Magic Zone Failure?

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Brad Henderson
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Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Brad Henderson » October 1st, 2003, 3:49 pm

Finally got around to checking out the Magic Zone in the local mall. Showed up and couldn't find them. Asked the lady at the information desk and she said, "They were here for a while, and then packed up and left in the night."

The Mall is probably our most successful. Some stores have two outlets in it. Is Magic Zone dying in other places or is this a freak occurance?

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Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Chris Aguilar » October 1st, 2003, 3:57 pm

I seem to recall reading somewhere that the one in the "Mall of America" didn't last either. Correct me if I'm wrong here.

If it can't make it there, then I have serious concerns about the viability of the concept. (Glossy ads and photos of Rocco with his very expensive car notwithstanding)

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Chance Wolf
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Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Chance Wolf » October 1st, 2003, 7:07 pm

The word I heard was that is their strategy. They set up camp, milk the locals and move onto the next spot. Usually satuarting the malls during Christmas and Special Events. Kind of like the cheap Carnivals that slime their way through town only I think they wear better clothes :D
Chance
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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 1st, 2003, 7:17 pm

I would suggest that unless you have actually spoken with the owner of a Magic Zone kiosk, or with the person responsible for renting space at a mall where a Magic Zone kiosk has been and is no longer, that all of you refrain from repeating rumors and inuendo that may not have any basis in fact.
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Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 1st, 2003, 8:19 pm

I have a lot of experience selling magic in malls.
The fact that the Magic Zone people stay only for a temporary period is quite normal.

Malls have the same people coming in day after day. Sooner or later you saturate the market and have to move on. The more items you stock the longer you can stay. If you have a vast array of stuff such as a store might have you may possibly be able to stay on a permanent basis. However, I imagine a "kiosk" may only have a limited range.

Once everyone has seen your "delite" and other few items they will have purchased or not purchased and it will then be time to go. The exception is if you are in some type of tourist environment and the customers change every week.However, this is unlikely in a mall situation.

If you only have one or two items such as svengali decks and various pitch items you really only have a week. Two weeks at the very most if it is a particularly busy mall. This is why pitch vendors often come in for special weeks where there is some kind of theme.

The exception is Xmas. You can stay several weeks because the mall is much busier and more people will be buying. Magic is an ideal Christmas present.

The mistake most people make when they go into a mall to sell magic is they pay the asking price.
Fatal.
The more upscale the mall and busier it is the more rent they will want. The rent is usually atrocious.
Sharp magic vendors will not pay this rent. Thney will do everything they can to reduce it or in a few cases pay nothing at all.
There are ways to do this. Tricky and it takes quite a bit of street marts to do it.
However, do it you must. You cannot possibly pay the rents malls generally require and succeed.

I have a suspicion that the Magic Zone people do not have this skill in rent reduction. I bet they are not given this training when they take out the franchise. However, as Richard correctly says
there is no way of knowing what really goes on in someone else's business.

I know what happens in my own business though. If I were daft enough to pay what a mall asks I would be out of business very quickly.

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Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Chance Wolf » October 1st, 2003, 10:34 pm

Richard and anybody else,
I did NOT mean to sound negative. I believe the strategy is rather logical for many of the same reasons as the last post. I know a lot of magicians get hot under the collar regarding this business...I am not one of them. This is America and we all have the freedom to conduct business however we choose within the legal limitations...well, some ignore that last bit.
Once again, if it sounded as if I were piling on or trying to burn the MagicZone folks, it was not intended. I was ripping on the Carneys clothes.
Take care,
Chance
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Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Geno Munari » October 1st, 2003, 11:37 pm

Read my previous post about Rocco and how he has copied my signature effect. Besides that they have pissed off some high powered people in Las Vegas by being not so Kosher.

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Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 2nd, 2003, 9:23 am

We had these kiosks in a couple of malls around here last xmas. Needless to say the people running them lost their shirts in the endeavour. A friend of mine worked at one and was owed several weeks of back wages. They paid him off in left over stock. He now has a lifetime supply of D'lites and sponge balls.
Like Amway the only people making money off of this venture are the suppliers.

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 2nd, 2003, 10:02 am

You have to know what you are doing. Not everyone does.
At Xmas time the malls really jack up the rent. You must be extra careful when negotiating the price going in.
You must have good staff or do the damn thing yourself. Providing YOU are good.
My staff would not have had this problem of not being paid because I pay them 25% commission on sales and I pay them every night in cash.
No hourly rate or basic wage. Commission only.
I sell stuff at a large enough mark up to do this. It may not be possible with magic Zone Merchandise.

