Wanting to become successful at toy shows

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by matrixprime, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. matrixprime

    matrixprime AJ's Toy Chest Owner

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    I went to Botcon 2010 with the intention of selling off a good chunk of my collection, which I did, and made a very nice profit. I took some of that money and paid bills and also invested in toys here and there for sale like RTS Grappel and Lugnut. Come last weekend I went to Slagacon and didn't do very well. Mostly I think because I didn't have what people were looking for. In my opinion it seemed like at both shows it was the latest toys from Japan, i.e. Masterpiece, Alternity, etc.

    I'm probably correct in thinking branching out into wholesaler Takara Tomy toys is beyond my scope given the BBTS, TFsources, and Captured Prey's of the internet world.

    I'm looking for any advise on how I can create a nice side business that is profitable from something I love.

    Thanks!
     
  2. seali_me

    seali_me Well-Known Member

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    do you have any third party products?

    if you're sticking with hasbro, most of the time i think its just the right timing and luck. i would have made a killing with most of the RTS toys that barely reached the US. windchargers and wreck-gars, grapples (before it hit the TJmax or some other store) were plenty in my area. they both went on sale too.

    price is what can kill a scalper. i've seen scalpers who have been holding on to their stock for years and does not want to lower the price at all. i would have bought a lot from him but his prices was too greedy. there are nicer scalpers out there who would give me better pricing.

    also, i remember starting a thread here to predict which retail toys would be the most profitable for scalpers. the ones that would have skewed distributions or low quantities and are very popular characters. also check the wanted items. i hope that helps.
     
  3. matrixprime

    matrixprime AJ's Toy Chest Owner

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    I'm not so sure it's price as it it product. When you're at a show and competing against "store" chains and all you have is Hasbro product the crowd will shift to them because they have what's new and also what is not readily available in the states. I know at Botcon I would see people hit up TFsource before anything else to get Masterpiece toys or even FP Defender.
     
  4. Ikkstakk

    Ikkstakk Well-Known Member

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    I'm in much the same boat. Slagacon was the first time I had ever gotten a table to sell stuff. My collection is too big right now, I'm trying to refocus and narrow my interests. I had a good time as a seller, made a small profit, and hope to do it again. Right now I'm seriously considering getting a table at the local comic book convention next year.

    As for advice... well, this is what I think:

    Importing Takara product is a good way to be a popular draw at a show, but I'd imagine you really have to go whole hog into it, meaning you have to sink in a lot of money out of your own pocket. It's not something I'm personally considering at this point. I don't have a lot of funds, and anyone who's been doing it longer than you is going to have the edge.

    Pay close attention to distribution patterns. Right now we can almost assume that the last waves of any toyline are going to be sparsely ordered by retailers, therefore hard to find, therefore potentially lucrative investments. I ordered a case of Generations Wave 8 back in... March, I think, believing that it would never show up at retail. Live and learn, there. But my approach was sound: had I ordered the last RTS wave, I'd have done better, I think.

    Investing in rare store exclusives, especially when they're popular characters and/or redecoes, will often work out. I was encouraged at Slagacon when I saw that I was the only one who had the Costco exclusive Battle Ops Bumblebee (as far as I could tell, anyway), and sure enough I sold one right off the bat. It also helped that distribution of that piece was particularly spotty.

    The market is strong for good-condition G1 toys, especially the larger ones. Haunt yard sales and flea markets, and talk to people who had kids in the 80s or were kids in the 80s but are not currently in the fandom. Some of them may be sitting on these figures in their attics or basements with no idea of the demand for them. It seems like once a week someone here posts about finding an incredible deal at a yard sale.

    These are just my own musings and opinions, I could be wrong about all of it. But as someone who's thinking seriously about becoming a regular seller at conventions, these are things that I think make sense.
     
  5. seali_me

    seali_me Well-Known Member

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    35 bucks for a TFA arcee? i've seen this one particular scalper in my area trying to sell it at that price. 20-25$ would at least be reasonable. especially, after seeing other provinces in canada get them at half price.

    i agree with store exclusives especially when they go on sale. i remember seeing MP skywarps for like 20$ cad when it was originally 70$ cad and don't forget MP grimlock. it doesn't move around quick in stores as most would think. this is what i meant about not being too greedy on pricing. if you want your stock to at least move, selling it at retail won't help you when everyone knows that they did go on sale. i've seen scalpers in my area sell tons of these at 35-40$ MISB. it sold within days. yeah my area is pretty much gold for skewed distributions but not for store exclusives which are english only. the 5$ rebate coupon in the US would help you as well. also stay away from the movie lines, if another comes out.
     
  6. matrixprime

    matrixprime AJ's Toy Chest Owner

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    HLJ required a minimum 780 dollar order but the percent off of masterpiece convoy and Tori us was only 25 dollars per each unit. By time you figure in shipping at most it seems like your net profit was 15 to 20 dollars. Im not saying I want to overhaul my entire product but having some masterpiece figures, Botcon box sets, store exclusives and hard to find regular market toys would greatly help to draw interest to my booth. I think anyway.
     
  7. seali_me

    seali_me Well-Known Member

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    the biggest draw for me as a customer is not as much the product but how much rebate you can give me if i buy tons of stuff. like sellers at conventions, i also had to pay a fee to get in. that cuts into my spending.

    i'd pay attention to a new trend in TFs as well. army building. there should be another one in the classics line where people would love to own multiples of it. i would assume maybe at least 3-5 per fan.

    how's local distribution in your area btw?
     
  8. matrixprime

    matrixprime AJ's Toy Chest Owner

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    Right now over stocked on movie figured and generations. I took the time and hunted down the RTS voyagers at TJ Maxx but other than that nothing exciting and nothing that I would feel I could buy and turn around and sell without breaking even or losing money.
     
  9. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    You realize this is basically the same as running a business, right? The important things are things like knowing your market through research and study, to build connections such that you can acquire stock in sufficient quantities to meet demand and at sufficient prices that you can actually turn a profit while selling at a price people are willing to pay, and to realize that not all customers will want the same things (especially not the same things as you).

    If you're buying your stock from walmart or another retailer and trying to turn a profit on those, you are already boned. Also, keep in mind that at a toy show (and online) there's significant competition and you will need to find a way to distinguish yourself.
     
  10. seali_me

    seali_me Well-Known Member

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    there's always one guy i go to at conventions. he owns a physical store, scalps the stores and sells online.
     
  11. matrixprime

    matrixprime AJ's Toy Chest Owner

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    Well seeing as how a wholesaler account requires a $25,000 yearly purchase I guess you're right. I might as well forget it and just sell here what I have and be done with it.
     
  12. megatroptimus

    megatroptimus Translatorminator

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    I don't think Quebec ever had Skywarps for $20. And we never got Grimlock.

    Your scalper, is it grimlock09? :) 

    Animated Arcee is definitely worth more than $20-25. It might have been on sale for a short time in other provinces, but the quantities were still limited. That toy is still hard to come by. Look at Energon Omega Sentinel or ROTF Leader Shadow Command Megatron. Both could be purchased for cheap but now they're worth $$$. Original price tag has nothing to do with actual value. IMO.
     
  13. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    What you COULD do is order a case at a time for yourself or import cases of stuff to save on shipping, and then sell the extras, but you would have to resign yourself to having stuff left over or selling at a loss in a lot of cases.
     
  14. seali_me

    seali_me Well-Known Member

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    440 WM. About 20 skywarps. That WM was new. I kept it a secret but someone got there before I
    did. Lol! there 's a post in sightings thread about it.
     

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