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[Table] IAmA: I sell on ebay for a living. Ask me anything.

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Date: 2013-08-22
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What's the weirdest thing you've sold? How many hours would you say you work per week? What's the most valuable thing you've sold? Weirdest, that's hard to say since I collect oddities myself. Vintage jock straps would make the list. Link to imgur.com Link to imgur.com
Why were these links already purple for me? They were on the front page of WTF a few weeks back so maybe you looked at them back then.
Annual gross sales? Net profit? Where do you buy your stuff from? $110,000, $60,000 and I buy mostly at auction.
Does it get exhausting ALWAYS having to look for new product? Sometimes. That's honestly the easiest part though. The shipping is the biggest pain.
What's the shipping process like, especially on your bigger items? And how do you deal with having to potentially ship multiple big items around the same time? Sometimes I will spend an entire day just packaging. I bubble wrap my item and then put an two inch layer of foam cubes all the way around. Sometimes I will have to re-size a box or two.
What was the Black Keys experience like? And does it provide a steady income or does it come in spurts instead? It's all about averages. I sold the Black Keys a very rare drum machine. I shipped it to their studio but never talked to any of them.
How did you know it was them? One of their names was on the account and it was being shipped to the studio where they were recording in Nashville.
Have you ever been dicked by PayPal or ebay? Oh yea.
Elaborate … It's happened more than once. I had one customer who eBay allowed to return a package that they had accidentally run over with their car. The customer claimed that the post office had delivered it that way but I talked to their postmaster who said that was not the case.
That is not that bad compared to some stuff I have heard. This one guy sold a tape machine for >$5000 and the buyer claimed he never got it, and then the buyer got a full refund without any argument. I've had customers try to rip me off for more but I won the cases.
Do you have a lawyer or something, or you just spend hours on the phone arguing? On occasion I've been able to point out to them that the buyer is leaving a large amount of negative feedback which indicates fraud. In short though, you have to waist a lot of time on the phone talking to them.
Do you think if eBay where to start accepting bitcoin as a usable currency on their site that you would accept them for your transactions? I doubt it. ebay owns paypal so I think they want to keep as much of the profits as possible.
What sale has been the most special to you and why? I remember one customer who purchased a Christmas ornament from me. They were really excited and thankful because it was one that they had had before their house burned down.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to sell big ticket items ($500+ such as iPads, computers, cameras, etc.)? The last time I sold on ebay, I was scammed out of an iPad. The buyer claimed SNAD, by saying that I sent him and empty iPad box. Of course Paypal sided with him after I appealed the claim. What has been your strategy towards mitigating fraud? That's a hard one. Although in recent years ebay has gotten better at dealing with fraud it is still a pain in the neck to deal with their support team. There is no sure fire way to avoid fraud. Always buy insurance and if you are worried about fraud you can take additional steps like taking video the item working and taking pictures of your packaging process. When you have an issue with fraud also check the buyers feedback and feedback given to see if you can see a history of fraud. This can help when talking to an ebay rep.
How did you find your niche? I don't have a niche per say. I've found that it is better to have a well rounded knowledge. If you buy enough of any item though you will become more and more familiar with it.
If you had to set a standardised size for italian meatballs, What would be the diameter (in cm) of said meatballs? 2"
What are your primary marketing resources? Search marketing? FB? Newsletters? Word of mouth? Anything else? How much are your marketing costs? I don't do any marketing of my own. ebay spends a huge amount of money marketing their auctions. I don't do many consignments so it doesn't matter if people know who I am.
But you sell only very niche, special interest items. How do people find your stuff if you don't advertise it? Are there people searching specifically for the book 1639 The Use of The Lord Verulam Viscount English Law Book 17th Century? Not many if any. That's why the key words "English Law Book 17th Century" are in the title. Some items take a long long time to sell. I do sell other items such as cameras and audio equipment that sell much quicker as they have a much broader appeal. I also keep 400-500 items listed because like you said, there aren't many people looking for some of my items.
What's a good week's worth of income for you? About how many hours a day do you work? I try to make a profit of about $1,200 a week. I don't always work the same number of hours but I probably work 40-50.
That[s pretty good I would think that this would take a lot longer like 80-100, good job. Was it way longer at the start until you got 'faster' or always like that. I've only done this full time for 3 years so I had lots of time to practice while I sold part time. I was much slower when I started but luckily I didn't have to do it to make a living at that point.
How old are you? How far do you expect to grow this business? Will you be making six figures next year? What uni did you attend. I am 32. I will not be making six figures next year. I am still a few years away from that. I attended Cincinnati State. My degree is in Graphic Design. I was a graphic designer for 5 years.
Did you start your business out of necessity or out of opportunity? I was 18 when I started. My brother was 16 and we sold as partners. We've always been hustlers so we saw it as a fun opportunity.
Worst thing that happened to you during a sale? How about worst purchase. I once purchased hundreds of brand new shoes of of craigslist with plans of reselling them. Turned out, none of them matched.
Were they supposed to match? If they were what did you do? They were supposed to match but were just in a couple of giant boxes. There wasn't really anything I could do because after I noticed there was no way to find the buyer.
Sucks man. Well maybe someone else got the same shipment except they got the other shoes instead lol. Ha ha, I think they were display shoes from a store.
How bad is paypal to deal with? Terrible if their is an issue. They are getting better though.
What does eBay charge you for each listing? What about PayPal? It depends on what category that you list in. This calculator can help you figure that out Link to www.newlifeauctions.com
Do you have to file taxes in every state with income/franchise taxes? I assume you have a CPA that handles it. No, I only have to file taxes in the state of my residence.
Are you expecting a massive drop when the laws change regarding online sales? No. A large percentage of my customers are fairly wealthy.
Why did you stop graphic designing? It didn't pay enough, my boss was a jerk, and I hated working regular hours.
I'm guessing less than 60k then? Yes, far less. I was worth a lot more but it was a tough market.
How can I get started? Start by selling small things that you have sitting around your house. Don't go big, start small and work your way up.
What if I run out of things to sell? Do I buy things online and sell for a higher $$? Yes.
Any good items to sell for starters? Cameras? furniture? antiques? Stick with what you now best. Do your research on recent ebay sales of the same item to figure out how much you will make.
What kind of auctions do you buy from? Any tips for sellers that you can give us? I buy mostly from estate and consignment auctions. My best tip is research, research, research. When you buy don't be impulsive. Know your market.
Do you have a target market? I always wondered if it would be wise to try to market to a niche on ebay or just put all sorts of things out there. Ebay has gotten so big, it attracts a diverse crowd looking for all kinds of goods. I sell a huge variety of items so my target market varies from item to item. If you have an eBay store you can ad categories so if a person finds one of your items they can easy find other like items that you have for sale. You can also list in your sales that you offer combined shipping to encourage people to buy more than one thing.
Interesting, I've been seriously considering hustling and makin some money by going around to garage sales in my area. You can get some great deals. Once I bought a 5.1 receiver for $5 and then turned around and sold it to a friend for $30. I imagine I could extend that to ebay. If you have some free time and a little extra money I say give it a shot. Plus the hunt can be fun.
Do customers try to scam you ever? Occasionally but it is rare. That happens more with consumer electronics while I deal more with vintage, antique, and business.
Do you list items for sale that you are interested in buying beforehand, to see if you can make profit? No I do not. That's a dangerous game of chicken and violates ebay policy.
Do you pay federal income tax? Has the IRS every given you a hard time? I do. I've not had any issues.
Is it worth it? The commission they take must be ridiculous! How do you protect yourself from fraudulent buyers. I've heard ebay is very buyer biased. You have to calculate the fees when purching things for resale. It it is always worth it for me. Make sure you insure your packages, take lots of pictures, and don't be afraid to block a buyer.
Any tips you'd like to add? I'm a 15yo who does the occasional sell on ebay so would love some! Thanks! :) My tip would be to do your research. Check completed items to figure out what the average sale price of an item is. And if you need to check fees use a fee calculator like this one Link to www.newlifeauctions.com
How much would you take for your 6ft Mid Century Industrial Age Machine Work Bench w/ Cast Iron Legs & 2 Drawers? I think I almost broke my back moving that monster. I'm open to offers. If you picked it up it would be less.
