Getting into the Magic Business

Post topics about the business side of magic.

Postby Guest » 09/13/06 11:24 AM

I have been giving serious thought towards going into business and owning my own company. I also have a passion for magic. I thought the perfect combo would be a magic shop. Would anyone mind how to get started. I really don't need a lecture or anything just maybe a little on the basic ins and outs of the industry.

the Student

Postby Guest » 09/13/06 12:00 PM

Having been involved with a number of magic shops/sellers you'll work long hours, make very little money (very small mark ups), be competing in a very unlevel playing field, go through any savings you may have and deal with some unreasonable customers....and you'll love every minute of it while it lasts.

Postby Guest » 09/13/06 01:25 PM

you will meet and become friends with some of the weirdest, some the best, and some of the coolest people in the world...

and as you'll find:
*The Ball and Vase still fools everyone
*The Svengali deck is under used
*Every grown man "used to do magic as a kid"
*Somehow, the linking rings are still a mystery to some
*People from all over the world will come by to say hello
*You won't be able to retire...ever

Postby Guest » 09/14/06 02:42 PM

Wow two very good responses. HOw do you start it. Who do you talk to to order magic supplies? What makes a good magic store? What make a good location for a magic store? I am really curious now.

Postby Guest » 09/15/06 09:41 AM

lots of patience...lots and hard work

Postby Guest » 09/16/06 12:17 PM

There used to be two kinds of magic stores: one open to the public and one that supplied magicians. That seems to have dropped away. Now there are two kinds of shops: brick and mortar, open to anyone with the funds to buy props and online shops.

The problem these days is competition from online sellers who have a manufacturer drop ship for them. They have little stock and no brick and mortar store to support. For many, it's a part-time way to make a few extra bucks.

If you are serious about this and have the financial backing, you should fly to Baltimore and sit down with Denny Haney. Hire him for an afternoon as a consultant. He'd probably talk with you anyway, but paying him a fee is a sign of respect...and you'll pay more attention to advice you pay for than advice you get for free.

Denny is a world-class performer who runs a successful shop. He is an honest guy and will tell you the truth. That's what you need to walk into this project with your eyes open to the reality of running a shop in today's world.

Postby Guest » 09/16/06 12:41 PM

Better still, go and work for Denny for a year if he'll have you - if not work for a year in any decent magic shop.

Postby Guest » 09/16/06 01:13 PM

Dear Student.

Do not ignore the advice of the last two posters.
They are sincere and right on.
I worked in a magic shope in Minneapolis for several years. I cannot tell you how appropriate and accuratre this advice is.

By the way. If you join the ranks of dealers, you will be among some of the nicest people in the world.

Al Schneider

Postby Guest » 09/17/06 11:09 PM

Al reminds me of one other extremely important ingredient of a successful magic shop beyond location, traffic, advertising, ambiance, etc...a good demonstrator. They are worth their weight in gold and vital to the success of a business. Pay them well, take care of them and they will take care of you.

Postby Guest » 09/18/06 03:30 PM

Is Mr. Denny on the forum or would it be possible ofr me to get his Email address

Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/18/06 07:48 PM

You mean Denny from Denny & Lee? Use google to find his website and then e-mail him through that.
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Postby Guest » 09/23/06 06:00 PM

If you really want to open a magic shop, visit some. Really. Learn what they carry besides magic. Some sell costumes. Some sell jokes and novelty items. Very few make it on magic, alone.

Besides all of that, though, you need, as many have pointed out, the skills of a great demonstrator. And you need an outgoing personality.

If you can find Al Cohen, spend some time with him. He was one of the most successful. And go to some of the former great shops, so you can see how important the right counterman is. Check out Magic, Inc, in Chicago and Tannen's in New York. Visit Denny Haney's place. The contrasts will astound you.

The skills of a demonstrator are different from the skills of a performer. A demonstrator will show the trick and make you believe that YOU can do it. A performer will show you the trick and make you believe it is impossible.

Postby Guest » 09/24/06 09:39 AM

Bill makes an excellent point about ancillary merchandise. I know of two local magic shops (one now defunct) that made the majority of their money selling Halloween masks and costumes. The owner had learned over the years that the six weeks or so before Halloween were what allowed him to stay open the rest of the year.

Much like most retailers who make 35% or more of their sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Postby Guest » 09/24/06 09:58 PM

I worked for a magic shop when I was in High School. The owner always made his nut during the week just before Christmas. You could always tell when that happened. Howard smiled a lot and drank a better quality of booze.