My gut feeling is that to succeed with a "zone" you should hire nobody. It will only be the blind leading the blind. If it is a Xmas operation you must discipline youself not to go out doing shows. You cannot run a retail business in a mall and be running around at Xmas doing shows.

I am not sure what the advantage of a "zone" is anyway. There is nothing to stop anyone going into a mall anywhere in the country and setting up without having to go through one supplier only.

I haven't looked into this zone thing so I have no idea what it is about. How many items do they sell and pitch on a regular basis? Do they want some kind of fee upfront? What is the basic deal in a couple of sentences?

I suppose the advantage is that they give you a nice colourful "flash" (display). You don't need a zone for this though. For a few hundred dollars you can set up a good "flash" yourself.

One disadvantage of a fancy flash is that you are at a disadvantage when dealing with malls. They will love the flash and in fact may well insist upon it. The trouble is that a fancy flash will encourage the mall to charge you a fancy price to set up.

If your set up is slightly downmarket (just a table and a few signs) you have far more chance of getting the price down. Of course the mall may not want you if you go this route. So the objective is to get in with as much flash as you can use to keep the mall happy without being overcharged. It is not an easy thing so you have to be shrewd and experienced.And very, very street wise.

You cannot just jump in and sell retail in malls (or anywhere else)without knowing what you are doing. You will end up the poor house very quickly. It is quite a tough business.

Selling anything retail is tough. Selling magic is twice as tough. Look before you leap.

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 3rd, 2003, 9:29 pm

Hi all,

I have seen the ads like everyone else. Have considered two things:
1)What sort of customer base a kiosk in the mall would attract vs. what kind of money one would legitimately make, considering rental costs.

2)I live in Wichita, KS, home of Stevens Magic Emporium. I spent time (several years ago) working behind the counter, and Joe and Mark are like second family to me. I would not "crap" on family. Even if this were not the case, what kind of business would a mall kiosk do realistically against such formidable competition.

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 4th, 2003, 1:30 pm

You would not be competing with Stevens in any way.In fact you could be helping them but we'll get to that in a minute.

I rather suspect the type of people you would be working to in a mall would not be the type of people that would go to Stevens. I don't know very much about Stevens but I suspect they cater to magicians only or if not to people who are seriously interested in magic.

You would not be competing because as I understand it these zones only have a very limited range of products.

If Stevens have a retail outlet open to the public
(not magicians) you could actually help them by referring people who are seriously interested in magic to Stevens. Your range would be limited so you can do this. I would suggest you even get Stevens to give you some wooden nickels which give away a free trick if they visit. The free trick would be something which costs pennies.

I don't get the impression that Stevens cater to the same sort of people as you would. Of course you would know better than I.

However the point is academic because I don't get a good vibe about these zones and the money that can allegedly be made from them.

From the sound of it I think you could come out losing your shirt.

Be careful.

I admit that I don't know enough about the deal. Do you have to pay an upfront fee? How many tricks do they give you and is there any reason that you need to go through the magic zone? Robbins will stock a kiosk for you.And there are loads of other suppliers too.
What is the actual deal? And who arranges the mall? And the rent?
Just curious.

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 4th, 2003, 4:14 pm

I have worked in a kiosk based magic shop -- way back in the early 1970's (Paul Diamond's Magic Fun Wagon) and know that the margins for a magic shop anywere are tight but in a high-traffic mall they are miniscule.

And yet, I sent the $7.00 for the franchise information about the shops. It turns out it really isn't a franchise as much as a dealership for products from D'Lite. The positives, according to the info I received, are that the D'Lite effects are patented, well-protected by the ability of D'Lite to sue those that would encroach on the patents, and the great wholesale prices available through this agreement.

The start-up costs are reasonable but do include payment to D'Lite or the Zone people to get the initial supplies. They don't answer whether I could carry effects from other wholesalers.

You are required to procure your own kiosk cart -- more available now than in the 1970s -- and they will help you pick an exclusive territory.

They instruct you to start in time for the pre-October 31st holiday and run through to Christmas. They also suggest the business can be brought to flea markets or weekend market places.

I do think it would require the owner of the business to be a magician and to be able to manage a business with very tight margins.