How to you figure out what to charge for shipping ahead of time? Do you ship all items even oversized ones? I use a postal scale to estimate shipping costs. For items over 80lbs you have to use a freight service.
Vague answer. Care to elaborate? Sorry, when you are listing an item you have the choice to either choose flat rate, estimated, or freight. For most items I choose estimated. I weigh the item, ad what I estimate the packing material will weight (it depends on the size but generally a pound or two) enter that information on the form, and ad a handling charge to cover insurance and packing material. For items listed as freight the buyer has to contacted me and I get a quote from my rep at freightquote.com
When is the best day and time to end a auction item? It depends on what you are selling. I would normally try to end on any day but Friday or Saturday, early evening.
What's the largest amount of profit you made from a single sale? Probably $2,000.
How much 'time off' do you give yourself? And what do you do about listings when you're on vacation? Don schedule any to end during that time? I sell mostly store items so when I go out of town I shut down my store sales. I've taken two weeks off this Summer.
Ever made a substantial loss on something? Not more than a few hundred.
Whats the most profitable item youve sold? I once made over 2k off of an accordion.
What's the beat and cheapest place to ship from? Box supplies also? Thank you. I ship using USPS. UPS is generally cheaper for large items. I get a lot of my boxes and supplies from friends and family but when I buy them I use Link to amshipping.com
Where do you store all this stuff? Currently at my house.
Can you explain your process, maybe give us a run down on your workflow? Do you have a minimum ratio you are looking for? How you minimize shipping costs? When you say you buy at auction, does that include ebay? If so, primarily ebay? I start my week by making a list of all of the auctions that I plan on researching. After that it's pretty much just buying, listing, shipping. It's not the same everyday. My profit margin depends on how much has to be invested in the item, estimated time it takes to turn it over, and the difficulty in shipping it. Higher priced items generally have a lower margin of profit. I buy everything from audio equipment to books at auctions. I don't buy to resell on eBay.
I notice you do pretty much everything as a Buy-It-Now/Make Offer -- there's only nine things as an auction listing. Is there a reason for that? In recent years it's been my experience that for most items buy it nows get you the most money. The issue I have is a lot of my items are high dollar, niche items. There may only be a couple of people looking for them so if I sell them at auction I run the risk of them going very cheap.
Also: wifey and I are antique dealers, and so are my in-laws, and our experience, my inlaw's experience, and even what we hear from other dealers is that eBay sales are way, way down for antiques. What do you think you're doing different that keeps the sales coming? I stay on top of buying trends. What people are buying is constantly changing. People in their 30s and 40s are now major buyers while people in their 70s and 80s are dying. Therefore the prices for things from the 1980s are up while things from the 1950s are way down. I don't just buy based on what I was able to sell 5 years ago. I check the current prices.
What method should I use to pay the ebay sellers fee? - Paypal or by Debit? I use paypal which is directly linked to my checking account. That way I if transferred all of my funds out of my paypal it can pull it from my checking. Both Debit and Paypal will essentially work the same way though. The only issue would be if you didn't have any money when the bill was automatically paid.
What is your opinion on the eBay Buyer Protection? Do you ever get buyers who will receive an item, say it was not received as described, try to get a refund, send the item back and then turns out nothing was wrong with the item? Buyer protection is pretty one sided. I had a package sent back once that was "not as described" that was never opened. I've also had people try to work the system for a refund while keeping the item. Luckily though most buyers are honest.
You've said that you mainly get your items from auctions? I've spent a lot of time watching Auction related shows on Discovery but I've never been there myself. I'd like to try acquire an item there and then resell it on ebay? Can I get an interesting product at an auction for around 100 pounds (~155 USD) Can you share some of your auction techniques? Such as how do you know that a particular item you're bidding on will sell at a bigger price? Thanks. I don't buy at storage auctions. Plus those shows are rather scripted and set unrealistic expectations. A lot of estate auctions will have a list of some of the items that will be up for sale that you can get in advance or there will be a preview before the auction starts. Write down the items of interest and then search ebay for those items to see what recent sales have ended at.
I have an old Spirograph set that I'd like to sell on Ebay. Have never done that before, could you tell me how to go about that? Do I have to type in a lot of info, or is it all automatic? I mean, how do I get paid for instance? What do I need to set up? You will have to set up a paypal and an ebay seller account. You will have to type in all of the information yourself. The process from start to finish is too much to type out but they will walk you through it. You will get paid through paypal and then have the option to transfer it to your bank account.
Why are you currently selling women uniform shirts? Why not?
What would you say is your least favorite thing about eBay? And in your opinion, what would be the best thing eBay could change to help benefit the sellers? The high fees. The best fix would be to either lower the fees or to change the way that they deal with buyer complaints.
Do you operate under an official business? If so, what type? I pay taxes under my name. At this point I've not seen the advantages of becoming an LLC.
What do you sell primarily? I sell a lot of antique books and vintage audio equipment.
I'm always looking to expand and branch out. I sell online too. My sales are nothing compared to your sales. My goal is to have a six figure salary before I am thirty, that I have created myself. Last year, I got 1/5th of the way. This year, I look to surpass that. Do you import a lot of goods to resale? I really try to stay away from that. What do your products really include? Do you hate the IRS as much as I do? I buy all of my items locally. And yes, I hate the IRS. I pay them way too much money.
How did you get started? I attended an auction with my mother and my brother when I was 18 and my brother was 16. We have both always been hustlers to some degree and this seemed like a fun way to make some money. We started off dealing mostly in vintage board and video games.
When exporting to place's outside of the US e.g. countries in the EU have you ever been screwed over by the exchange rate or import tax? I have not. Paypal converts foreign currency to USD before it goes into my account. The buyer is responsible for all import taxes.
How do you deal with storage for all of the merchandise, packing materials ect. and do you pack and ship yourself? Any tips on making that a smooth or at least decent experience? I'll admit, I'm not really that good at this. I did purchase another building to put my inventory in but it is not yet ready for the move. I do most of the packaging myself but I do higher some family members from time to time to work for me.
I see on eBay too for a living, but my average sold item is $31, so I have to do a lot more volume. Been using eBay since 1998. How do you feel about the lack of power that sellers have now? Have you ever been scammed by a buyer taking advantage of the "Buyer Protection Program"? The buyer does have too much power. I agree. Fortunately ebay has recently taken steps towards fixing that. They aren't there yet though. It doesn't happen often but I have been scammed on a couple occasions. I have also won cases as well.
Does the international shipping charges depend on what country you're shipping to, or is it a flat rate or something? It varies by country. There are also different shipping restrictions for each country.
Do you use terapeak? How do you SEO your titles and listings? I do not. I generally search complete items and see what key words were used to fetch the highest price. Sometimes some creative thinking works just as well.
How much time do you spend working daily? Are your hours predictable? I probably average 8. Its not real predictable as it is determined but where I am buying from that day and what inventory I have to list and ship.
Would you trust people selling pills on eBay? Do you think a lot of them are fake? I wasn't ware that there were people selling pills on ebay. I would look at their feedback to see if they have a history of satisfied customers.
Do you use flat rate boxes or plain boxes? What's the cheapest way to ship non-media items? I use plain boxes. Flat rate priority can be a savings if you are either mailing heavy smaller items or you ship a lot to far away places.
What percent profit would you say you have on each item you sell? There is no standard. It varies from 25% to 200,000%
Funny that this is an AMA right now - this is my SO's store. Link to stores.ebay.com. Within the past few weeks he has been begging me to quit my full time job and work with him and I'm very tempted, your thoughts after quitting? Was it a good decision? It's certainly not for everyone but I've never regretted it.
Do you have health insurance? No.
Any advice for people who would want to sell manufactured items, i.e. cell phone cases, how do you go about starting this up? Where do you find people to produce items for you? This is outside my area of expertise. Sorry.
What freight service do you use? I use freightquote.com
What made you start selling on eBay for a living? I sold on ebay on the side for 12 years. I was a graphic designer and I just got tired of working for someone that I didn't like for pay that wasn't what it should be. So I quit and started working full time selling on ebay.
