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mightytimbo
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I'm interested in the idea of possibly starting my own magic shop once everything goes back to normal. I really like the way Tannens does business. Unfortunately you see a lot of magic shops scatter full of random tricks mixed in with whoopie cushions and rubber chickens.

If I was to do it, I'd like to really try to do something nice and focused more on magic for magicians, not just little kids. Something that carries legit tricks.

However, the only distributors/wholesalers I have been able to come across are the whoopie cushion/rubber chicken magic suppliers.

Does anyone know of a few good suppliers that carry the good stuff?
WitchDocChris
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Most brick and mortar shops go through Murphy's for general stuff, but you can usually create a wholesale account with most of the 'big' producers.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
TomBoleware
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I hate to be the one to tell you, but without the whoopie cushions and rubber chickens you probably won’t be able to make much money. The full time magicians rarely buy new magic. You will need the beginners buying the slum magic and novelty items to help pay the rent.

Of course this doesn’t mean that you couldn’t carry some better magic for the advanced customers. But the secret to a successful magic shop is to create new magicians and novelty buyers in your area.

As for as supplies, you probably won't find one source for all the better magic. Murphy's is good but a shop can make deals with some of the individual creators once you in business.

Good luck with planning,

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
Mindpro
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I agree with Murphy's Magic and would also add looking into Magic Inc. as I hear they are reassessing their future and may be more willing to work the wholesaling/distributor aspects of their business moving forward.

I agree that something more adult, more professional would be both inviting and welcoming. I can't tell you how off-putting it is when I might be looking for a book or say DVD to walk into a magic show and see the whoopie cusion/rubber chicken things you are referring to. How can a magic shop be taken seriously with this stuff? This kind of stuff distinguishes novelty shops from magic shops.

I think carrying things for magicians, balloonists, mentalists, bizarrists, readers, etc. would be a great foundation. Then like Tannen's have other offerings from lessons, to lecture series, booking services, and many other ideas I would implement that many magic shops don't offer.

I think the key is to offer a different business model than the same old tried and tired one most brick and motor shops use. I can think of 6-8 other things that could be part of a more contemporary business model.

However, you must also remember that Tannens' has a tradition, a legacy that makes it what it is today, plus being in a prime and premium major U.S. market.

The major obstacle is competing with online wholesalers, not novelty shops. This isn't the 1930s, 40s or 50s. You need a modern business model targeting modern approaches to the art, with the distinction between consumer products and pro lines.
Dannydoyle
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Magic Inc. may sell you their entire inventory.

All jokes aside I think that IF you want to run a brick and mortar shop you have to offer something they simply can NOT get online. The thing that made Magic Inc. SO cool in the day was the people who came in. It was a hang out. Jay Marshall had friends that constantly came in and out. The professionals that worked in the city and around came in to hang. It was a meeting place without being an SAM place. It was just a place for people to hang, go to lunch, hang, and go to dinner. This is the environment I believe if you want success you will need to duplicate.

The thing you can't get online is live interaction with professional magicians. It will not be a success overnight. It will take time and money. If you could get guys to do lectures they don't offer online and so forth. As Mindpro said there are several models that could possibly work depending in large part on location. You may not have a history, but nothing says you can't build one.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
TomBoleware
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I owned three Fun Shops for 10 years and I bought magic books wholesale from Magic Inc back in the 90’s. Of course there were minimums; you can’t get a discount on one book.

I agree that location is important. A brick and mortar place depends on a lot of walk in traffic and in most areas there are just not enough magicians to support a magic only shop. Sure traveling magicians will drop in from time to time no matter where you are, but that doesn’t happen often. It’s a nice dream to only sell items you yourself like, but rent comes due regularly. Smile

Today it would be hard to compete with all the online sellers working from home where they have no overhead costs like a brick and mortar place does. Even Ebay is competition for magic tricks nowadays. Search ‘magic tricks’ on ebay today and you will see 42,091 items for sale, and that doesn’t include magic books. There are 248,675 results for magic books. Seriously, I’m surprised any shops are open today. Same thing happened to all the many sports card and comic book shops that use to be open and now closed, the online sellers killed it.

I don’t mean to sound discouraging, I just can’t see it happening with a brick and mortar shop in most places today without having some side items for sale. This doesn’t have to be pure joke items, T-shirts, Masks, etc or anything to keep the cash register ringing. It's not a 'business' unless you doing business.