It wouldn't make much sense to hire and train people for three months of work although the company does have a set of training videos and live in-service sessions to train your people on the proper way to sell the effects.

I'm a lawyer by trade and consider myself sort of aware of legal implications of dealer/franchise arrangements. I didn't see anything in the materials that gave me pause or that would cause me to think the it was deceptive or shady.

(I am not rendering a legal opinion on the viability or propriety of the offer the Zone is making or has made. No one should make any investment decision based on my statements but should secure their own legal advice based on their particular situation and the laws applicable to the parties in the state where the shop would be established.)

Legal disclaimer aside, I thought it looked interesting and would love to leave the law to become a shop owner.

(In saying this, I am not indicating that the practice of law isn't exciting and wonderful or that the ownership of a shop that sells magic and encourages young people to find the joy of performing before audiences and thus buiding their self-confidence and self-worth would be more exciting or more wonderful. Both jobs have their merits -- both give a person a chance to stand before audiences and try to convince them of things that may or may not be the case.)

For what it's worth.

Tim Quinlan
tim@insidemagic.com
www.insidemagic.com

(admitted in Michigan and Florida -- as a lawyer; admitted to almost every convention I am willing to pay to attend -- as a magician).

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 4th, 2003, 5:12 pm

I am not saying for one moment that the operation is "deceptive" or "shady"
I just think that it sounds unprofitable for the average Joe magician.

As I have already indicated and you have confirmed the profit margins in selling magic in a mall are very restricted unless you are very sharp and very experienced. Someone who buys into the zone thing will not be very sharp or experienced and consequently will lose money.

Again you MUST get the rent down. A sharp operator who is used to selling magic in these situations knows how to do this. A beginner in the business will end up paying $1000 a week or more for rent in one of these malls and think it is normal practice. I refuse to pay more than $500, more often $300 and sometimes nothing at all.

I can't tell you here how to get the rent down. It would take a whole chapter of a book which I shall never write on the subject.

I am also dubious about the training videos or "in service" sessions. It sounds very much like the blind leading the blind. Very few people know how to sell magic properly.Especially in a tough place like a mall.

Start up costs reasonable? There shouldn't be ANY start up costs!!! Not if the deal is that you have to buy products from this company exclusively.(I understand that the deal is that you are not allowed to buy from anywhere else although how they would know I have no idea).

You just don't need a zone. You can lose money equally well by not going through this route. Even if they give you "help" I still don't think it is worth the extra money that you have to pay them.

When you say "start up costs" I presume you mean this is paid to the zone people as some sort of fee.

As for a kiosk the mall itself will often advise you on this and even provide one sometimes as part of their extortionate rent. They often rent carts which are not suitable to sell magic from anyway.

As for "exclusive territory" virtually anywhere is "exclusive" Apart from a few resort areas and places like Vegas you hardly see magic being demonstrated anywhere. If someone sets up they go kaput very quickly very often.

I am still curious to know how many items Magic Zone provide. If you have a lot you have the advantage that you can get quite a few repeat customers and the demonstrator doesn't get burned out so quickly. The disadvantage is that you will get hordes of people hanging about wasting your time day after day just getting a free show. They will take up space in front of you all day long if you don't know how to get rid of them

I have operated for years selling no more than 6 items. Usually less. Most of the time only two with a lot of free giveaway stuff.

The only way I have survived is to have very high profit margins on the merchandise and very low rents where I work. Again I reiterate that the latter is vital.

Oh, and you have to be good. Very good. If you are not you are going to be in real trouble. And even if you are it can still be a struggle.

My main product is a trick deck of cards. The most I have sold in one day of this item is 478 units in one day. The worst I have ever done is zilch sales in a day. It was outside and the weather was bad.

It is not an easy business. Again, look before you
leap.

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 4th, 2003, 5:25 pm

Seamus:

I don't disagree with a word you've written. In fact, I think you might know more about what would be needed to make a shop work than me or most of the other posters. Thanks for contributing on the issue.

Tim Quinlan
tim@insidemagic.com
www.insidemagic.com

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 5th, 2003, 8:46 pm

Hi Seamus,

Stevens Emporium is, and has always been open to the public. The days of the "magicians only" magic shop has long since past. Yes, much of their "large" orders is for established magicians (Joe seems to know everyone...he was one of the original people who started the magic video tape business, and Joe started the Desert Magic seminar several years ago), but there is a lot of "walk-in" business off the street as well.

