March 26, 2010
March 22, 2010
A screen shot from the 1983 Star Wars arcade game, a space simulator in which you are seated behind the steering controls of an X-Wing Fighter. It's amazing that this is all that was required to take a seven year old's brain to untold planes of existence.
The Secret of NIMH
Some signature trademarks of Bluth's work are his snaggle-toothed cross-eyed toddler creatures ...
...and his blindingly electric lighting effects.
Back to 1983: The youth of that era were well-submerged in all kinds of jerky and blocky video game fantasies, when out of nowhere Bluth follows up NIMH with an epic animated odyssey arcade game called Dragon's Lair. The heads of many an arcade rat exploded that day.
NSS newbie here... Do you have any advice that you would like to share? (small company, new to wholesale)
I think the biggest mistakes made by newbies at NSS is to not have enough product to look at, and to have a booth that doesn't look like much effort or creativity was put into it. It is a sad thing indeed to see someone with their 10 cards and a folding table with a computer printed banner-- nobody is going to visit that booth. You want enough stuff that will keep an interested customer in there for more than five minutes.
Here are a couple of other things I've learned myself:
1) Have several sample decks on hand so that more than one person can look through your stuff at a time (we have 3 decks plus wall samples)
2) Ask for a business card from anyone who shows interest, write on the back of the card any extra details you want to remember and follow up with them at a show.
3) have a give-away of some kind so that they will remember you better. having your booth number with your information may mean a return visit.
4) Do not get disheartened if you don't break even your first time at a show, it will be a bit depressing, but you should take into account that this is a long term investment, it is about maintaining visibility and eventually the money will be there. Some things to take into account:
a) Some people wait to order after the show, sometimes waiting as long as 6 months to a year.
b) if you pick up sales reps, if you are interviewed by the media, then that means dollars down the road.
c) orders you fill are just first time orders and are likely to repeat from the same customers several times a year.
If you have the opportunity to go to these shows as a visitor first I highly recommend it, it is a huge investment and researching your gameplan as much as possible beforehand is going to help make your first show run smoothly.
OK! Wholesale manufacturing - when did you start doing it, what sort of scale are you cranking out these days, and do you only handle your own work, or others', too? And, yes, sorry...I know that was 3 questions and not one!
1) We started wholesale manufacturing in the summer of 2005, we needed products to sell for a street fair -- they did so well we decided to send samples to stores all over the U.S. and immediately picked up a rep group in Southern California, which created a snowball effect. The rest is history.
2)Most styles start out with a run between 300-800 on its first try-- 300 is a safe number for designs that we're not 100% sure will sell well (i.e. we find them amusing but we're not sure if they'd sell as a greeting card.) It allows us enough for samples for our reps and show plus at least a few months supply for orders if the card should do well. If I am certain a card will sell well we go ahead and bump that number between the 500-800 range. If the card is a 2 or 3 color card I try and keep the runs in the higher range as well- they require more intensive setup and I want to make sure that my labor costs are well spent.
As for reprints, we do much larger runs. If a card sells out within a few months we'll bump the reprints up between 800-1200 cards. If it doesn't sell out within a year then we usually discontinue it. We're trying a new formula for reprint runs for our older cards-- I look at Quickbooks to see how many cards were sold in the last 2 years, and then bump up that number by about 25%-- two years worth of stock is right where I like it-- we have so many styles that I'm trying to avoid getting crippled by reprints when a big show goes down- after our first gift show we were in reprint mode for nearly 3 months as style after style ran out--you'd think we'd be excited about that but it got old and expensive rather quickly.
Our largest client, Paper Source, skews the numbers quite a bit-- stuff we do for them we reprint between 2000 and 3000 per style.
3. We haven't printed other people's cards lines but that's only because we haven't been asked to.
March 20, 2010
March 9, 2010
I purchased this banana leaf at the Asian Market. When I unrolled the leaves they were more than seven feet long!
Last night I made the Achiote Paste and used it to marinate 5lbs of organic Boston Butt overnight but ended up eating 1lb of it fried straight in the pan pretty much immediately.
I've transcribed the recipe though, so you don't have to try and keep up with the guy.
Grind these ingredients to a fine powder:
5 Tbl Whole Annato Seeds
2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Tbl Peppercorns
8 allspice balls
1/2 tsp cloves
Put ground up spices in blender with:
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
8 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 Habanero Peppers (chopped and deveined/deseeded)
2 tbl salt
5 squeezed lemons
splash of nice tequila
Liquify, pour in ziploc bag with 5 lbs pork butt (chopped into 2" squares.) Marinate overnight.
Oven at 325 degrees, cook pork wrapped in banana leaves and covered in foil for 4 hours. (It actually was ready in 3 hrs so I pulled it early. Pork will be ready when the meat is roughly 180 degrees.)
Serve over rice, etc (I sauteed pineapples and served with avacados as well.) Use left over Tequila for Margaritas!
March 4, 2010
This one didn't take much thought but we'll have some way more intelligent and disrespectful shit we did with Albrecht Dürer etchings momentarily.
Usually we wait until a month before a show before we start gearing up with new products, but its pouring out right now and we've got spare time to attack. NSS is not until mid May, and we're freshly recovered from the winter NYIGF. I think probably what set this off was a really inspiring talk with Delphine about how to make more money. We're about to be making a whole array of new products that we haven't offered before, but I won't reveal what kind of products those are just yet.
The irony of my mad-two-week-long-brainstorm-session-for-new-products-besides-greeting-cards-to-make-more-money-binge is that the 20 some cards we're about to print for the next 2 or 3 weeks are just our regular fare of greeting cards, though I have been focusing a bit more on Birthdays, Love, and Special Occasions.
Lots of 3 color cards coming up, which is something we've steered away since we started, but personally I'm getting bored with being locked into 1 and the occassional 2 color work. Maybe its because we got the V50, whose restoration has been put on hold since before winter NYIGF. When she's operational we can probably suffer a large 3 color reprint run, though some of these cards I'm only doing for fun and probably won't see reprint status.
My friend Erik said this to me at a party. He was pretty lit up.
I posted almost all of the designs here, though several of those images are early drafts. Dropping a load on paper, we have alot of work ahead of us. And then yesterday the complete etchings and engravings of Albrecht Dürer arrived, I got it off Amazon for $5. Also a book of engravings by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, which feature gorgeous depictions of every significant event in the Old and New Testament, $3. Both of which I will send directly to Tyler Dockery for captioning. We're about to unload some unholy shit.
I've been wanting to do this card for years, but this image is perfect, and I'm glad I waited. I love the Jesus's scowling face. Lots of gems like this from von Carolsfeld.
March 2, 2010
It's been 4 months since I've turned in or even looked at material for the book, original publish date was slated for March, but since I've signed on, Mark Batty Publisher has taken on Random House as its distributor, which has drastically changed their workload (and significally upped their press runs.) This is great news for the book as it will have much more exposure than was previously possible, but this change has pushed the book's release to late spring/early summer.
No firm dates have been divulged-- they haven't worked with any of the material I've turned in yet but as I understand it they will begin working on the book by mid-March. Farrell, who moonlights at Barnes & Nobles, saw the title listed for release in June, which is the most concrete piece of info I have so far, but is not to be relied on.
I'll post more news as things develop.