objet d'art

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objet d'art

Postby CvdC » 10 Mar 2008, 22:14

I am trying to develop my mercantile side as means of becoming a more rounded person. I have been trying, with little success to get people interested in this product:


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There are many companies that will print designs onto all sorts of objects. I am thinking of producing this design onto ceramic mugs. I am told they are dishwasher proof and can actually be used for your evening cocoa. If anyone is interested in purchasing one or a dinner set I will have them made. How much they will cost is anyone's guess at the moment but I think it may be £5.50 but this would be cheaper if you wished to order a number to then sell as behind the booth merchandise.
other options:


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Postby johnstoate » 13 Mar 2008, 01:00

Like the concept, Chris, but for merchandising use, perhaps a variance in image, and the initial cost price needs to be a fair bit lower to warrant them being commercially viable, Cost + (min 50%) must equal sensible punter price, (My neck of the woods, -Maximum £ 4:00p )
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Postby James » 13 Mar 2008, 01:12

The PJF have been trying to do a T Shirt for a few years now.
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Postby johnstoate » 13 Mar 2008, 01:37

Seems like a good idea if it's commercially viable, But the margins are crucial!
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Postby CvdC » 13 Mar 2008, 02:59

Cost + 50%? is that the equation normally used?
How is that the PJF can spend years trying to do something that is quite simple. I thought either you do it or you don't. I had a friend who produced printed tee shirts once. Her philosophy was to keep the design small and you are more likely to wear it more often. Otherwise you end up with a wearable billboard. Seemed like good advice to me.
I notice you can also get plates done. Haven't seen any tea pots though. I gather the technology is that you can put any design onto any white ceramic object that can be heated to the temperature required. The decals are digitally printed and then heat transfered to the pottery.
You can do baseball caps but I am a bit loath to have anything to do with those as they are rather tasteless. There are sew on badges which can be sewn onto blazer pockets (although some find blazers tasteless). The PJF could do boy scout type badges. You could earn them. Swazzler badge, bottle a job badge, Covent garden attandance badge. Just joking.
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Postby Professor Eek » 13 Mar 2008, 09:35

If there was a small enamel 'pin' badge - I think it would be great success.
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Postby Michael » 13 Mar 2008, 19:22

I think the key to it is being prepared to wait a very long time for any return on what you pay out.

The Guild looks into this regularly. We have in recent years had T-Shirts printed, some for the anniversary (80 years I think) others more generic. I know Peter has took these to every event, advertised them in the newsletter etc, but it has still taken years and years for them to sell.

Likewise for badges. We did also look into the enamel badges, but unless you want to, or can afford to, buy hundreds and hundreds, possibly even thousands, the cost is usually very prohibitive. Even if we just made pence on them we would still have to charge more than what most people would be prepared to pay for a badge.

Although it seems like here we are surronded by enthusiastic people who would buy such products, the truth is only very few will. If then you look towards the general public to buy them, the product has to be very very cheap...and then is it worth you bothering?

A good solution for the PJF, something I am looking into for the Guild, is to use a site such a http://www.cafepress.com There you can set up T-Shirts etc with your own design and logo and put links to them on your website. Then those who want to buy them can and you get given a percentage of the selling price. If you are a small group this is a good solution, because those who want a T-Shirt can get one, without the group having to fork out hundreds and hundreds for something that probably won't sell in that quantity.
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Postby Chris » 13 Mar 2008, 20:16

Wise words. Michael is quite right. The general public are not going to part with £4 or more for a mug even if it has Punch and Judy on it. Why should they when they can get one in porcelain with The Simpsons, or Barbie, or a Disney character for £2 or so in the supermarkets.
And enamel badges are very expensive indeed unless ordered in thousands.
Even selling desirable objects to the fraternity is not particularly rewarding. The PJF have some good gear for sale, and the Guild have T shirts and DVD's. You'd think with a ready made market that sales would be more than a trickle.......
Those of us who are magicians know about the very high cost of Magic DVDs, books on magic and magic tricks. Some of us realise that this is due to the very high cost of producing anything in small quantities although the unthinking imagine that the dealers are making a fortune. In actual fact most dealers aren't all that wealthy.
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Postby CvdC » 13 Mar 2008, 22:24

yes you are both right.
I think I may just get some made for my own use.
You can get Tee shirts digitally printed as one offs.


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I suppose I could just make the artwork available.
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Postby Chris » 13 Mar 2008, 23:49

If you want a one-off T shirt - or just a few for own use - then you can do them yourself. You can buy, at PC world in UK, transfer paper in two types, for either a dark T shirt or a light fabric. You print these with an ordinary inkjet printer from artwork on your computer. You then iron these onto the fabric. The colours are claimed then to be washproof and dry clean proof.
Sounds like fun!
Perhaps you could print and sell the transfers Chris?
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Postby lesclarke » 19 Mar 2008, 19:07

