Help A Gamer Out

Now and then I get requests for help publicizing or funding KickStarters or GoFundMe fundraisers. Most of the time, I check them out and just pass on the links.

As with any crowdfunded project, invest or don’t according to your interest and ability. Use your judgement and caution when deciding if you want to toss money at something.

Today, I have two different projects to share with you. One is from a friend of mine, who DIDN’T ask me to share her project, but she’s a friend and you all know how I am about my friends. I’ll do anything I can to help them out.

She and her husband have a blog about them playing through their video game collection at https://funkgaming.wordpress.com/ and both of them are regulars at my store. She’s also a music teacher and is trying to raise money for her classroom. Here’s the link to more info and how to help:  http://www.gofundme.com/vkvgx2a

The next project is a Kickstarter- for a game store. I got his information passed to me (he didn’t approach me directly) and I decided I wanted to ask him some questions. I emailed him and he agreed to an interview. Here’s his KS and the interview.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wargames/wargames-a-new-store-that-does-what-all-stores-sho

1) Have you ever run a  retail business before? If so, please tell me about it. 

I have not owned a retail store but have managed mobile phone stores many years ago and for the last 10-15 years have been in the motor trade (automotive retail) as a troubleshooter and business adviser. I was responsible for assessing prestige dealerships such as Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes etc and would implement changes and processes within the sales department to increase both sales and profit margins. This included having a strong grasp on customer service and desire plus stock profiling and display.

2) What experience do you have with KS and backing projects? 

I have been aware of but never used KS until now and it was through discussion with friends that I decided to give it a go. There where 2 reasons behind the campaign. 1 was to gain the £5k shortfall in my business plan and the other to put some marketing out there for the store to make people aware whilst gaining their response

3) How long have you been in the Liverpool area? How long have you been gaming?

I have lived in the area all my life (36 years) and have travelled and worked all around the UK (we are only small in comparison to the US lol) so know the area and demographic very well. I am actually opening in a seaside town called Southport 15 miles north of Liverpool as the cost of opening in Liverpool city centre is nearly double and whilst there would be more footfall there would also be a much higher theft rate as the city is full of teenage delinquents who love nothing more than the chance to lift something for free. I have been gaming for 20 plus years but had a BIG break and have been back into mainly 40k for 3/4 years nw. I want to play lots of other games systems but there simply is not anywhere to do it. Hence the location of the store

4) Your store is in the UK. I see mention of memberships on your KS page. Are you a club, then? 

I will be both a gaming store and hobby centre so will charge a membership for playing on the tables whilst visits for any other purpose (ratil or chill and coffee) would be free. My playlist of youtube videos has one that covers this specifically.

5) If not, please explain what the membership fee is for. What benefit is a membership to an international backer?

Members would have unlimited free access to the tables and also would get priority booking on events and tournaments etc

6) Your KS claims that your store will do what all stores should. What market research have you done to find out what potential customers want? What I am getting at with my question is this: how do you know what “all stores” should do? and why didn’t you include the category “game store” instead of “all stores”? 

There is a stereotype of  gaming stores over here and that is a small dark and smelly cave with crammed boxes in order and a generally uninviting atmosphere. I intend to have a large space (retail floor alone is 1250sqft) that will be bright and spacious with well displayed stock and plenty of gaming tables available for general and demo play. The walls will be white with a light oak floor and the air will smell as clean as I can make it. The lighting will be spot on and should welcome NEW recruits to the hobby and not deter parents and partners from stepping in. There will be snacks and drinks available plus toilets on site (something very few stores here have) with a large chillout area for ppl to play rpg, ccg and board games. Another level will have a big hobby build and paint area for customers to sit and chat whilst building their new army.

7) Have you read any of the articles in this series:  http://www.houseofpaincakes.com/search/label/Musings%20of%20a%20Game%20Store%20Owner

or  http://blackdiamondgames.blogspot.com/ ? If not, is there a mentor or business adviser with knowledge of the FLGS industry you can refer to when you need advice? 

I had read your post on the house and will read the other after sending this mail. I have looked at lots of different blogs, videos and chat and am trying to accommodate all the best advice moving forward although I know the path will not be simple

8) What’s your experience in online sales? How will you fulfill shipping? How long will it take from an order to delivery?

I have dealt with online retail of vehicles which is arguably more cut throat than minis as the value is bigger and percentages seem higher on thousands rather pounds. You have to accept that internet buyers look for generally the cheapest product and that will not be me. I will be competitive but not the cheapest. I will however have deep stock levels that will be LIVE and honest and offer free shipping (48 hours in stock, within 10 days if out of stock ) on orders over £30 plus no charge for cards or paypal. The items will be picked from the shelves immediately and packed for that days collection.There will also be a loyalty scheme in operation both instore and online that will see a point per pound and give an extra 10% upon every 250 points earned

9) Do you have employees? How many? What is their experience in games and gaming like? How did you hire them? 

There will be me plus 2 other staff working in the store so that there will ALWAYS be 2 ppl on the floor meaning demo games do not have to be interrupted to answer phone or man the till. As the business grows so will the staff I hope. I have one person in place and he is an expert in other game systems that I do not know well. I will hire on a similar style platform to all the ppl I have hired in the past and that comes from gut instinct if I can spend time with them. They will need to understand as many game systems as possible and also be great with customers both young and old.

Ultimately I have a lot to learn about the actual games systems but am a firm believer in putting the horse before the cart rather than the other way. Yes I am a hobbyist but I am businessman first. Please take a look at my youtube channel as this will forma part of my business and has much more info on the kickstarter campaign available.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEoRu9-Blz6dHLgMVNxETZmYyX-pCuh4H

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