If you were to sell products that are fairly commonplace, is there any way to get your listing to consistently appear higher in search results, or do you list so many that you get more people coming to your channel? Yes, you have to earn the "top rated seller" status. When you search by "best match" it puts the sellers with a "top rated seller" status at the top. Link to pages.ebay.com
What was the most valuable/unique thing you've ever sold? Most valuable would be a set of coins that I sold for $5,600. Most unique is a hard one. I sold quite a few screen used props from the movie Ben Hur which were pretty unique.
Ever thought of opening a pawn shop? Not sure what the marketplace is where you live, but you could do both (ebay/physical store). I prefer to sell my own inventory. Dealing with cosigners ads an additional degree of difficulty and aggravation. Plus it would require me to keep business hours.
How do you do all the accounting? This may be the first year I may actually hit the point where I get sent a tax form, and I'm wondering what I should be doing in the mean time to prepare for tax season. Thanks! I use turbo tax. I keep my records using a simple spread sheet. It is very basic with line items for total month sales, fees, and a breakdown of purchases.
Congrats on your sales. Your descriptions are very sparse. Do you feel descriptions are overrated? You do not have any info on shipping costs, payment parameters such as when payment is due, etc. Thanks & continued success. If an item isn't unique then a long description isn't normally needed. Most people find the item because that is specifically what they are searching for.
Do you remember what was so special about the coins? I collect coins a little and I'm just curious It was a proof set. I can't remember the year. There was one gold coin and the rest were silver. The rare one was actually the silver dollar because it was only produced for that set.
Have you ever considered buying your own Online-Store to save the ebay and paypal fees? What is your opinion on these? A lot of my items are so niche that it would be very difficult to attract the right buyers with my own store.
Are you able to hookup Google Analytics, to see your customer demographics? Not sure if ebay is that robust for the users... I am not. ebay has some analytic but they are geared more towards the items that you've sold than the buyers themselves.
That's really interesting. You don't happen to have a picture, do you? Not that I could easily located and I can't for the life of me remember what year the proof set was. I only made $400 off of the purchase but I knew that I could flip it and make that money within 2 weeks so it was still a good buy.
Have you ever tries etsy? I have not. esty tends to work better for hand made items. At least that's been my experience.
Ever consider getting into Amazon with more predictable products and using FBA to save yourself some trouble? I also sell on Amazon. I've found that Amazon is good for selling more mainstream items.
What is the most overpriced thing you have ever bought? The most I've ever lost is maybe $300. The most I've spent on a single item is 5k.
How many hours would you say you work a week? 40-50. Sometimes more, some less.
Do you find it worth it? Yes.
I bet your house is very interesting. Does it smell a bit dusty though? My house is very interesting. I collect oddities and art.
Do you still ship to Italy ? :p. Some things, like Ben Hur props.
How's Steve Carrel? I feel like there is a joke in here somewhere but since I am oblivious to it I'm just going to say, "he is doing well but his mom is a bit under the weather."
Can you approximate your yearly income? 60k.
Use registered post for anything valuable. Signature required on delivery. USPS requires signature confirmation for anything insured for over $200.
OP did ... Yep, the answer is of course me. My more recent purchases which are not pictured are two WWII practice bombs and a piece of one of the popes robes.
You can see the fees on eBay itself. They're ridiculous. I believe it's 9% of the final value fee and PayPal is around 3% or so. There's a few categories that have flat rate listings I believe, like autos. They also cut into your shipping costs as well. They are category specific and vary from 4-9% on ebay. 10% would be a good average to use.
Why is it people with 0 feed back keep buying my shit but never pay. You can change your settings to not allow 0 feedback buyers to bid.
I just wanted to tell you that you have a typo in the description of your Industrial Age Work Bench. you wrote "Pleas ask all questions before purchasing" ;) I'll have to fix that. It's certainly not my fist typo ha ha.
Hello, I was wondering how far from your house do you usually go to find this stuff, and also, what the luckiest find you ever had was. Thanks. Not normally more than a 45 minute drive. I once found a book on a shelf at a second hand store that was 29 cents that I resold for $250. As far as luck goes I was lucky to even see it at the store.
Last updated: 2013-08-26 18:57 UTC
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[Table] IamA guy who accidentally started a soy candle business while high. AMA! (Second time)

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Date: 2013-12-21
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Why soy? It was the first wax I stumbled upon when I started my candle making supply search. The more I learned about it, the more I liked it. It's made from soy beans, so it's renewable, and all the beans are grown in the Midwest. I grew up on a farm, so I know how important it is to support farmers. It's completely biodegradable and nontoxic. You can literally eat it. When I started researching paraffin wax, I was shocked. It's a byproduct of petroleum refinement, and contains carcinogens that cause cancer. It's not renewable, the process of getting it is quite damaging to the environment, and the wax burns faster than soy.
Hm, interesting stuff. Are most candles made of paraffin wax? Yes. I imagine the fact that it wont spoil like soy wax will is the reason it's used by large candle companies.
What is the half-life of a soy candle? One year.
I bought two candles from you in early October; Oakmass and Amber and Falling Leaves. By far the greatest candles I've ever had. They last long, smell insanely nice and actually scents up a room, and you're local-ish! When I order more, can I do a home pick up and burn one with you? Candle burning not required. You're too kind! I'm glad you liked them. Yeah, we can definitely burn up if you want to. Save a little cash on shipping, too.
I hope you don't wind up murdered. We can carry concealed weapons in Wisconsin.
Are you in Madison? Madison is kinda weird, but I love it. I'm just outside of Madison.
Do you ever smoke with the soy candles man? Who's he?
On a scale of 1 to Unicorns, how high were you? Banana.
So I could get a candle named CUNT_DESTROYER? Yes. If you tell me to name it that, I will. It's your money, yo!
Have you considered applying for Shark Tank? That would be an interesting episode. I would never get a deal on that show, nor would I want one. Giving up any ownership is not an option. This is all mine. I would, however, love the national publicity. That would help my growth tremendously.
Just have a really nice intro, of explaining your candles, and all of that stuff so people get interested. Then just bomb the interview, act like a dumbass so you get no offers, have a big billboard with your website and stuff behind you. There ya go. Alright. Somebody call Hollywood and get me on that show!
For someone who isn't a candle connoisseur, what is your favorite scent? recommendations? I have a lot of favorite scents. Oakmoss and Amber is earthy and sweet. Caribbean Teakwood is dark and leathery. Blueberry Cheesecake makes you want to eat the candle, itself... Those are just a few of my faves, but I really like most of the scents I offer.
But CAN you eat the candles? It is just soy right... Without scent oil and dye, you could eat the candle. Soy wax is actually a really good skin moisturizer. Mix a little extra virgin olive oil into pure soy wax, and say goodbye to dry skin. I should start offering that...
What candle best covers up the smell of pets? All of them are scented strongly, so they'll do a good job. Except for maybe a scent like Rain, or Ocean Mist... They are just a lighter scent. Strong, but light.
Anything special you do to prevent frosting? Frosting is a tricky one... I can't give away my secrets...I've spent months trying different environments to let the candles cure in...but I've eliminated it as well as I can. Most candles have none, but a few have a little patch or two of frosting. The appearance of frosting is a good indicator of your candle being made with 100% soy wax, though, so it ain't all bad.
For those of us who don't know, what is frosting and why would you want to prevent it? Frosting is when the wax crystallizes during the curing process. It does no harm to the candle, it's just not pleasing to the eye for some people.
So pretty much frosting is a little tiny ugly mark on the candle? It can be tiny marks, or cover the whole thing. Most of it depends on the curing process, but they are still sensitive to rapid temperature drops after the wax is set.
Would you consider making a subscription candle service? I burn candles all day every day it would be awesome not to need to lug them from the store every week. That's a cool idea. How would I go about doing that?
Let me know if you need help with the set-up :-) I use Wordpress for my site, and Woocommerce for my cart. Will those work? I will need help with the set-up.