I got my feet wet performing many a birthday party from people calling in to request said shows.

So, in response, this would be competition to the "walk-in" business that they do (which has also started many a magician in this area).

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 5th, 2003, 9:31 pm

I don't know anything about the Magic Zone, but my families business is buying, selling and leasing shopping centers as well as publishing one of the major publications in the field
Re: making a profit by stiffing the landlord on rent. I asked me brother and he laughed and laughed. Temporary kiosks for holidays draw huge rents. And often a percentage of the volume
The landlords recognize these are often hit and run operations. Especially the succesful malls
And have contracts binding the tenant personally as well as corporate. With security deposits.
Occasionally a tenant might stiff the landlord for the percentage, but he'd never get in to a mall owned by the landlord or his syndicates again
If we're talking about half empty malls, they tend to be a bit more desparate and therefore lax
from
Ford

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 5th, 2003, 10:12 pm

Seamus - Don;t know who you are, but you REALLY know this business! I have sold magic and had shops in five states (Both Tourist Areas and normal suburban traffic areas...), and you have not only "Hit the nail on the head" you have pounded that sucker all the way in!

As for Bob1 comment...
"I live in Wichita, KS, home of Stevens Magic Emporium. I spent time (several years ago) working behind the counter, and Joe and Mark are like second family to me. I would not "crap" on family. Even if this were not the case, what kind of business would a mall kiosk do realistically against such formidable competition."

Bob...
Does Mc Donald's ask permission to build across the street from Burger King?

no.

Why do you think fast food places, grocery stores, gas stations, etc. all seem to be across the street from each other? Drive down a local street in your home town and count how many gas stations are at that intersection you are sitting at waiting for the lights to change...

Customers LIKE a variety! I would bet a kiosk (or even a full blown SHOP) in Wichita would BOOST "magic" for that area! I am not saying "look for a piece of property across the street from Steven's front door" (I doubt Joe would even let that happen.) But anywhere in the area would be good!

If a "new" shop opened, it might attract NEW customers who have never even considered the fun magic can offer - It all starts with a single trick - one the customer can easily do. With pride, that customer becomes a "repeat" customer - investing a little more money into the newest prop to make them a "Star"... (sound familiar?)

Soon, that little kiosk doesn't offer what the customer wants, or the customer has bought all the new shop has to offer that is of interest to him/her. THAT CUSTOMER WANTS VARIETY! He will search out (on his own, TRUST ME) the
"competition" shop(s)... And guess what?!? Your "Family" has gained more sales CHaaaaaaaaCHING$$$$$ ~ can you hear THEIR cash register ringing?) Thanks to YOUR hard work developing a bigger local market for magic!

In Las Vegas, Geno has the Tourist market sewn up with the "Houdini's" Shops... However, a handful of "other" shops (not really aimed towards the tourist trade, but they DO get the tourist in...)
do GREAT biz BECAUSE Geno's shops, (as well as many other shops all over the world.) STARTED many of these "soon-to-be" Magi's on their way!
("CHAAAaaaaaaCHING$$$$$$$$$$" AGAIN!)


Wanna show them ("Your Family in Wichita") you love them?

OPEN A SHOP! :)
Good Luck!

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 6th, 2003, 11:05 am

Mr Bubbles ( why am I trying to restrain myself from laughing out loud when addressing him as "Mr Bubbles"?!) has it exactly right.

Anyone interested in magic checks out ALL SHOPS in the area.

If the magic zone only has a few items (I wish I knew-nobody has told me yet!) then Stevens would gain from it. I happen to know that a local dealer here had a concession in an amusement park and used it to promote his shop. He would give out these wooden nickels that I have previously made reference to. If someone brought the nickel into his shop they would be entitled to a fee trick. The Nickel had "free trick" marked on it.
This nickel had a large part in building up his business.

This dealer has now lost his concession at the amusement park so I have offered to give out his nickels instead. It does not affect my business in the slightest and in fact helps me a tiny bit. It certainly helps the magic dealer.

I have so few items for sale that it is hardly going to satisfy a customer that wants to know more. I give out the dealer's business card as well as the nickel.

This of course is all academic since there are no magic zones in Wichita anyway as far as I can gather. However if there were (or any kind of small concession offering magic for that matter) it would not hinder and in fact help the established dealer. Provided as I said the range was limited. These kiosks tend to move on anyway so if I were an established business like Stevens I wouldn't blink an eyelid. In fact I would be pleased.

