Over the last couple years I have started having a presence at regional conventions. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and despite the fact that I am somewhat introverted, I absolutely love being at cons. The 2021 downtime have given me the opportunity to streamline how I want things to run. The big subjects I have been focusing on are customs, cons, retails stores, and developing new products.
The largest overall factor is inventory, which is what I am focusing on now. With Origins Game Fair on the horizon I basically have to make boxes nonstop from now until September to feel comfortable having enough to not run out. While it is a good problem to have, I have no idea how much is enough since this will be our first large convention (not to mention the pandemic makes attendance levels an unknown right now). As a result of my own anxiety I will be limiting custom orders to a few slots a month.
As far as customs go, I love doing them, and I spend more time making sure they meet expectations. While that is in no way a bad thing, it does take me away from focusing on overall inventory. The one thing I have been putting off this whole time is adding a few bucks to spend the time making a custom box. I want to make sure that customs are still within a reasonable price, so I feel like $10 is a modest enough charge.
Speaking of cost, there has been an increase in wood prices in many parts of the country. Somehow we were insulated from it for the most part here in the mid west, but walnut has gone up (which is a pain since it was already more expensive than most domestic woods). I am considering a small charge for walnut on customs, but we’ll see. Really it just means there will be fewer of them in stock in the long run and more cherry, ash, maple, and likely a return of coffee wood (which looks like ash and oak for the most part, but will have the caffeine graphic by default).
The last two items on my list (not last in priority) retail stores, and new products. You can find DW boxes and towers in two stores locally, and I plan on adding a few more this year. Likely the big retail store push will be for the next holiday season. As for new stuff, I have to put it on the back burner somewhat so I can focus on inventory levels. Once things get to a comfortable level of operation I will start working on the new ideas I have rolling around in my head.
That’s where I am at right now. Feel free to comment with insight, or suggestions. Also, don’t forget to get on the custom order list if you want something made, it could fill up fast.