As others have touched on, with any merchandise, as with printing, it's very much about quantities ordered, and small numbers usually result in too high a retail price.
This is of course because there is always a setup and other charges, and a higher cost per item for small production runs.
Unless you can DIY with your own screen printing gear it's always going to be risky. With teeshirts you've obviously also got to print in a variety of sizes, and you may get stuck with unsold stock.
I've fancied a classy pin badge of Punch, and perhaps other characters, there are loads of companies capable of producing them, but all things considered low volumes mean that as a purely commercial or money raising exercise it doesn't look very promising unless you can order in the thousands.
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Postby prof,fumbles » 03 Apr 2008, 19:09

There have frequently been the safety pin type badges available on ebay. I have checked on the cost of the machines that produce them and frankly they are too expensive for one person. However, it would be worthwhile purchasing one which could be shared in some way. If the “badges were attractive/fun enough for punters to buy, with discreet but obvious [yes, I know it’s a paradox, but politicians can do it] names and phone numbers woven into the design they could support your business cards. Perhaps even make fridge magnets.
I have also recently seen advertised a machine that will fuse designs onto coffee mugs. It was about AU$150.00. again not worth buying as an individual.
A friend came over for tea the other night, and as we reminisced in an atmosphere of malt whisky he mentioned the “ Co-Op in the UK oh, so many years ago.
Perhaps that might be the way to go. Share the costs. Unfortunately it will only work if there is complete trust.
Could not a generic product be produced [that’s a bit tautologist eh].
Perhaps a tee shirt with a basic P&J design. Produce it by the million, and then sew/add a personal/promotive insignia???
Maybe even two million!!
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Postby lesclarke » 03 Apr 2008, 19:43

Just noticed the bit about DIY transfers from a computer, I bought both types several years back. I've never used those designed for use on white tee shirts, and I think from memory you mirror reverse the image and the ironing transfers the image to the tee shirt, very much like printing.

I fancied images on a black tee shirt, so tried that. It's a white material that you print on, normal way round. You then iron on the top of it to bond the plastic type base film to you tee shirt. To stop the hot iron sticking to the plastic sheet you have use a 'silicone paper' sheet between it and the iron.
...and that's where the problems started!

Under accurately controlled conditions,( of temperature, time and pressure, ) I'm sure it works fine, but getting just the right temperature etc was tricky, too cool and it doesn't all stick down, too hot and the iron sticks to the 'silicone paper.' and the single sheet of paper is soon not doing its job.

All in all I found it a bit hit-and-miss... possibly someone more experienced with an iron would do better.
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Postby Chris » 03 Apr 2008, 22:01

Sorry Prof Fumbles, I have noticed a flaw in your suggestions (don't complain, you set yourself up). It's about these fridge magnets, and badges, and t shirts by the million with generic PJ designs, perhaps produced on a co-operative basis - one thing you don't mention is who is going to BUY them? Who on earth wants Punch and Judy designs by the million - with or without discrete telephone number advertising? Forget the public, it's hard enough to get them to pay for the show never mind fork out for fridge magnets.

The only people that are really interested in Punch designs are fellow Punch men - and we may have as many as 300 in Britain - that's a generous estimate some would say. And you can't depend on even the majority wanting to purchase a t-shirt, lapel badge or fridge magnet. In fact I would guess that very few PJF members, for example, have bought just one of all the items that organisation have produced.

The one thing that probably is viable is the one you dismiss - the tin badge making machines. They are certainly affordable - the cheapest new one I have seen is just a little under £100. You can doubtless find them much cheaper second hand since many people buy them hoping to make their fortunes and find there's too much work for too meagre a return. So they can be bought and used to produce badges for advertising give aways to children - which is what quite a few kids' entertainers do, or others take the machine to birthday parties and feature the making of individual badges for all the kids. Of course the parents are charge accordingly.

Generally producing things to sell isn't worth the candle. I'll give you a true example. I am lucky enough to run a permanent puppet theatre, which you would think a pretty good venue for selling things. The cheapest thing to self-produce is printed matter. Now in the early years of the theatre we were pretty much full all for every show and we would probably have in excess of 14,000 people during the season. Now we sold picture postcards, of the theatre, puppets and productions. We had six different designs. Now these had to be "real photo" postcards and were produced by Dennis, who produced nearly all the seaside postcards of the era. Their minimum run for a single subject was 10,000 so our initial order had to be for 60,000 cards. This meant that we could sell the cards at a competetive price with general cards yet offer a unique product, and we were making the then standard profit of 33.3%

Twenty years later we were still selling those cards. But this is not surprising - to sell them in less then you would have to sell a card to a quarter of your customers which is an impossibly optimistic proposition - and even less possible when you realise that a large percentage would be repeat customers. They might come year after year to see different productions, but wouldn't buy the same 6 cards over and over.

The point I am making is that under relatively ideal selling conditions it is very hard to even cover your costs with such sales items. You either avoid them, or write them off as publicity or vanity publishing.

Much better devote all the effort and ingenuity into the show I reckon.

I've just had a thought - I may still have some of those cards left - perhaps some of you would like to buy them - vintage puppet postcards!
I might try them on ebay.
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Postby johnstoate » 03 Apr 2008, 22:22

Maybe you could overprint them and use them as CHRIStmas cards? :lol:
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