Saturday, August 26, 2006

Selling Magic 5

Now, I want to tell you why I don’t buy products from Jay Sankey. It is for different reasons than the previously mentioned, Darryl. I have been a huge fan of Jay. I believe he is one of the most talented and creative magicians in the magic world and I would not hesitate to recommend his material. I attended every lecture of his in the Chicago area. In my experience, I have never seen him treat anyone poorly. I have never had a bad experience with him. All which have made my decision very difficult.

The first thing that started to bother me was the repeat selling of effects. A trick is written up in a book, then in the lecture notes, then on video, and, yet again, sold as an individual item. Now, some may say he is just giving the marketplace more options. I don’t think so. Jay, by the way, is not the only magician who commits this sin of over commerce.

Next, he signed an exclusive contract with Penguin Magic, effectively shutting out the magic shops that have supported his career. You could only get his magic in one place, Penguin. Wait...that is not quite true. Jay also wanted the shops he just screwed to pay him to come to their stores and sell the products they were not allowed to sell. Some nerve.

On a tangent: The dirty little secret about magic lectures is that the magic shops that sponsor them make little to no money. Often, the shop loses money. The admission fee pays the lecturer’s fee and his hotel. The lecturer also makes considerable money selling his wares. Nice, we pay him for the privilege of buying his stuff. The only money the shop makes is when the sell some of their own products. There is something very wrong with our current system of booking lectures.

Then, when Jay left Penguin, he came up with another scheme. He created “approved dealers”. These dealers had to buy large amounts of his products up front in order to become “approved”. Sure, some dealers like Hocus Pocus could buy a large amount, but most shops buy small quantities. We are talking one, two, at most a dozen items at a time, not 50 to 100. It is not economically feasible to buy large amounts. The best magic shop in the Chicago area, Midwest Magic, does not move 50 Sankey items in a year.

And then, of course, Jay wants to lecture at the shops that can’t afford to sell his products.

Why not just sell stuff in large quantities to a distributor like Murphy’s Magic and let them sell to all the shops? You would sell many more products, but you would have to sell them at a jobber rate than a wholesale rate. In the long term, the net profit would be the same.

Here is the thing; Jay Sankey has every right to sell his products in any way he wants.

But I don’t have to like it and I don’t have to support it.

So, what have we learned from this?

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