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

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Dannydoyle
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Tom I also think the way Bishops used to run works where you sell Halloween costumes for that month. That covers a LOT of the nut, but with the proliferation of the specialty pop up shops maybe that is not an option.

But I do agree. Without a side hustle, a magic shop is just a tough sell. Especially if you are not in an area like Chicago or New York or one of the major city centers. It just is not an easy road to hoe.

The absolute KEY is to have something that can NOT be found online. That magic of nobody knew who would just wander in this week was a huge hook for Magic Inc. Even WITH that though, selling side items is probably necessary.

The fact is ALL retail has suffered from the internet. When was the last shopping mall you saw being constructed? The ONLY good part is store front is far less expensive than it used to be!

I don't want to discourage either as I believe brick and mortar magic shops are an essential element for the growth of our art form. I believe you just can't get what you need from ONLY the internet. I think it constricts the art tremendously. I worked at Magic Inc. for a decade. But that might have been lightening in a bottle. Jay knew full well he was losing money and didn't really care. It was a place to keep his stuff and for his friends to come see him. He didn't make much money from the shop really. But he lived there and so forth. Again not an easy situation to bring forth. If you like food with your meals it is not an easy business to build.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
ezystreamlive
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I have bought a lot of stuff from https://www.ezmagicrobbins.com/ in the past

they are super fast at shipping as well and don't hike up the prices for shipping, USA to Australia in 4 days

I have also used https://www.funinc.com/ at times for trade show promo items as they can do some customized work: https://www.funinc.com/about/custom-magic/
TomBoleware
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Quote:
On Jan 27, 2021, Dannydoyle wrote:
Tom I also think the way Bishops used to run works where you sell Halloween costumes for that month. That covers a LOT of the nut, but with the proliferation of the specialty pop up shops maybe that is not an option.

But I do agree. Without a side hustle, a magic shop is just a tough sell. Especially if you are not in an area like Chicago or New York or one of the major city centers. It just is not an easy road to hoe.

The absolute KEY is to have something that can NOT be found online. That magic of nobody knew who would just wander in this week was a huge hook for Magic Inc. Even WITH that though, selling side items is probably necessary.

The fact is ALL retail has suffered from the internet. When was the last shopping mall you saw being constructed? The ONLY good part is store front is far less expensive than it used to be!

I don't want to discourage either as I believe brick and mortar magic shops are an essential element for the growth of our art form. I believe you just can't get what you need from ONLY the internet. I think it constricts the art tremendously. I worked at Magic Inc. for a decade. But that might have been lightening in a bottle. Jay knew full well he was losing money and didn't really care. It was a place to keep his stuff and for his friends to come see him. He didn't make much money from the shop really. But he lived there and so forth. Again not an easy situation to bring forth. If you like food with your meals it is not an easy business to build.


All very true Danny

I will never forget talking to Jay. I had never spoken to a ‘name’ magician and was so excited to chat with him. I had a shop that sold baseball cards and comic books and wanted to add beginner magic and novelty items. He suggested I also add a Halloween line since I had the extra space and he introduced me to Phillip Morris of Morris Costumes. A good business idea in the end.

I agree that today it would take offering something different from what you can get online to have any chance at success. It would be a fun project to put together.

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
Dannydoyle
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I believe it being a "gathering spot" is the key. But again location matters. Putting something together like that in Las Vegas might work if you could get guys to show up in and out.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Ray Pierce
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The glory days at Hollywood Magic were amazing indeed. Not only did we have a multitude of celebrities hang out but everyone working the Caste down the street would come in as well. The number of amazing magicians that worked there from Mike Skinner and Earl Nelson to a lot of the next generation didn’t hurt either. If you are in a tourist location with a LOT of foot traffic, there might be a shot. When Jonathan brought me in to redo the Wizards magic shop at Universal City Walk in LA, I decorated with a lot of magic effects but we did 3 - 4 Svengali pitches per hour. We would certainly demo a lot of other things as well but the main pitch made the money with all of the add ons we came up with (Video, Bonus Book, 101 EZ Magic Tricks, etc.) If you’re not in a VERY heavy foot traffic area, everything above is vital. You MUST make it into a destination... THE place to be. It’s going to be a tough slog now with the online vendors being so efficient with products but good luck!
Ray Pierce
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imgic
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Pre-Covid, I travelled a lot for work. As an amateur, I'd always check out the magic shops in whatever city I found myself. I've grouped them as:

- Legacy Shops. Usually smaller shops run by a magician that's been there forever. They own shop and have mainly magic products ranging from beginner to advanced. Often will have old inventory. They stay afloat because of low overhead and owner performing gigs. The shop is mainly something to keep them occupied.

