enjoy what I do (working for someone else!), but not so much anymore … whereas, board games are my hobby and a hobby that I love. Therefore, I can’t think of anything more rewarding than trying to make a living out of it!

The idea behind the shop is not to poach customers from existing shops, but more to try and introduce more and more people to our fascinating hobby.

It seems to me that the market is there, and that board games are finally making a comeback over the less sociable computer & video games.

I guess the reason for writing these thoughts down as a journal entry is to see if anyone says either ‘you’re mad – forget it!’ or ‘great idea – go for it!’.

At the moment, we are negotiating the rent on an empty shop we’ve found, and I’ll be starting serious work on the website, etc once I’ve finished working my notice.

If you want to check out where we’re at so far, I’ll be keeping the website updated as often as I can.

Any comments will be gratefully received!!

Thanks for reading

Nick
 
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Sven
Germany
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We will move from victims to survivors and conquer as we go.
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I can understand your doubts. I am a booktrader and would really love to open a Book/Games-Shop one day. Propably I would earn more money, if I invested it in real estate...but it´s such a nice thought.
If you made your homework and believe, that the market is there in the UK, go ahead! But don´t go in head over heels. I have seen shops go belly up really, really fast.

Another thought: Shire Games...are you sure you won´t get a visit from the Tolkien-Society? I don´t really know, but I heard, that they are quite strict regarding Tolkiens properties.
 
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Nick Fisk
United Kingdom
Stoke on Trent
Staffordshire
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Come on you Seagulls! Sami Hyppia's Blue & White army!
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That's weird. This bit used to mention Shire Games, and tell you all how wonderful we are. But it seems to have got deleted. Let's see what happens this time ....
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Shires
Sven,

Thanks for the reply. The shop is in Staffordshire, which is where the 'shire' comes from. Seeing as most counties in the UK end in 'shire', I don't believe it's something the Tolkein estate could grumble about !!

Now I've got something ewlse to worry about ...!!
 
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Rich Hart
England
Cheltenham
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Go For it!
I say go for it, I think I'd love to work in a games store (there isnt one for miles where I live) and actually running one would be fairly ace.

Obv do your research for it and play it smart, I belive there was a journal a while back where someone was doing this and he was given a raft of rather good advice!

Best of luck to you!
 
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Sven
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Quote:
The shop is in Staffordshire, which is where the 'shire' comes from. Seeing as most counties in the UK end in 'shire', I don't believe it's something the Tolkein estate could grumble about !!


Of course you are right...but on the other hand the combination of "games" and "Shire" has a connection to Tolkien, hasn´t it? I am not a lawyer, but the customer will propably not relate "Shire" to YorkSHIRE or StaffordSHIRE but more to THE SHIRE. Just think there might be a problem.
Isn´t it scary how careful one has to be these days about Copyrigts, Trademarks and all this stuff? cry
 
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Needle
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Nick,

The language you use worrys me. For example
Quote:
It seems to me that the market is there, and that board games are finally making a comeback over the less sociable computer & video games.


Have you put a business plan together, including market analysis, balance sheet and P&L, sourced suppliers, etc. This may seem like I'm pooing on your dream but I'd hate to see you lose capital and end up playing public domain games with a deck of cards and buttons. If the numbers stack up-go for it. If they don't and you have a regular job that will keep you in food and support the business well then go for it.
 
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Carl Birch
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Quote:
Quote:
The shop is in Staffordshire, which is where the 'shire' comes from. Seeing as most counties in the UK end in 'shire', I don't believe it's something the Tolkein estate could grumble about !!


Of course you are right...but on the other hand the combination of "games" and "Shire" has a connection to Tolkien, hasn´t it? I am not a lawyer, but the customer will propably not relate "Shire" to YorkSHIRE or StaffordSHIRE but more to THE SHIRE. Just think there might be a problem.
Isn´t it scary how careful one has to be these days about Copyrigts, Trademarks and all this stuff? cry


Sven ... most people in England (and possibly the rest of Britain) will relate "Shire" to the county not to Tolkein. The old Shire/County system is something quite a few of us are very nostalgic about. Anyway, I don't think that the Tolkein Society or whoever can lay copyright claim to the word "Shire".

Anyway Nick ... go for it and the very best of luck mate!!
 
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Torben Moller
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It will be a "go ahead - make my day" from me!!


I'm a little bit worried about the fact that you haven't made any analyses on market, sale etc.

But you'll have my wishes for the best of luck for your courage.

You just tell us when and where we can place our orders!!!
- I would like one copy of "Doom - the boardgame" and "Sid Meiers Pirates - the boardgame" (when it arrives)

Best regards
Torben
 
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Ludes
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very good point ...
Quote:
Nick,

The language you use worrys me. For example
Quote:
It seems to me that the market is there, and that board games are finally making a comeback over the less sociable computer & video games.


