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"Day of the Small Manufacturers?" Topic


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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian25 Mar 2020 7:25 p.m. PST

It seems that the nature of the current Covid-19 crisis is that the various lock-downs and 'stay at home' orders affect the big companies more than the little companies.

Companies large enough to have office staff and warehousing are often the companies forced to temporarily cease operations.

The smaller companies, on the other hand, seem to be able to keep operating 'on site', as long as they have supplies and access to the postal service. (Though packages may be delayed due to the lack of flights.)

The big companies often seem to dominate the hobby, with their major releases and publicity efforts and large fan base. When they are forced "off stage," it gives an opportunity to let the 'little guys' stand out, to get noticed more, to have their day in the sun.

Stryderg25 Mar 2020 7:40 p.m. PST

While I agree that the small companies should still be able to operate, I think they'll have a tough time getting the word out. I've been having a tougher time finding stuff online because:
- a lot of stuff has moved to Facebook or other social media, which I don't do.
- search engines make money by putting sales sites first, so the oddball stuff I look for is buried on page 13.
- there are fewer sites like this that are vendor agnostic (unlike a Battletech forum where only discussions about Battletech are allowed, for instance). So, thanks Bill!

Sho Boki Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Mar 2020 10:00 p.m. PST

Postal services are critical for small producers.
4 days delivery periods between European countries are history.
Delivery times may be calculated with months now.

Personal logo Lluis of Minairons Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Mar 2020 2:06 a.m. PST

Large companies can go into hibernation, we small companies do not have that chance. It's life or death.

Fitzovich26 Mar 2020 3:59 a.m. PST

It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. At this point I am on the sidelines in regard to hobby buys. Likely there are some good deals to be had but the cold calculation of the Vitus means I may be in the group that doesn't survive. Seems silly to buy a bunch of stuff that I may never get to use.

dwight shrute26 Mar 2020 5:57 a.m. PST

thats until their supplies of resin and metal run out as the suppliers have pretty much all closed . International post also seems to have shutdown across many borders

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Mar 2020 7:29 a.m. PST

I am a retailer not a manufacturer, so I am still operating over at ScaleCreep.com So I don't have the immediate issue of having to close – I can safely operate and risk no one's health.

However, sales are dropping, and dropping fast. Luckily my lease ends in July but if this is what the next few months look like, I too will be in trouble. Primarily becasue I will not have the cash to add new items as they are released, and because back orders will take even longer as it takes longer to hit order minimums.

I will come through doubtless, but my business may look very different in 6 month!

Huscarle26 Mar 2020 8:37 a.m. PST

I'm having to stop buying anything, until I find out my job situation which will either be redundancy, unpaid leave, or reduced hours (& reduced pay). Miniatures come a long way down on the list of essentials…

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Mar 2020 10:10 a.m. PST

It's an interesting premise that, for The Duration at least, it may be true that the meek shall inherit the earth.

TVAG is about as "meek" as the small independents go, but we have the blessing of being dependent only on our customers. We are in the unusual situation of producing all of our own product with no other providers involved. We write our own rules and most books, are the sole providers of flags, OB's, and other products from artisans who work with us exclusively. We DO sometimes rely on a professional printer and/or Amazon for our published rules/books, but (so far) these are continuing services, and we have deep stocks on hand while all of our titles are available as PDF's, too.

We "inherited" our own casting suite, and a mountain of white metal is on site. Our sculptor is also our Casting and 3D Printing Master. He is in a state just barely contiguous with TVAG's home which keeps us both relatively isolated, but Skype and E-mail effectively put us in the same room.

The preceeding is not meant as bragging, just a description of our situation, and it does seem an advantageous one.

But TVAG's problem yet to be solved--and proof of some degree of Moronism In Management--is self promotion/advertising. That's something this Old Duffer has no talent or budget for. We rely on word of mouth, but ultimately all companies do. No amount of high paid ads will sell products no one wants or likes, at least certainly not for long.

Still, making our brand synonomous with "unique" has yet to occur, I fear.