- Magic Shops within other Shops. Maybe a small magic counter or corner of the store within (usually) as Costume Shop or Games/Puzzles. Quality varies. I've gone to some and they've had full time knowledgeable magicians manning counters. Others have had salespeople who didn't know anything, or nobody at all.

- Magic Shops with Performance Venues. Small stages or open areas that bring in folks for regular shows, birthday parties, special events.

- The Big Guys. The big well known shops (Tannens, Abbotts)

I don't think I've ever seen a shop that caters solely to established/practicing/experienced magicians. Every shop I've visits has beginner's tricks/kits and novelty items.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
gibby357
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Ahhhhh, this thread brings back memories of when I was stationed in the Navy, in New Orleans, LA. There was a magic shop down in the French Quarter off of Market Street. It was there that I met Doug Conn. I can't remember the other fellow Magician's name (Shame on me) but the two of them were great. I learned a lot and also was introduced to the harsh reality of Brick and Mortar shops. I remember inquiring on ordering an effect they did not carry. They did it and months later it slipped that they had to order 3 of them and might not ever sell the other 2. I felt bad. I also learned that the other Magi was doing Voo Doo tours around the French Quarter to keep the doors open and heat on. I traveled a lot, so one of my most favorite things was looking up shops in areas I was visiting. Now, those shops are costumes 95% and 5% magic. I too recommend Murphy's Magic. They are great IMHO! Good luck!


Leo
TomBoleware
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Hey Leo. It could of been Racherbaumer, lot of great magicians from there. Don’t know what years you were there but in the 60/70’s there was The Royal Toy store that sold magic. That was the first shop for me to ever walk in. Later in the 80’s and 90’s, the late Harry Anderson had a shop there. But before moving out of New Orleans and at one time he was open by appointment only. Not sure what is down there now.

In most areas its just not enough demand for better magic to keep a shop open today. The beginners and part-timers is what keeps magic alive and its easy for them to get what they want online nowadays. Full time professionals do the same stuff over and over, (that’s why they are good) and they don’t need new items that often. But then again, no magician really needs half the stuff they buy anyway. LOL

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
mightytimbo
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Wow guys. Thank you so much for your feedback on this. I really appreciate it. It's a tough consideration. I had a conversation with a magic shop owner not far from me and he mentioned that rubber chickens and plastic dog poop pretty much pay his bills. It just seems tragic for what something like that could be, and how magical a well done shop could feel.

But if the money isn't there it's a tough thing to make happen for sure.

Something to think about.

Good things to think about from the magic family as always.
TomBoleware
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Main problem is magic lovers are spread out so far apart. It would have to be a million-dollar superstore to have any chance at real success. And I say ‘store’ because ‘shop’ tells you it is just another small one room hole in the wall. You would need a huge amount of inventory. Think Wal-Mart.

I say Wal-Mart half-joking but look at it this way. Wal-Mart is a success in the smaller towns because it is geared to do business. If it were the same size as the competition it would not be a success the way it is today. Massive displays attract and it sells.

Yes, the World’s Largest Magic Store could work. But even there you would still want a huge online existence too.

Oh, and don't forget the display of bobbing head Copperfield dolls.Smile

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
thomasR
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Not sure how it would work now, but I always loved the Magic Masters stores. They were decorated like a magicians library and when you bought a trick a secret bookcase opened and you got to go inside a hidden room to learn the secret. This was my first introduction to magic shops as a kid and I still have the set of linking rings that my parents bought me back in the day - not sure who made them but they are excellent quality and I still use them!

As to your original question, I’ve personally ordered from both magic makers and Loftus. Loftus had the best prices, magic makers has better looking display packaging if that matters to you. I feel like the magic makers service is a bit more personal too.
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