Friday, August 3, 2018

Did you know? - Overstocked items, clearance sales!

We are currently overstocked (as in actual, physical stock) with items purchased for one of our branch sites.It's an odd mix of items...everything from stuffed toys, socks, blankets, costume accessories and jewelry to "adult novelty items". We're selling most of these items AT COST (when you purchase multiple items) - so if you see anything you might be interested in or have any questions for us, please drop us a note here or on facebook.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Are you paying too much for....everything?

I have not paid retail pricing in 5 years.

You read that right.


That's not to say that I haven't gone to a retail store and gotten groceries, paper products, etc. for anything at all, but clothing, shoes, electronics, costumes, toys, collectibles...just about anything else, I have purchased direct from the manufacturers at a far lower cost than I would have paid retail. I do this for my children (growing boys! - socks, shoes, jeans, swimsuits), myself and other members of my family.
I started purchasing items at wholesale years ago on a minor scale. I create jewelry with gaming dice and would buy large quantities in bulk, along with necklaces, earrings and other jewelry findings. From there, it expanded to cosplay items, costumes and accessories for convention wear. Before long, I was doing this for friends and family, for Ren Faires, Sci-fi and Fantasy conventions, LARP sessions, Steampunk aficionados, and Alt Pin-ups. We also branched off into the adult market.

Those who go back through the blog posts can easily see that there is a gap. This was the unfortunate side effect of personal responsibility following a very bad divorce. This year we have been focused on getting back on our feet and getting the word out there again.

Being self-employed isn't just a pass-time for us - it's a necessity. I am now a single mom with two teenage boys on the autism spectrum, the youngest of which is considered disabled and needs a lot of extra assistance. Traditional jobs do not allow for me to take as much time off as is necessary for counseling, doctors, tests, schools and random days when they may stay home. This business allows for me to take care of them in the best way I can.

And as a bonus, I truly love what I do.

I greatly enjoy the satisfaction it brings when I am able to find my clients the perfect piece to round out a cosplay. I love being able to find someone that beautiful set of dice they're been searching for. I'm delighted to search out those hard-to-find pieces that collectors would love to add to their shelves, but just can't seem to track down.

My background as an artist also allows me to create customized pieces for people. Flags, stickers, posters - one of a kind items that no one else would have. I'll admit that this is probably the most fun, and probably a favorite for my clients as well.

So if you're reading this, and there's something you've been searching for, why don't you give us a shout? We might just be able to help you not only find whatever you need, but save you money in the process.

Are you looking for a new pair of shoes?

Friday, June 8, 2018

"How do you accidentally a squirrel?"

Because somebody asked...Again...

The first comment we ever got on the name was at our first convention: "How do you 'accidental' a squirrel'"?

Clearly my grasp of southern slang and vocabulary was a little higher than his.

While we (obviously) ran with the squirrel as our mascot, the immediate thought on the name was more along the lines of "finding something awesome that you never knew was there".

Like...Finding $20 in your pocket.

I want us to be that thought in the back of the minds of gamers, writers, roleplayers and honestly anyone else that needs some custom art created for them.

We want to be that $20 you find in your pocket.

How do we do it?

I'll admit it - It's a little frustrating doing what we do.

A lot of people don't trust it. They wonder how we get things so cheap and accuse us of only buying knockoffs or second-hand, low-end merchandise. While I'll admit that we can't always find a great deal on name brands, the fact remains that you're paying for the brand name itself - not the quality of the item. I regularly buy items on sale through retailers for my clients and then go hunting for similar items through my distributors. More often than not, I find the exact same items for a LOT less by cutting out the supply chain.

What I learned is that many of these manufacturers sell their products out to companies who then put their tags and packaging in place. You can literally have the same item (not including trademarked characters, etc), sold by multiple places for vastly different cost. Sometimes things are painted differently. Sometimes embellishments are added by the company. Often, company logos are embossed or sewn in. This doesn't change the quality of the product itself - and sometimes it can even compromise it.

* I've purchased name brand clothing from a well known retailer on sale for $45 and turned around a week later to purchase an identical item for $8.50 - the only difference was the name on the tag. Same material. Same design. Same stitching.

* I regularly purchase popular ball-joint type dolls, toys and accessories for crafters. They sometimes pay $15 a piece for the items they use in their crafts - I purchase identical items for them for roughly $3 each.

* Some popular kitchen gadgets advertise for $19.99. I can usually find comparable items (and sometimes even better quality ones) for $10.

* Make-up brushes can be incredibly expensive - especially when they are sold in a set.  We have a current client who joined us because she spent $75 on a set of makeup brushes that we found (and bought as an example for her) for $12.

The thing to remember about buying things at retail is that if they can offer you "free with purchase" items or huge discounts during sales, it usually means that they are still making a profit. Most of these large stores make a 500% markup or more on their products while purchasing from the manufacturer for pennies on the dollar.

When you purchase from a retailer, you are paying for:

💵 The base cost of the product
💵 💵 The cost to have these items shipped from wherever they were manufactured, which could include customs fees, international shipping, etc.
💵 The storage space at the company warehouse
💵 Shipping fees for items to be moved from warehouse to distributors
💵 💵 💵 The brand name of the retailer
💵 The packaging (most items are not shipped from the manufacturer in their final packaging).
💵 Any alterations that retailer makes to the items to make them "on brand".

We can eliminate a lot of these fees simply by purchasing directly from the warehouse, distributor, or even the manufacturer. Many of our customers aren't concerned with the packaging as long as the quality is there. If you're going to take it out of the box, and throw the box away, why pay for the box?

We check everything BEFORE we order and before we ship it to you. If it isn't exactly what you're looking for, all you pay us for is our time - which is a simple, low, flat-rate and not hourly. And if it's your first time ordering through us, we offer a FULL refund if you're not satisfied with the savings.

Just drop us a note, and let us know what you're looking for! Let us prove how much time and money we can save you!