I must of missed the first ama and the repost in trees. But i need the story on how you started a soy candle business while high. got any tips for a stoner who is trying to start his own company? whats your favorite scent you have? I was high, staring at a candle burn for a long time just thinking about stuff. Then I realized that I couldn't smell that fancy Glade candle at all. I wondered if I could make my own candles better than Glade. So I browsed candle making supplies online, ordered 10 pounds of wax, 2 dozen jars, and some lilac scent oil. Several minutes later, I completely forgot I had done all that. Didn't think about it again until boxes showed up at my door. I had the "oh yeah, that's right!" moment, and got to work. I made all the candles and gave them away to friends and family. They liked them so much, they started requesting scents and paying me money for them. Then, local stores started contacting me to let them sell my candles. A few news papers interviewed me about my business, as well. It just keeps growing. And all I wanted to do was see if I could make a candle better than a air freshening company. I can assure you I have succeeded in doing that.
My tip would be to find something you think you can do better than what's out there, and then do it.
My favorite scent right now is Winter Cabin.
Please tell me you told the news outlet's that you were high when you started your business. "I was lying on my couch, staring at a candle for what seemed like hours..."
That was the closest I've come.
Do you sell on amazon? No, but somebody recently gave me the idea to sell there. I look to expand my presence online quite a bit in the new year.
How do you get stores to sell your candles? Have you ever thought of outsourcing production to China? Some stores contacted me about selling my stuff. With others, I would just walk into a store with a couple candles and sell them on why they should carry my candles. I would never move production to China. I would like to become the largest candle company in the US, with everything made right here.
Was there a time where you weren't sure you could be successful because it was an idea you got while high? Not for that reason, but there have been times when I wondered how I would make people aware of my products. How would I become successful if nobody outside of southern Wisconsin has heard of me? I worried about stuff like that. Then, I did my first AMA, and the exposure from Reddit helped build a coast to coast customer base that to this day continues to grow.
You seem to have great ideas when stoned. Do you come up with your new products while high? I ask a lot of questions. I ask people what they want. I'll be adding a 16 ounce candle in a glass container, soon. Double wicked...just have to work out the right wick combination... People have been asking for a larger size, so I'll sell a larger size. It's your money, you know? If you want me to make something that I don't have, and I can get the stuff to make it, I'll do it.
Do you use hemp wicks, and if no, why not? I haven't tried them yet, but I'm always trying new wicks to find the perfect one, so I'm sure in the future I will eventually try them. Whether or not I end up using them is dependent on how they perform.
I'd love to try your candles if you found a way to use wooden wicks. I found a wood wicked candle about a year ago and burned it sparingly just so that I could enjoy it longer (the sound is just heavenly), but now I can't seem to find another. TL;DR: Maybe try wooden wicks? :D Wooden wicks are on the horizon! Stay tuned...
How do your wax melts compare to the name brand (Scentsy) melts? Definitely thinking about buying some tonight. The only way for you to find out, is to try them. But, mine honestly blow scentsy's away. My wax melts are 6 ounces, compared to scentsy's 3. The cubes are one ounce each, and I get at least 5 days of noticeably strong scent release while keeping the warmer going 24 hours a day. Then, you'll get a few more days of adequate scent release. If you try them and don't think they're better, send them back and I'll refund your money. I've offered that return guarantee since I started, and haven't had a single thing sent back to me. I'm pretty sure you'll like mine more.
Can your melts be used in a Scentsy warmer? Being from Wisconsin myself and a warmer user you have me very close to switching my business. You certainly can!
Did you get a business license? If so, what kind? No.
How much money have you made from these soy candles? Is your stock public? I'm a one man operation who has reached the point of outgrowing his kitchen, and moving into a larger work space. The money has been a nice boost to my income, but it's nothing I can survive on by itself. No, stock is not public...I hope it never is.
Does this mean you have a day job? What do you do other than make and sell candles? Yeah. I work for a place that makes reed switches and various sensors for all kinds of applications.
Where are you based out of? South central Wisconsin.
Is that near Eau Claire? I'm in Waterloo. Just outside of Madison.
I'll be going to Madison for school in January. I may have to stop by and get a gift for someone. Or, you know, candles are awesome too. If it was okay to stop by, would there be a potential sniffing of various scents available? Also you made Bacon specifically in time for the AMA, didn't you? I usually have candles ready to be shipped out that you could smell. I started offering bacon a couple months ago due to demand from my previous exposures on Reddit. Give 'em what they want...
I go to the UW! They don't let us burn candles in our dorm, though. :( I make wax melts, too. If you buy a warmer, you can use my melts!
Have you consulted with any other self made entrepreneurs on how to make your operation fully sustainable? What, if any tips have you gotten? All of them tell me to keep doing what I'm doing. I've been trending up since the beginning, so if I keep growing at the pace I have been, I'll be there in a few years. I'm in no hurry. I want to do things right and maintain a top-notch product.
Is this the plot of Our Idiot Brother? Did Paul Rudd steal your life to make a movie? Yes he did, but how can you be mad at Paul Rudd?
Would you ever make a peony scented candle? Peonies are my favorite flowers and I haven't found a peony candle ever and I really like your candles. Also, I think this is really cool what you're doing. I hope it all works out! I'm getting one for my best friend for Christmas. I can get that scent. Next time I order supplies, I'll pick some up. Thanks!
Whats your company name? Mack's Olfactory
I see you have scent melts! Are those also soy based? If so, do they last longer than non soy based ones? Am I just silly and all the wax is the same wax for your products? Everything I make uses 100% soy. I've never used paraffin ones, so I don't know, but everyone tells me mine are stronger and last longer than Scentsy's.
Well, just bought 4. Wondered if you had ever seen a coiled candle Link to www.thisiswhyimbroke.com. I've always thought they looked cool. What's the worst smelling candle you've made? Like you were going for pineapple, but ended up with vomit. Thank you for trying them! I've never seen a candle like that before, but it's cool as hell! All of the scents I use come pre-bottled, so I'm not mixing anything myself. But, I can't stand the Banana Bread and Coffee scents. I just don't like them.
Do you plan on ever mixing your own scents? No. I don't have time for that. And I can buy thousands of different ones premixed.
Where would I go to be able to purchase one of these amazing candles? I'm being a little lazy and can't figure out how to search for this. Link to my website
I love you so much. I shared your candles with my peoples on facebook. NINJA EDIT: They are also cheaper than I thought they would be! I'm so excited. I love you, too! Thank you for sharing my link. I hope you enjoy them!
How fast is your shipping time? Do you offer overnight or next day? I hadn't heard of your candles before, and I know some people who would over them for Christmas presents. I make them to order, and I use priority mail from the USPS. They'd never get to you before Christmas. Sorry.
Hey you might not know, but are they GMO soybeans? Just curious. "The short answer is no. Only a very small percentage of the total US production of soy wax is organic. About 98% of the soybean harvest has been either genetically modified (GMO) or non-GMO mixed in with GMO soybeans. All of the soy wax in the US is made by just four companies, and none of them currently process organic soy oil into candle wax at this time."
Wish your stuff was cheaper to ship to Canada. I remember we traded PM's last time you posted, but it just didn't make sense to pay that much for shipping. What are some scents you thought would turn out nicely, but ultimately failed? I wish it was cheaper, too! Dozens of Canadians have wanted to buy, but nobody wants to pay $25 shipping costs. If a certain scent doesn't turn out nice, I'll try it from a different manufacturer. None of the marijuana scents have turned out nice, though. They don't smell anything like the real thing.
Is $25 a flat rate? That wouldn't be too terrible overall, if it was a big order. I'm in Canada and I see at least 8 scents that I would have to have :P. The weight has to stay under 4 pounds. Go over that, and the price skyrockets.
Ah, yeah that makes more sense. Approximately how many 8 oz candles would that be? 3.
That's really cool man. Think you could easily make candles in a low-resource environment? I'm a Peace Corps Volunteer who's got no fridge and no reliable electricity or running water- think I could do it? If you can start a fire and melt wax to a specific temperature, yes.
Simpsons or Family Guy? Both. I've been watching the Simpsons since they were on the Tracy Ullman show, and I enjoy the ridiculousness of Family Guy.
