Friday, 24 May 2019

Vexillia Hobby Retail Reorganisation

I have been selling wargames miniatures online since 2002 when the internet was young.   Now it's time to reorganise the operation; probably for the last time.  This has been brought about by a combination of factors:
  • Since 2012 I have consistently lost suppliers as they withdrew from the increasingly unprofitable 15/18 mm  wargames market.  The list is a long one: Acies Edizioni, Venexia and Corvus Belli to name but  a few.
  • The rise of the Kickstarter.  There have been a number of such projects featuring 15/18 mm ancient or medieval ranges.  Given that customers' disposable income is finite, these projects have diverted money away from conventional channels like Vexillia.
  • The ever increasing cost of airmail delivery.  Royal mail have been increasing their prices annually for the last five years.  Shipping to Europe or elsewhere is now very expensive and a real disincentive to buy from the UK.
  • In Feb 2018 my sixteen year association with Mirliton ended.  The new commercial terms offered by Mirliton were simply unacceptable.
The effect of the first three factors have been apparent for a number of years, slowly chipping away at my turnover and profitability.  I have dealt with this by reducing my costs wherever I can.  The last factor obviously happened rather quickly but its effect was lessened as I held a considerable stock of Mirliton miniatures.

Nonetheless I have decided to begin the process of simplifying the business even further by clearing all of my retail stock over the next 6-9 months and by selling the two 15/18 mm ranges I own.  This will leave me with various books, games and flag sheets.  When I reach this stage I will decide whether to close altogether or operate as a very minimal web store. I expect the whole process to take about a year and a half.

The final decision will depend purely on the financial arithmetic: can I turnover enough money to make a profit after I've paid for things like the shopping cart, web hosting, accountant's fees etc.  Sadly, it's all too easy to see a situation in which I would not make anything at all.  I will not trade at a loss.

On the positive side there will be lots of bargains to be had but my advice is don't delay.  Some ranges are still selling well at full price and when I do reduce stock the popular items are selling very quickly.

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