We have passed our official one year anniversary here at The Gayme. There have some been some highs and some lows on the way.
We started our journey on Kickstarter as many of you know. Our goal of $2,000 was met in one day and from there we were off. We ended that journey with just over $5,000 in sales, but little did we know that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Now, we were responsible for manufacturing 1,000 copies of The Gayme and delivering it to our first 200 customers. This was no easy task.
"Finally, by January Gayme customers had their copies, but there was a catch. Matt and I had not even seen the finished product."
Working with Ad Magic, the company behind the production of Cards Against Humanity, we were able to order 1,000 copies from a factory in China. Once we submitted all of our files and artwork, everything was out of our control. That was tough for us, both Matt and I (Cam) like to have some control over what we're doing. Now we had to let go of our baby and put it in someone else's hands.
The production time stretched much further than initially expected due to a number of circumstances including a widespread protest by port workers in LA. Meanwhile, our Kickstarter customers, whom we promised would receive their Gaymes, were getting antsy. September became October which then became December. Finally, by January Gayme customers had their copies, but there was a catch. Matt and I had not even seen the finished product.
By the time The Gayme shipped we had no clue what the final product actually looked like until it arrived at our doorsteps. Thankfully, Ad Magic did an amazing job. The product was just as high of a quality as we could have expected. We were actually blown away at how beautiful the box looked. Now, our second big challenge: how the hell were we going to sell these remaining Gaymes?
They have a potpourri of fees that eat into your profit margins, but they also are incredibly organized and efficient.
Anyone who uses Amazon for fulfillment knows that they are both amazing and terrible at the same time. They have a potpourri of fees that eat into your profit margins, but they also are incredibly organized and efficient. For the remaining 750 copies of The Gayme (we pre-sold some during manufacturing), we essentially had one year to sell them all before the fees ripped apart our profit margins. For background, Amazon charges many fees, but the long term storage fee for products stored at their fulfillment centers over a year is essentially the dagger in the heart. If you have not sold your inventory by then, get ready to pay big bucks.
"I'm not sure we fully understood this when we first started using Amazon's FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon), but we still were obviously trying to sell The Gayme as best as we could."
We started 2015 we a steady trickle of sales, but things really started to pick up when we signed up for Pride events. All in all we did Denver Pride, LA Pride, NYC Pride, and Chicago Market Days in August. Wow, each event was just as fun as the last. We seriously had too much fun. Meeting everyone, trying to sell The Gayme, it was such a rush. Of our four Pride events, I can say that we sold the most copies at Market Days, although we ran out of copies at LA Pride on the first day. I can also say that 3 of 4 events were profitable, very profitable. One of the events we broke even due to the cost of the event, housing, flights etc. I'm sure you can guess which one that is ;)
After Pride we came down from a big high. Literally it was like eating a bag of rainbow sugar and then crashing. We didn't want it to end, but pride was over. In that month, we sold hundreds and hundreds of copies of The Gayme. What was our next move?
This was a crossroads moment for The Gayme. Why? Because we were also starting to run low on inventory. We had to balance between investing in a new stock of Gaymes, and spending money on marketing and events. So we did two things. First, we did a Facebook advertising campaign. I will do an in-depth post about that, suffice to say, it was very successful and I would highly recommend it. We received a very real boost from advertising on Facebook. The second thing we did was start preparing our next order of copies for The Gayme.
While all of this is going on, we are getting warnings from Amazon about the remaining inventory that in a few months would be charged the 1-year inventory fee... After being cash rich from all of our Pride events, we were now in a position of having to carefully plan our finances. So what happened? As we approach the deadline for our long-term storage fees, it's not an issue because our Gaymes are all but sold out!
What's next for 2016? We ordered our next shipment of Gaymes and are preparing our calendar of events for the year. We made some minor changes to the box and some cards as well, but The Gayme is the same overall. We also have a number of store partnerships that sell The Gayme. Things are looking good for The Gayme and we are excited for 2016!