You're locked in a room with the CEO of ikeas teenage son and you have to choose what to watch between the two for the whole next eight days... If that's the scenario, then I choose Simpsons because I could easily watch the Softball episode over and over again for 8 days.
Damn it, Mattingly! I thought I told you to trim those sideburns!
Alright I'll buy your candles. Pleasure doing business with you.
Who's your favorite cast member on Friends? Don't know. Never watched it.
I was hoping for the answer Chandler... Ha! Nice.
Piggy Wiggly exists that far north? Always thought that was a southern thing. They're all over Wisconsin.
I'm actually making soy candles tomorrow for Christmas presents- any tips? Also, I was thinking about adding candy canes because they're gonna be peppermint scented. Would that be okay?? Be gentle when stirring in the scent, and pay attention to temperature details. I wouldn't add candy canes to a candle...unless you love mayhem.
off, Macks Olfactory is very clever and made me giggle. But my question is, have you ever tried anything like this before(starting your own business) and if things were to take off do you think you can keep up with the demand? Thanks for the ama and best of luck. I will be ordering soon! I've never done anything like this before. My dad ran two businesses, farming and a dump truck contracting company, so I can fall back on him for advice and whatnot, but so far I've done everything on my own. Promoting on Reddit has sometimes overwhelmed me with orders, and it would take a couple months to fill orders, but I needed that to find out what I had to do to keep up with the demand. Upgrading my equipment and production capacity will resolve that. I'll be able to make dozens of candles an hour in the near future.
Do you have a Marijuana scent? I haven't found one that smells anything like the real thing. I wont offer it if it's garbage.
I'd love to get some of these mailed to australia, would that be possible?? Shipping to Australia is over $40, unfortunately.
Hey Mack. I just placed another order a couple days ago. Will it make it by Christmas? Probably not, unfortunately. I just finished up all the orders placed before December 15th. Nothing placed after that has shipped yet.
Does the bacon scented candle really smell like bacon? And if so, would you ship to the UK? It has a Bacos smell to it, but it's not that bad.
Whats cent would be the best to have sex to? Long story short, I had a 14 hour sex marathon with this woman I worked with that started as a joke, but ended up happening. I had strawberry candles burning the whole time. To me, that is the best scent to have sex to.
How profitable is this business? Better than minimum wage? Also have you tried making any candy scents? Specifically chocolate. It's profitable. I'd have to sell a lot to live off the income, which will become easy to do once I start selling a lot because buying a ton of wax and jars all at once will save me tens of thousands of dollars compared to what I'm paying now in smaller quantities.
I'll look for a chocolate scent for you.
How can I be more like you? I really don't know.
What's your opinion on higher-end, "designer" candles? For example, Comme Des Garcons and Cire Trudon. Do you think that your candles compare, in quality? How did you learn to make candles? Would you consider apprenticing, or something like that, at a company like Cire Trudon to increase your candle-making prowess? Rip off. Mine may not look as fancy, but I'll go head to head with anyone when it comes to how well the candle can scent a room. And you'd have to be crazy to spend almost $100 on a 9 ounce candle...
Do you take bitcoin? No, but I should probably start. I laughed at the notion a few months ago when they were about $110... Kicking myself for that one.
How did you come up with the money to get started? I have an idea and no clue where to go from here. It only cost me about $100 to get started.
My only question is this: Where the hell were you a month ago when I was trying to figure out what christmas gifts to buy?! Hopefully, we'll both be around for a long, long time. There will be more Christmas's. More birthday's. Mack's Olfactory will be right here.
Would it be possible to make a candle that smelt like a fireplace? Would be nice for the apt. dwellers. I can and will do that.
Leg hair shavings? Okay. EDIT: I suck at jokes. That sounds like a wonderful idea, but I'd rather use that money to buy Christmas gifts for my family during this season. I've spent too much on myself already! That's the first thing I thought of, too. I didn't understand how hair was going to help me match scents.
You've mentioned before you're able to get pretty much any scent for someone who wants it. What is this range limited by? Is there a catalogue of scents to choose from besides those on your site? The range is limited by Google's ability to find the scent for me.
Is the business how you make your living? Not yet. I still have to work a full time job, which makes making candles difficult, especially when you get 60 orders dumped on you all at once like what just happened to me... I'll hopefully get to that point in a few years.
Where do you get the scents from? Do you just add a couple of drops of "blueberry" and get blueberry candles? This sounds very nice, btw. I hope you can maintain the quality and the vibe... I buy all the scents pre-bottled and highly concentrated.
Super late to this, but I would like to get some of your wax melts. What warmeburnewhatever it is do you recommend, and how exactly do you use them/how long do they last? Do you run the warmer constantly, or in cycles? I recommend any that has a 20-25 watt bulb in it. To use them you simply break off a cube, like getting an ice cube out of the tray, and you toss them into the warmer. Mine will emit a strong scent for about 5 days running 24 hours a day, then you'll get adequate scent for another few days. You can run the warmer whenever you want. It doesn't have to be all the time.
What's the difference in wax melts and breaking off chunks of candle wax to melt? Also, how long do your wax melts last? The candle wax I use for containers is a softer wax than the blend I use for the wax melts. The container wax is like soap. The wax melt wax is firmer and more brittle. One of my wax melt cubes will emit strong scent for about 5 days, being on 24 hours a day. Then, they will emit adequate scent for a few more days after that.
I used to joke about manly saw dust scented products... any chance that could come in a candle? I'll look for sawdust scent oil. If I can find it, I'll sell it.
Hello! Checked out your website and was wondering what your wicks are made out of? I'd like to purchase some for a pregnant friend and I've read about avoiding wicks with lead, and to look for cotton? Thank you Lead wicks aren't around anymore. Just like lead paint and leaded gas is no more. My wicks are made of cotton.
After reading through this AMA I would like to buy some candles, live in Sweden. Will you ever start to ship internationally? If I can find cheap shipping, yes.
This is awesome. Do requests cost extra? I really love sunflowers. I can get sunflower scent oil. Next time I order supplies, I'll pick some up. There's no extra cost.
What do you use to add scent to candles? And do you make it yourself? I buy pre-bottled, highly concentrated scent oils.
Dude I have a candle business too!!! Lol. How many candles can you make per batch? Right now, 7. But last night I bought equipment to be able to make dozens at a time.
Soy wax also burns at a lower temperature, so if you spill it on your skin (or put it there on purpose -- whatever floats your boat) you are less likely to get burned. It also cleans up with soap and water unlike regular wax. Soy wax is awesome! Do you ever refill containers for people? People who buy them locally will return the jars for me to reuse.
Have you ever made a pot-scented candle? Several, but none of them have smelled like the real thing.
Did you make the first candle, or find somebody who would? I've made every single one I've ever made.
Do you have a dog named Willie Nelson? No. I have a cat named KitKat.
Question two: have you seen our idiot brother? Yes. Paul Rudd stole the story of my life and made a movie.
If you do custom scents can you do one that smells like a Douglas Fir? The vast majority of Christmas/Pine/Tree smells just all smell like bad air fresheners to me. Like that little pine tree people put in their cars. I'd absolutely love a candle that actually smells like a Christmas tree. I will search for that.
I'm late as hell to the party, but i was curious if your business as it stands now is profitable/sustainable? It's been profitable since day one. If it keeps growing the way it has over the past 2 years, I should be able to live off the income. Fingers crossed!
What's your gross revenue and net profit? I'll let you know once my taxes are done.
Not anymore... That's why Mark Cuban is my favorite billionaire. Dude is good at making money, but he understands that there needs to be a fairness to it, otherwise it becomes harder for the little guy to make it...just like he did.
You make me a candle that smells even remotely like Angel Whispers from Glade and I'll be a huge customer. As soon as I found that scent they discontinued it. I can get you that scent... Next time I order supplies, I'll buy some.
Call it "Pisces Dream" and you'll be my hero! Send me a pm when you get some made. You got it!
WOAH! What a great idea! You should definitly have a website or something that a customer can go online and easily pick out a nice scent they like and be able to have it named after them! [3]+ I make all the labeling myself, so if people ordered something but wanted the name changed to whatever, I can do that. Just put in the comments when ordering that you want the name changed.
