Tuesday, March 22, 2016

SYWA Convention Preparation

Let the bagging of the figures commence!

Between taking my annual inventory for the tax man and getting my stock ready for the Seven Years War Association convention (March 31-April 1, 2016) in South Bend, Indiana, things have been rather hectic around the old barn these days. It also means that the shipping of orders has slowed down considerably and so I apologize in advance to anyone who has an existing order with me that has not yet been invoiced to you via PayPal. I expect to catch up with everything by this Saturday. ( since I have a full time day job, the only day that I can go to the post office is on Saturday ).

Taking inventory is a time consuming chore that is both necessary and exhausting because it seems to take forever and ever. Just when you think that you have counted everything, then another bag or box of figures turns up somewhere in the basement and you have to count them too. Some interesting things often turn up in inventory taking; for example, what was I thinking when I ordered 300 castings of Maurice de Saxe seated ( to use with the wicker carriage) and why did I order 20 spins (16 figures per spin) of the Prussian cuirassier standard bearer?

A large order of castings arrived in late January and so I wanted to segregate that stock from my 2015 stock so that the sums would apply to the 2016 tax bill. For those of you who are not accountants, the cost of goods sold is calculated thusly:

Beginning Inventory
+ Purchases
- Ending Inventory
= Cost of goods sold

And it follows that your income is calculated as Sales - Cost of Goods Sold - Other Expenses = Income. So you can see how important it is to count your inventory at year end.

Once that task was done ( they don't tell you about all of these things before you start a miniatures company), then it was time to move onto the chore of bagging figures for the convention. Eight figures of marching infantry get placed in bubble wrap, taped closed with clear shipping tape, and then squeezed into a 3-inch by 5-inch plastic bag. Cavalry figures have to be bagged with horses.

I have to label the contents of each bag ( I know, I should print out labels on my computer and just peel and stick the labels on the bags). However, since I am selling 18th Century figures it only seems right that I should use 18th Century production techniques, don't you think?

I realize that I should enter the 21st Century and have a full capability shopping cart system on the Fife & Drum website. As of now, the AWI and artillery ranges are shopping cart capable on the web site, but the SYW range needs to be added to the shopping cart. There is one little problem with the shopping cart: the one that I use from Pow Web has absolutely no way of calculating and adding postage to any of my web based orders, so I'm automatically losing $6 to $10 on every web order since I can't add a shipping charge to the order. So I will likely have to raise prices on web based orders to cover the shipping cost; however, orders submitted to me in the old fashioned way ( you send me an email with a list of what you wish to order) will continue to be charged with the actual postage cost ( unless you reside outside of the U.S., in which case you are only charged a flat postage rate of $10). If there is anyone out there with expertise in web design and shopping carts who can offer some hands on help with this, I'm all ears.

Yes, being in the miniatures business Is glamorous and will bring you fame and fortune. LOL!

Which is to say that I have had very little time to paint figures or do other hobby related things. I am looking forward to the SYW Assn convention in two weeks as it will allow me to socialize with many friends that I have made in the hobby over the years as well as to host two games during the convention: Reichenburg and Kolin, both from the 1757 campaign in Bohemia. The convention Experience makes all of the preparation work worthwhile. I hope to see many of my blog followers there.




  1. "If there is anyone out there with expertise in web design and shopping carts who can offer some hands on help with this, I'm all ears."

    email me: jhollier at jhollier dot com
    and lets talk.

    John Hollier

  2. Jim,
    have a great weekend. I am hopeful that I will get there in the no too distant future especially if my son settles in the Chicago area!
    Yup its a glamorous business this figure company lark, try running a stock on the computer and getting that to balance when you come back from shows and mail orders have arrived !!! There's no easy solution but its still a great hobby

  3. Thanks to you Jim and Graham for all you do for us - sorry it is an inevitable chore at times.

  4. Jim I always thought you and Graham got into the figure manufacturing and sales buisness to impress all those sexy female wargamers out there...no...am I off the mark...why are you deleting this post? :-)