So, while I suspect--certainly hope--that the current flap will pass away rather sooner than some predict, we don't expect our business negatively to be affected by the order to Stand In Place. However, as household incomes will fall for many for an uncertain time, even the small independents like us may see sales evaporate simply from lack of disposable income.

Nothing sucks like living in "Interesting Times"--an appropriately Chinese contribution itself.

TVAG

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2020 10:40 a.m. PST

I take the position that there are only two majors--GW and Battlefront--and they're borderline on being a separate hobby anyway, providing official tournament games to the kids who enjoy that sort of thing. (I'll grant you Perry, Victrix and Warlord test the theory somewhat.)

Real miniature wargamers do custom work--an army from one place (or several) terrain from somewhere else and rules quite likely to be heavily modified or invented. That means we have choices, and a long lock-down may causes us to make different ones. I suspect the commercial and social worlds this coming fall or winter will be different in a number of respects from the pre-coronavirus ones.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Mar 2020 11:07 a.m. PST

I'd add a bunch of the fantasy guys to "Major" such as Reaper, Privateer Press. Old Glory 25s might count as I know they actually have employees.

If the lockdown goes longer, it will certainly kill off a lot of retail – restaurants, salons, and of concern to us, game stores.

Will Dice Dojo and Elysium here make it? Do they have teh cash reserves to pay the rent for a month or two with no sales?

wargamingUSA26 Mar 2020 11:27 a.m. PST

Seems to reason that mid to larger sized companies like Old Glory and Badger Games are getting hit hard since they can't congregate with their staff or with customers.

Smaller operations like Extra Crispy's and Battle Valor Games may be in precarioous positions based on individual circumstances. I just sent an email order to Rob at Eureka USA. I'm hopeful it will arrive shortly as is the norm. If it doesn't, won't really know what to think.

A prolific retailer like Games Plus in Mt. Prospect, Illinois must really be taking it on the chin.

Wonder what the large boardgame companies are feeling?

RudyNelson26 Mar 2020 12:01 p.m. PST

As a store, my sales are nil at the store and no convention shows either. While my book sales are down at my Amazon account. However I do have money coming in due to what Amazon sales I do have. I may put some new games and miniatures and terrain on the site soon.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Mar 2020 12:35 p.m. PST

PDF sales and Triumph! are keeping me afloat these days…

Here Be Jewels26 Mar 2020 4:04 p.m. PST

I'm going to have to wait until the dust settles, regardless of who the surviving players are… The AUD is currently lower against everyone else than I can ever remember seeing. Possibly the only time in a long while the goods would actually cost me more than the postage.

Best wishes and good luck to everyone!

Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2020 12:13 p.m. PST

Just got awesome fast service from Rebel Miniatures. Quick turn around from order to in my hands.

Dan

RudyNelson27 Mar 2020 12:47 p.m. PST

This week I have shipped 45 books.so people are still buying historical books.

wargamingUSA28 Mar 2020 3:29 p.m. PST

WOW.. ordered from Rob at Eureka USA on the 25th and the parcel arrived in today's mail… fast as ussual. Score one for the small sellers!

Personal logo Frank Wang Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Mar 2020 2:42 a.m. PST

I don't think the outbreak will affect the business landscape. Although big companies will suffer more, as long as they do not fail, their markets will not be lost. Small companies still don't have a chance.

Arcane Steve30 Mar 2020 5:13 a.m. PST

Like others above, I am primarily a retailer rather than a manufacturer (although we do own DeeZee miniatures). As of today, we are operating 'as normal' in that we are at work and posting and packing the weekends orders. The post is being collected daily and we have a reasonable amount of stock to service future orders. As most of our stock is live – what you see on the web site is in stock and ready to ship, customers can be confident that what they see is what they can get. We currently send out post free to most worldwide locations. All of that may change depending on the Governments course of action and of course we are reliant on suppliers and the post office to continue.
It's certainly tough and strange times but we intend to battle it out for as long as we can and expect to be here when the dust does settle. You can read a bit more in my blog here:

link

And if you would like to order, click here:

link

Stay safe everyone!

Regards, Steve

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