I will snap order 5 of those bitches. Now, if you can make a cherry/peppermint blend, and call it "Serenity", you will receive 10 additional orders from me. I will be ordering that scent on Monday. I don't know how shipping will be with all the holidays coming, but check back in a week or two, and I will have "Pisces Dream" ready to go...along with several other new scents. I'll look for a cherry/peppermint blend, too.
You're a bad motherfucker. Gettin shit done. The candle industry isn't going to revolutionize itself...
Oh! Oh! Oh! Glade used to make a soy candle called "earthly awakening" that I was obsessed with. It was also discontinued. If you can make a replica of this you've just earned yourself another life long customer. I can't find a replica of that scent, but Amazon has a six pack of them available. There's only one left, so you better hurry! It's $56.
Depending on the laws of the state it may not be required, nor be applicable. Some areas, like my state (Colorado), have no such thing as a "business license"... Instead, there are forms and licenses with different names and purposes, which may be optional depending on the nature of the business. I've asked several business owners around town if I need any business licenses, and they say no. I might need a sellers permit, though.
If you could make a eucalyptus scented candle I'd be pretty keen on it. Straight eucalyptus?
You totally should do this AMA with a butcher and a baker... for science. Besties.
Last updated: 2013-12-26 01:16 UTC
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[Table] IAmA Owner of MTG Internet Retailer Untapped Games (Also Yu-Gi-Oh & Pokemon TCG)

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-07-14
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
1: can you hook me up with some free yugioh cards? 1: We do give away some free stuff on our monthly facebook contest. There are usually only a couple hundred entrants so you odds are pretty good!
2: How do u deal with potential scammer? Ex: They got the card but say they didnt, card was damaged, etc. 2: It's always a challenge. Large orders have signature confirmation which is usually adequate proof. Large international orders go registered with a physical return receipt. Once things are signed for we are usually fine. Smaller orders we refund sometimes, but if we think it is fraud we will blacklist the buyer.
3: How big of a staff do you keep? 3: There are currently 10 of us including myself. I usually add a couple people before the holidays.
4: What do you think about the future of TCG's? 4: I think the future looks great. It really depends on the game. Right now MTG, Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, and Cardfight are all going strong.
What do you, as a card retailer, wish we consumers knew or did differently? 1) I wish more people would buy directly from our site so we can avoid fees that are usually around 10% to 15% of the purchase. Our prices on our site are thus typically lower and we also almost constantly have coupons to save more. We really pass most of the savings on to the customer in the hopes of future direct business! A lot of people do switch to buying direct from us, but even some big buyers don't. Some repeat eBay buyers could have saved hundreds over time if not more just buying direct from us.
2) Pricing. Sometimes people get upset if something is more than retail. We value collectables in real time. Just like any normal person we aren't going to sell a box of Modern Masters for $168. It's especially frustrating because most of our prices are so much lower than retail. We charge only $87.95 for a Magic 2014 booster box pre-order currently when the retail is like $144. Those hot products that go above retail are really how MTG shops make their money to stay in business today. Pricing is determined by the internet.
Have you thought about putting a post card in with the orders with a coupon directing them to the site? I did this and it has been wonderful. Thanks for the suggestion! We do include coupons with every order though :)
If we went directly to your site to buy singles, we would almost always be paying more than if we were to go to TCGplayer.com and buy from the lowest price on their (which is sometimes you guys). We love selling on TCGPlayer and I think it is a great place to shop especially if you are buying a lot of rarer cards that we might not have every one in stock of.
Our prices on TCGPlayer are already higher than our direct prices though! Plus, we almost always have 10% off coupons that work for standard MTG sets and recent sets from other games! If you enjoy shopping on TCGPlayer though definitely don't stop! Great deals can be found!
M14PREORDER - Save 10% on an order containing only MTG singles with at least one M14 single.
NUMBER10 - Save 10% on an order containing only YuGiOh singles with at least one Number Hunters single.
What is the worst example of you being burnt by speculative investment in a MTG card? What set has been the most popular of all time for you? Which card has been the most popular? Have you ever been lucky with a speculative investment in a card/set? How much did you make? 1) I can't really say we have made any investments in a particular card that turned out so poorly I remember it. MTG is usually pretty safe, but card values obviously fluctuate. 3) Black Lotus seems to be the most well known MTG card, but for what is selling it is often based on our supply. Popular cards from new sets can be hard to keep in stock. We sold out of our pre-order allocation for Archangel of Thune. We were pre-selling them for $13.95 originally and now we sold out, but they were up to $29.95. 4) Every new set is a speculative investment! A lot of the time you have to order product before it is fully revealed. Yu-Gi-Oh is more volatile than MTG. Some sets you make thousands of dollars in profit and other sets you lose thousands of dollars!
I have a small cache of Magic and Pokemon cards in my attic. 1995-2000 highlights like (a few) dual lands, Mox Diamonds, and cards of similar caliber. I also have some non-Charizard 1st edition foils. What's your recommendation on liquidating these and still doing my childhood justice? I agree with Beerblebrox's post below! MTG is enjoyable at any age! If you really don't plan to play ever again though I personally keep a couple of my favorite items from each era of my childhood and that has worked out well! That said I meet a lot of MTG players who play the game quit and then play again. Buying cards and then selling them back to the shop just to buy them again is not good for your wallet!
How do I go about acquiring a whole sale license so I can buy boxes for cheap and circumvent the middleman? To buy Magic: The Gathering product you need to have a brick and mortar store and a sales permit.
As a retailer how do you feel about the reserved list for mtg? We don't have large numbers of older cards, but I think it is a good idea. I don't know if a particular list is required. I just hope that Wizards refrains from reprinting too much. It's really easy to make a massive amount of money quick with good reprints (Modern Masters), but I'm not so sure it is good for the long term.
Yu-Gi-Oh seems to reprint everything and they kind of encourage a culture where vendors can't hold onto product for long because it will devalue. I know vendors who have stopped selling YuGiOh because their inventory would just be constantly devalued and when there are less vendors there are less places to play the game.
I don't know if a particular list is required. I just hope that Wizards refrains from reprinting too much. I'm not sure if they realize what the impact would be. If a card is valuable that card's value is held by the players and stores who own those cards. When they reprint something those cards all go down in value and the value of the reprint mostly just goes to the manufacturer.
Don't mention this over at /MagicTCG. That subreddit tends to want everything to be reprinted so every card is insanely cheap. I'm not doubting players would like MTG to be more affordable. Lowering the price on everything is certainly not what any company is going to want to do though. If Wizards of the Coast pursued an aggressive reprinting policy what would happen is you would have cards at least as expensive as you do now when new sets come out. Then once everyone bought those who could months later they would reprint them and destroy the value of that investment. Personally, I don't think standard is difficult to keep up with if you do some smart trading and play any type of limited format even semi-frequently.
Why is Solar Flare Dragon the greatest Yu-Gi-Oh card ever? 1) Everyone has a favorite!
What's your favorite of the TCGs? 3) I enjoy Magic: The Gathering the best. It is what I played during my childhood and what I still play today. I have played some Pokemon TCG and Yu-Gi-Oh as well and they are both enjoyable games.
How have profits changed in the last decade? Has the popularity dwindled as much as I expect or am I just getting old? 4) A decade ago, I was beginning college and only doing this part time. I didn't realize how good it was. Margins are lower today, but the market is tremendously larger! I think it is much tougher to get into this market than it was years ago and I wouldn't be able to build up to what i have if I had started later (or at least not as easily). If you want to retire early you might want to look for a more profitable career lol. I just love what I do! I don't know why you perceive the popularity as declining. Game popularity changes, but overall the market is strong. Obviously, Pokemon was a fad many years back and it is no where near what it was, but even it is doing solid.
How did you get started in the business? It's hard to say what was really the starting point. It's like a lot of things coming together. My interest in MTG started as early as elementary school and I played (incorrectly) on and off until high school. I used to sometimes sell some cards on eBay and it kind of just grew from there!