Postby Guest » 09/25/06 08:08 AM

Here are a few added thoughts If I may add. I have worked in two magic shops for my parents for over 15 years.

My suggestion is to learn how to run a business. Learn how to make up a business plan. The problem with most magic shops are is that they are run like a hobby.

Magic shops like the Houdini magic shops are a business first. As others have said some sell to magicians - some sell to the public - some both.

Be careful of the Halloween stuff as there are a lot of stores and business that have cashed in on the Halloween business and buy bulk at a lot better prices jobber prices than the small magic shops can get the stock for.

Don't expect magicians to support the store magicians will buy the most magic the first few years that they get into it. After a few years in magic they do not buy that much and they find other places to spend their money.

A good kind of magic shop is a small shop where the store gets a lot of traffic. Tourist spots could be a good idea.

Profit is made by selling stock and moving the product. I would suggest getting Don Driver's video's on the Svengali deck pitch. They are the best lesson's in selling magic - any kind of magic - that I have seen to this date.

And if you like this may be a good place to start by pitching Svengali decks that then build on that business to launch your first store. But also get a good education in business first and learn how to make a business plan.

Good luck!

Postby Brent McLeod » 03/24/08 07:30 AM

Great advice so far!!

Get a business plan first & foremost

Amazingly as mentioned Ball & Vase still fools a lot of people-I set up with a cushion on the floor to also palm & drop the ball quietly in a fast paced demo at magic shop & it fooled many people as a vanish etc

Svengali deck pitching made a lot of money upto 800 dollars a day-used on the street to promote the shop or at markets & festivals-always handing out flyers etc about the shop-You will meet some great people,many guys coming into the shop-all did magic when they were young etc...

Magicians wont support as mentioned but utilising the venue to run magic lessons etc in school holidays etc, Internet sales & always Promoting the shop...... -all helps

I wish we had spoken to previous shop owners as mentioned above would be a brilliant idea
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Postby Robert Newman » 05/22/08 06:30 PM

How to make a million in the magic business?

Start off with two million.

"A sound magician is a mighty god."
-Christopher Marlowe

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Postby Paul Gordon » 05/23/08 04:10 AM

How to make a million in the magic business?

Start off with two million.


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Postby Bill Palmer » 08/13/08 10:41 PM

Another thing that is absolutely essential is a good attitude. When people come into your shop, if you bitch and moan about things, they won't come back. You can bitch and moan to your friends, but don't do it with your customers.
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Postby David Thomas » 08/14/08 07:42 PM

I'm definitely no expert on any of this, but I would start a magic shop somewhere that needs one but doesn't have one.
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Postby mmreed » 09/16/08 01:58 PM

I can offer some advice of someone that has just been down this route and launched my own magic business. Brick and mortars need to be in a major metro area unless as a dealer and magician, you are well known and respected. The average magician will not make it with a brick and mortar in a non-metro area.

Even with metro area, you need location with solid traffic.

Honestly, unless you suppliment the shop with additional services, a magic shop makes little money. Even the giant well known shops such as Denny & Lee arent pulling in huge incomes. Denny does it simply cause he made his money in the past, and this is a passion and a source of continued living residual income for him in my opinion.

I love having my magic shop - but I do many other things to make an income. The shop is my passion - everything else is my income.
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Postby swamy » 09/26/08 04:31 AM

1. In today's scenario diversity in business is very important to survival. Therefore a business apart from magic must deal with eductaional and entertainment related products like puzzles etc will be helpful.

2. Apart from marketing products customers now days are expecting different kinds of services which also expands the scope of business. (this has been mentioned in the previous post also)

3. Those products which are not economical to be produced due to low demand needs to markedted in electronic formats so that the small group of interested customers are catered. Providing personalised services can also looked it.

4. Building organisational identity by name, logo etc.

5. Larger areas to be serviced using internet.
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Postby Lazaretto » 06/06/09 05:52 PM use to publish an ebook entitled "Wholesale Magic Buyer's Guide" which is very good...and now offer a "Magic Business Book"...which I have not seen. I am providing this information with the proviso that I take no responsibility for any future career choice you may make. I love the business...but then I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

Best Magical Wishes,

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Postby Tabman » 06/28/09 03:39 PM

You need to read my new book, Tabman Magic. The Magic business is filled with mostly super people and some not so super people. It pays to be honest and to keep your head on straight when dealing with some of them. Good luck.


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