Have you put a business plan together, including market analysis, balance sheet and P&L, sourced suppliers, etc. This may seem like I'm pooing on your dream but I'd hate to see you lose capital and end up playing public domain games with a deck of cards and buttons. If the numbers stack up-go for it. If they don't and you have a regular job that will keep you in food and support the business well then go for it.


Neil, couldn't agree more with everything you said, because I've been there and done that (not with a game store though). As good as the "front end" of the store is, if someone's not on top of the books and the cash flow and such ("the back end"), it may all be for naught.

Nick, you mention both "I" and "we" in your entry. For your sake, I hope it's the latter, but a competent and un-biased "we". Going solo in a business venture, especially retail, makes for 70-80 hour (and sometimes more) work-weeks and, more importantly, you lose sight of the big picture because your nose is always on the grindstone.

But I'd do it again, despite the first few months when there were not only days with no sales, but days when nobody even walked in the store.

I'd say go for it ... as long as you've got a good handle on what you're taking on ... if you can do it well and it's fulfilling to you ... and, most importantly, if you've got sufficient capital to survive the first one to three years of losing money.

I could give you tons of other advice, anecdotes and euphemisms, but check out Paul Hawken's ((??)) "Growing a Business" ((??)).

Very Best of Luck and I'll look forward to hearing more about your adventures.

 
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David Brown
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You have a dream that I feel many in the hobby share but..and I don't want to piss on your fire do the numbers really add up? The hobby is fairy small and the competition for the few appears to be well catered for. Most of the games I buy are via the net.

I know you are expecting to grow the hobby...well good luck. But how much profit does a game generate and how many games will you need to sell just to break even? I fair few I'd guess.

If you do take the plunge I wish you luck and I hope you can grow the hobby

 
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David Etherton
Scotland
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Brilliant!
My wife is totally into scrapbooking / stamping / etc and has zero interest in boardgames. Open a dual-interest "geek" shop like that and you'd be raking it in hand-over-fist...

"Honey can I get TI:3?"

"Sure, as long as I can get $80 worth of stuff I want over on this side of the shop!"



-Dave
 
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Ludes
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Quote:
how many games will you need to sell just to break even? A fair few I'd guess.


I'd venture a guess of 3000/yr. on the low end, average retail of $40.00, and depends on overhead, virtually zero advertising.
 
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CHAPEL
United States
Round Rock
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My Ex is from Stoke on Trent, so yes you are most definitely crazy by proxy!

You Sagger Makers Bottom Knocker. Just kidding! On second thought no I'm not,Crazy Stokies!

 
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Nick Fisk
United Kingdom
Stoke on Trent
Staffordshire
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Come on you Seagulls! Sami Hyppia's Blue & White army!
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That's weird. This bit used to mention Shire Games, and tell you all how wonderful we are. But it seems to have got deleted. Let's see what happens this time ....
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Not far off ...
Quote:
Quote:
how many games will you need to sell just to break even? A fair few I'd guess.


I'd venture a guess of 3000/yr. on the low end, average retail of $40.00, and depends on overhead, virtually zero advertising.


According to the business plan that we've worked so far, about 2,500 per year.

The shop we are looking at has pretty low overheads, so that figure also includes a salary for me. Nowhere near the salary that I'm on at the moment (!), but enough to survive while we spend the first year(s) getting the shop on its feet.

We don't expect the venture to make us rich - not in monetary terms anyway - and we're realistic to know that the first year will have it's depressingly quiet days, but the plan is - at the end of that first year - that we can see the shop is now popular enough to keep itself running.

I know I kep mixing the I's and We's, and it is both my fiancée and I that are doing this - but Sue is keeping her job and helping out where possible .... othrwise we would be taking a HUGE risk !!

We haven't decided whether Meeple the Cat is coming to help in the shop or not yet ....

Thanks for all the messages of support/advice and the interest.

This really is a hobby that is filled with genuinely friendly & helpful folk!

N.
 
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Gerald McDaniel
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Ask DW Tripp about his vast experience in this area. The more information you have, the better the decision you will make.
 
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Sir Cumference
United States
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California
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web sales
The great thing about selling over the web is the overhead is so low. It's possible the brick and mortar shop may not do much, depending on your location, but if you can provide top notch service over the web to a larger area, you might not need the store. This could be a contingency if you don't do well with the shop, keep your inventory and continue over the web.
 
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David Brown
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Maybe you could consider trying to start a games club at your local school.

This would help grow the hobby and market your shop.

Many schools love volunteers to do after school clubs and if you could link in the educational value of games you may not have trouble selling the idea (I have a v.good article on this if you want it)

As I thought, you could run the club after school for about an hour or so - obviously choose a day when the shop is very quiet.

The only problem you may face is the funding for the games - but some schools have buckets loads of money (I have experience of this)that you may need to tap into. But if you offer the school your time/support and stress the educational value of these games (trawl the net for evidence)you may get a bit of their funding -

It's just a thought - BTW you would need to get a Criminal Record check done before they would let you loose with the kids - this can take 12 weeks
 
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