I'm considering a career change from kitchens and have been toying with the idea of starting an online re-selling business around one of my hobbies. I considered MTG, lately been revolving around Lego, both being products I'm familiar with. My plan at this stage is to just buy a few sets each of the next release (Lego), sell them individually through eBay and other local online classifieds, then re-invest the proceeds into more sets, using the first few batches to determine how feasible this will be and to not sink too much money into a pipe dream. 3) I'm slightly OCD when it comes to collectables, always thought that if I were in the Magic business I'd keep one of each card that passed through my hands, keep the first black lotus, sell the second on. How extensive is your personal collection? 1) I pretty much started my business in high school selling cards I traded for. I just did it on eBay and it was profitable immediately, but it was pretty much just like a small allowance of $10 or $20 per week. 2) If you plan to just sell on Ebay I think it is pretty easy if you can compete on pricing. I know that it would be very difficult for me to start my business as it is today. For MTG you need to have a brick and mortar store to buy from wholesalers, so I think you would have to stick with legos if you are considering just selling new product. It might be difficult to compete too. I'm able to buy product for good prices from distributors because I buy a large volume. They also know I'm likely to do future business since I have a history of selling the types of items I do. I don't think someone would be able to offer to buy the same volume and get the same price without that history. 3) That's a dangerous attitude to have lol. You want to make sure you sell the product that runs your business. I don't have any personal collection except my decks which I sell back to my business when I'm done with them.
What is my Fog of Gnats card worth? Lol.
What us the most expensive purchase someone has made on your site? I'm not sure the most expensive purchase, but we regularly have people who buy about $1000 worth of cards when a new set comes out. It is especially true for YuGiOh where we have a lot of Japanese customers. I suspect they are probably vendors who sell the cards themselves in Japan.
Do you feel like there are more Magic players nowadays than ever before? I've been a casual player for the past 5 years and rarely go into a store anymore but I read the other day that the number of MTG players tripled since Shards of Alara. Do you feel like it? The growth has been incredible. I'm not sure how to measure the number of MTG players there are, but I wouldn't be surprised if tournament attendance was at least 3 times what it was during Shards of Alara. Our online sales have definitely at least doubled in the past 3 years.
In my local area; I moved to Providence, RI in 2006 and there were no shops I could find that had tournaments in the immediate local area. Now my shop exists and there are at least 4 other MTG retailers running tournaments within 10 miles.
Hows business? Business is good this year! MTG, Yu-Gi-Oh, Cardfight, and Pokemon are all doing fantastic.
How do you feel about some of the best card games out right now (Netrunner, AGOT, Star Wars) being LCGs. Do you think the living format is the future of card games and have you seen a shift in costumers from big money games like mtg to fixed priced games? I thing CCGs are here to stay. I haven't noticed anyone who has quit MTG, YuGiOh, Pokemon, or Cardfight Vanguard specifically to instead play an LCG. I definitely think there is a place in the market for them especially on a less hardcore level.
I think that the formula for CCG's is more profitable for manufacturers. I can't imagine any LCG bringing in the revenue per player to have the development budget that MTG has. I also think the luck aspect of opening boosters and the ability to trade cards has appeal to many players especially younger ones.
Could you take a guess at what most of your buyers are like? Do you see more younger or older people, male vs. female? It really depends on the game. Being a seller specifically of TCG's we probably reach a different audience than say Walmart does when they sell cards. YuGiOh and Pokemon both have tournaments scenes that even attract a lot of college aged adults. Obviously, a lot of our sales for those two games are to kids as well. Most MTG players we see in our shop are adults in their 20s or older, but there are still a lot of kids who come play that too! MTG has just been around a while and people have stuck with it over the years!
Most players in tournaments are male, but I think people often underestimate the number of female gamers. They just tend to not come to tournaments as much.
When selling booster packs, do you do any tricks to figure out what's in them (look at them through bright light, analyzing the pack/booster box product id, etc.) to figure out if it has an expensive rare? No. That would just result in negative feedback and unhappy customers. We are in the business for the long term and aren't shutting down our site to make a new one or remaking eBay accounts every month. When we have cards we don't need from new sets we make booster box repacks...
YuGiOh Lord of Tachyon Galaxy Booster Box Repack
MTG Avacyn Restored Booster Box Repack
Although you aren't going to get any $10 cards in these they are popular, especially for MTG where you can use them to draft for less than $3 per person (depending on the set).
Has anyone tried to buy a bulk amount of seemingly bad cards like Wood Elemental? How about Tibalt? Our site has a maximum quantity people are allowed to buy of any particular card, but it is not uncommon for people to amass collections of one bad card as a hobby or because they like the artist. I have met many players who just pick a card and try to get as many copies of it as they can!
If I'm looking to open my own Magic: The Gathering brick and mortar store in the near future, what are the most important variables to consider? How important are online sales in keeping the doors to your store open? Location and having a friendly sociable person at the counter are both extremely important. I think there is a lot of luck involved! How much money you need depends on how you live and probably where you are opening. I don't want to hypothesize on a number because we didn't really start from scratch since we had a strong online operation before opening our brick and mortar store.
Our online sales are absolutely vital to keeping our normal store open the way we have it set up now. However, there are many shops that have great tournament organizers and are quite profitable without online operations. Just my skill is really in the online market and I treat our store like a community establishment. I honestly don't try to make money off it. If it does make a lot of money one day that would be great, but I just want people to have a fun and comfortable place to play!
What's the best way to get back into MTG? I've been out of the scene for about 9 years, and it seems like it's changed drastically since then. The core game is still the same! It depends on what format you want to play and how much you know, but the Duals of the Planeswalkers 2014 video game has an excellent tutorial on how to play!
Other than that you can easily find out about recent happenings on different forums like MTG Salvation, Wizards of the Coast's own forums, and even here on Reddit!
If you want physical product, the upcoming M14 Core Set that releases on July 19th is probably a simple start. I personally think something like a M14 fat pack is a good choice because you get some basic lands, a life counter, and a nice box to put some cards/decks in.
How do you see the recent developments in online card games? Magic 2014, Blizzard's Heartstone to name the one's I know. The free to play model works extremely well for them and their execution is AAA. Do think they will impact your business negatively? Are you preparing to move into online trading? I actually was initially worried that these types of games would eat into our business, but it turned out to be the opposite. A lot of people play games like Duals of the Planeswalkers 2014 and then start playing MTG for real. I think DotP 2014 is a great way to learn the game, but being in a room with real people I think that is social experience that online TCG's can't replicate yet and I don't see them doing in my future as a vendor. Online TCGs keep getting better, but they have been around for years and the physical TCG industry has continued to grow tremendously. As someone mentioned below MTG just had their biggest tournament yet! Even with Hearthstone, when it was revealed our limited remaining inventory of World of Warcraft card sales skyrocketed.
There is certainly a market for online trading and we have thought about it, but haven't taken any action yet.
What are your thoughts on the World of Warcraft TCG? You don't claim to carry it, so I'm curious if there's a reason or something. I played it a bit and think it is a fine game, but it definitely does not have an extremely large hardcore following and its popularity seems to be directly derived from how well the video game is doing.
The card game was initially very popular when it came out, but even then people were buying it for code cards to unlock stuff in the video game primarily. Now, there are many unlockables in WoW through different means, so there is not as much interest in buying packs of the TCG for codes. Since Cryptozoic has taken over the game they seem to be trying to build a strong gaming community so perhaps that will help, but for now we are at max capacity selling other games.
How is your relationship with other MTG retailers? Are you a large TO as well? Although we are all competitors I think most MTG retailers get along pretty well. I do a lot of business with other vendors, so we certainly help each other as well as compete.
On a local level, the Providence, RI area has a great TCG gaming scene and I think a lot of that has to do with the wide selection of shops. There really is a place for gamers of every type! I think all the events and happenings have really led to growth in the gaming scene in the area. I don't know how much better or worse it would be for us if our competition wasn't there. However, I do believe the gaming scene would be much smaller.
We aren't a large TO presently, but maybe one day! Our core business is currently online and just revenue wise it is hard to imagine our physical location could ever come close. Our online site sells all over the world! That said our physical store might be expanding soon!
