I think it's probably time for a recap on how things have been going for Anomia lately. This is pressing as I just realized that there was a (gasp!) 5 month gap between my last two blog entries. For shame! Oh well, as much as I enjoy the NYTimes' You're the Boss blog' I may have to put aside my aspirations to be a bleeding-edge business blogger for the time being.
In a nutshell, things have been going extremely well. As you might know, Anomia won the Mensa Select award in April. This led to lots of national and international interest from various people in the toy industry. As a result of this interest I took on a whole slew of new retail accounts. In January, Anomia was available in 3 stores in the Boston area. By the late spring, Anomia was available in about 40 stores around the USA and I think one store in Canada. The Mensa award was also responsible for attracting Anomia's first international distributor. I'm lucky to have signed on with Eureka Concepts to handle Anomia distribution in Australia. (See previous post).
As Spring 2010 came to a close my first printing of 2,500 games was rapidly dwindling. Time to reorder! I bit the bullet and doubled the quantity. So, first printing: 2,500 games. Second printing: 5,000 games.
Looking back over my first year in business, I see it took me about 11 months to sell through my first 2,500 games. I sold a lot of these games directly to individuals via my website and Amazon.com.
I figured, with a growing base of retailers and a shift, on my part, away from selling games to individuals and toward selling whole cases of games to retailers, I should be able to sell through the 5,000 copies in the next year. Boy, was I wrong.
In June, I attended the American Specialty Toy Retailers Association (ASTRA) conference in Providence, RI. I was first made aware of ASTRA by Elaine Hackney, who owns Boing! Toys in Boston, Mass. Elaine was the first retailer to carry Anomia. I have gone to her continually with questions about how things work in the toy industry and she always gives me great advice.
Elaine encouraged me to join ASTRA and to go to the conference in Providence this year. She said it would be a great way to connect directly with independent retailers from all over the country. She was right. The response at the conference was amazing. Anomia Press took on over 100 new accounts and it was very clear that the word about Anomia was spreading among retailers.
As a direct result of the ASTRA conference, we sold through all 5,000 units of the second printing in about 2 months!
Word continues to spread. Anomia is now in approximately 250 stores, and the list is growing every day. I just received my third print run of 7500 units (I ordered 10,000, but there was a problem with this printing which caused the manufacturer to short the order by 2500 units), and have already placed another order for an additional 10,000 to be sure I have enough to get through the holidays. As of right now, I have already sold half of my 7,500 units from printing #3.
Also, of note, we just sold our 10,000th copy of Anomia!
Of course, everything is not all roses. There are a lot of late nights spent invoicing orders, stuffing envelopes, and trying to understand the subtleties of QuickBooks. In addition to Anomia Press, I have a full time job, two kids and my wife works full time as well. Suffice to say that we get a little fried at times just trying to keep up.
It's also hard to maintain this type of growth without an endless supply of capital. I've been lucky in getting some short term loans and am looking into some other investment options for the long term. Ideally, I'll be able to create some expansion packs for Anomia, as well as develop a few new games that have been kicking around in my head lately. I never really fully grasped the phrase "Cash is king" until I had my own business. Actually Cash is King and Time is King as well.
Well, onward and upward. I have a few more updates to make about Candian distribution, another important award (shhh), and a new book by Workman Publishing, but I will save these for subsequent posts.
I'm excited to announce that Anomia is expanding it's reach overseas. I recently struck a deal with Eureka Concepts Pty. Ltd. to distribute Anomia in Australia. This past March, Luc Marin, Eureka Concepts founder and managing director, reached out to me on LinkedIn after the Boston Globe ran a piece on Anomia. It took me & Luc a few months to work out a deal, and then it took a few more months for the first shipment of Anomia to make it's way across the world to Sydney.
It's amazing to think of Anomia nestled inside a giant container ship, chugging across thousands of miles of open ocean, until finally arriving to confound and befuddle a (hopefully) inordinate number of Australian citizens!
Luc informed me that the games finally arrived safely. What a relief! I had been worried about all sorts of things like pirates, the Bermuda Triangle and even rogue waves. (Ok, maybe not worried, per se, but my imagination did run through a few improbable scenarios while the games were in transit.)
So, if you have friends & family in Australia, let them know that Anomia has arrived!