Do you have / have you ever considered a "deck-building" feature on your website where customers can build a deck made of singles and then be given a quote on the price for it? I always felt like that would be useful when I played TCG's some 7 or 8 years ago. That sounds like a great idea! We have a feature called deck builder which essentially lets you search a list of cards, but it doesn't automatically give you a total for all of them. I may check and see if we could implement a feature that does!
Are you moving a lot of Modern staples right now (fetch lands, Dark Confidant, Tarmogoyf, Vendilion Clique, Thoughtseize, etc.)? How does the demand for these staples compare with prior years? 1) Those cards all sell out pretty quick when we get them in. I would say Modern as a format is more popular than ever and that the release of Modern Masters really boosted it.
How has the release of Modern Masters impacted your business? 2) Modern Masters is extremely popular, but was tightly allocated. We didn't receive an extremely large amount. However, I'm sure our return on our investment is higher than any other MTG new release. It's intense popularly I think did reduce demand for Dragon's Maze and possibly M14 though.
What game is most profitable in single sales? 1) I wouldn't say there is a wide deviation between them typically as we buy single restocks on the secondary market using similar buy pricing. Each new set is a different story. For YuGiOh, I at least doubled our investment on Legendary Collection 2, but then I probably lost half of our investment if not more on Hidden Arsenal 5.
Have you done anything with kaijudo (new version of duel masters)? 2) I have researched it quite a bit, but Cardfight Vanguard was getting big at the same time as Kaijudo was being pushed to me. Cardfight seemed like a better way to expand, so we decided to invest more in that instead. I don't notice much demand at our local physical shop for Kaijudo, but most of the kids who come in are 12+, while Kaijudo packs say 8+ on them.
Do you play yugioh? 3) I have played it to learn how to play. Honestly, I didn't expect it to be as deep, strategic, and fun as it was. However, I already am more of an MTG player and mostly stick to that.
Personally, do you love the pokemon games? I do enjoy the Pokemon games. I played a ton of Pokemon Blue & Red years ago. I feel like they continue to refine them, but they don't hold my interest as long anymore. I played a bit of Pokemon Black & White, but the formula just isn't as fresh and exciting as it was to me back in Blue & Red.
What is the single most expensive card you have sold? We don't carry many of the older extremely valuable MTG cards, but we do sometimes acquire and sell cards in the $200 to $300 range.
What advice would you have for someone who is looking to start playing Magic but has no idea how to play? Download Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014! It has a great tutorial!
You guys run a fun weekly draft, just wanted to say thanks. (You are the ones in Providence RI, right?) Technically, our tournament area is right over the border in Pawtucket! We do run weekly Thursday night drafts at 7:00 PM though!
(1) Is there any sort of format that you can see being "the future of card games" ? For instance, since Magic was the first game, it seems we're moving away from power creep to a more balanced card game, but is there going to be another progression from this? 1) I think the internet and game communities are shaping the future heavily and will continue to do so. I wouldn't be surprised if MTG picks up more officially supported formats like EDH as people create new ideas.
(2) Do you think more games like The Penny-Arcade board/card games will ever take over sales due to their cheaper price? 2) I think there is a place in the market for these, but I don't think people are going to quit MTG to play them and MTG is not really difficult or expensive to get into on a casual level. I also think MTG's huge revenue at this point gives it a very healthy development budget that keeps the game continually fresh,exciting, and balanced.
(3) Is there any card game that you loved and wanted to see successful? I miss Magination, personally. 3) I pretty much grew up playing MTG so it is the game I like. As a kid I used to enjoy Overpower and I'm kind of sad that didn't work out. I haven't played as an adult, but I'm guessing it wasn't as strong of a TCG.
I have read that a brick-and-mortar storefront is a requirement of ordering booster boxes at wholesale prices. How do you operate around this? You can't! We have a brick and mortar store! Come visit us! Learn about our store HERE!
Worst customer you have ever had to deal with? Are all your orders in the US, I live in the uk and have barely seen card games existing. The worst customers don't always have the biggest problems. It's really how they interact with my people.
Recently, we had one guy buy a bunch of YuGiOh packs and before they got there he requested to return them. We told him that was fine as long as they were still sealed. He ended up opening the packs though and then still wanted to return them, which obviously is a no go in a collectable card game with cards of different values and rarities. These types of problems happen every so often, but it was really how he was just screaming and swearing at my employee for not wanting to take back his open product. If people treat my people badly I'm less inclined to help them out.
We sell all over the world. We definitely ship some orders to the UK, but most of of our customers are in the United States. We don't send enough shipments there to have a set idea of how big a market it is.
Do you feel like video games an online games based off TCGs have or could have a threat toward the sale of the physical product? Someone below had a similar question... Here is my response from that...
I actually was initially worried that these types of games would eat into our business, but it turned out to be the opposite. A lot of people play games like Duals of the Planeswalkers 2014 and then start playing MTG for real. I think DotP 2014 is a great way to learn the game, but being in a room with real people I think that is social experience that online TCG's can't replicate yet and I don't see them doing in my future as a vendor. Online TCGs keep getting better, but they have been around for years and the physical TCG industry has continued to grow tremendously. As someone mentioned below MTG just had their biggest tournament yet! Even with Hearthstone, when it was revealed our limited remaining inventory of World of Warcraft card sales skyrocketed.
How much do you take out of you booster box repacks? They look like a good deal but i wouldn't want to purchase one and get nothing but 50 cent or lower cards. You get a lot of great commons, uncommons, and bulk rares from the set of the repack! However, you probably aren't going to find many if much if anything worth more than $1. That is what you should assume you will receive. However, we do make most of the repacks when the sets come out so if cards change in value later it might be possible to snag some good cards. I know we had some Craterhoof Behemoths in the Avacyn Restored booster box repacks because it wasn't a valuable card when the set came out, but then it skyrocketed to over $20 for a little while before coming back down. That kind of price movement is uncommon though and you shouldn't buy expecting to receive anything like that.
Is your staff local based or do you hire people online as well? All of my staff is local, but we do utilize many services from other companies that have employees elsewhere. It is certainly possible for us to hire a non-locally based employee, but for coordination and communication it's a lot easier to have everyone in one place. I have noticed even when people have jobs that can be done at home it is still good to have everyone in one place. This way if our e-mail customer service rep finds out someone needs a refund they can just say 'Hey, John Doe needs a refund' directly to the person in charge of refunds and etc.
Do girls look hotter in yoga pants or jeans? I think it depends on the girl!
Magic the gathering online exchange (mtgox) switched to Bitcoin a few years ago, and have made millions. Are you miffed that you didn't get into Bitcoin too? Lol, I actually didn't know that. I don't know near enough about bit coins to have done anything like that and I'm certainly not miffed! It's great that they had the foresight to see that opportunity!
Do you ever open any of the packs yourself and what kind of cards do you collect personally? When new sets come out it can be pretty busy and I often help open packs myself! I play MTG, but don't really have a separate collection from my store inventory.
Did you ever sell mechwarrior clicks? I LOVED the game, but it didn't catch on very well :( Sorry, we pretty much concentrate on trading card games! I dabbled in some Warhammer minis a few years ago and we do sell a small amount of HeroClix.
Do you have a buy list and do you buy bulk cards, i got yu-gi-oh cards i wanna unload, the coolest card is properly an original left arm of the forbidden one, and most of the cards are first edition if that matters? Our buy list is here. We do buy bulk cards! We mostly concentrate on newer sets though for singles!
I noticed that you haven't updated prices on fetchlands in quite some time. But then, you also appear to be out of stock on them all. Were you caught unaware by the price spike, and was your stock bought out? There was no specific price spike that caught us by surprise. We just mostly concentrate on standard cards. The fetch lands are in sets that aren't on our buy list, so we don't get restocked. Most popular cards on our site would sell out within a couple weeks if were weren't constantly restocking them. We open hundreds of boxes per month and probably receive even more singles from people selling to us through our buy list! I'm hoping to expand our buy list into all modern sets very soon though!
Last updated: 2013-07-18 23:00 UTC
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ROBOT TRADING Como GANAR DINERO cuenta CENT

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