Now I must answer Mr. Kross. Nowhere did I say anything about "stiffing" malls. I said "negotiate" not "stiff".I have no intention of explaining the negotiation techniques.

I won't deny that on one or two occasions I have had to "shmeist" (as we call it) but I don't recommend this procedure as a habitual activity for the reason that Ford elucidated.

To go off at a tangent I well remember enlisting the help of a young lady (whom I am not allowed to name on the grounds that she hob nobs with the elite of the magic world) in doing a disappearing act from an unprofitable mall or two.

This kind of "flexibility" is necessary to survive in a very tough business. If you haven't got what it takes to "duck and dive" then you had better get a job in an office somewhere.

Ford has conceded in a round about way that the malls try to extract extortionate rents and ask for security deposits and suchlike. They insist on insurance and put other roadblocks in the way of entrepreneurs. Rules and regulations of all kinds covering everything to fireproof materials to behaviour of tenants. They want your display to look like something out of an upscale design magazine.

The sharp operator knows how to circumvent all this nonsense. Or at least as much as he can. I didn't say it easy to circumvent it, I am merely saying it is essential. If you don't you will go broke. That, I suspect is what most of these magic zones will do.

There are secret to dealing with people like Mr. Kross's brother. I have been dealing with people like this for decades. It can be done. ( I am not sure however if there are any secrets to dealing with Ford himself!)

With regard to magic shops in Vegas I must admit that my jaw dropped open to see two competing magic shops (not geared for tourists either) literally doors from each other. I just couldn't believe it! When I mentioned it to one of the sales people he said "that's Vegas!"

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 6th, 2003, 12:14 pm

Since you chose to mention my name,I shall respond
Everything in life, including life itself is negotiable. You mentioned in an earlier post that you could negotiate for reduced rent or nothing at all. I repeat, not in a desirable, succesfull mall at Holiday season. July and August perhaps
Or as I stated a half empty mall. My brother and I both negotiate all the time. How sharp a pencil I use to quote show prices is based on the fullness of my date book. The same is true of my brother. A mall with a waiting list of tenants, need not negotiate. Tenants are fined and evicted for the slightest infraction. It's important to remember, malls are erected to enrich the coffers of it's investors, not further entreprenutrism. Why else would people invest 100 million dollars or more
from
Ford

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 6th, 2003, 12:58 pm

I am quite delighted to see Mr.Kross here. I heard he was unwell. I sincerely hope he is feeling better. He seems as argumentative as ever. This is a very good sign indeed.

Again he is confirming that malls are pretty horrible entities to deal with. You must be equally horrible in dealing with them in order to survive. I have many years experience in being horrible.

You CAN get into malls during the periods mentioned.At low rents.Busy malls too. I have been doing it for years and years and years. There are ways. I have no intention of sharing this hard won information here.

I shall simply say that I will not allow any mall to get the upper hand with me. I will fine THEM if they try to mess with me.

This is no business for the faint of heart. You are dealing with ruthless and tough corporations and you have to be equally ruthless and tough in return.
In a nice way of course. I have malls BEGGING me to come to their premises.This of course puts you in a stronger position to negotiate.

Talking about being "horrible" I well remember working in a department store and I just couldn't get the money I was owed out of them. This is kind of related to the thread about slow paying corporate clients.It is also the reason I utterly refuse to let them put me in the "system" if I am doing an entertainment gig. Years of suffering at the hands of department stores who refuse to let me have my own money on time have hardened me.

I used to go up to their accounts payable department and found to my horror that they actually had a whole section of a floor dedicated to dealing with disgruntled suppliers who were not being paid on time. However, I had one advantage over these suppliers. I was actually IN the store and could bug them on a daily basis. Sometimes 3 times a day.

They hated me with a passion.They used to talk to me about going through the "normal channels" and "company policy". I told them that coming in to their offices was MY company policy and MY normal channells. I remember making some silly woman storm out of her office because I merely said something about opening up one of the cash registers and helping myself if they didn't hurry up.

I finally sent up my young lady employee that I mentioned before. She dealt with them in a softer way. She was very polite and nice to them but also firm. It was a kind of good cop, bad cop thing. We finally got the money but the woman from accounts payable said to the young woman "don't ever send that horrible man up here again, will you? Please!"

This is nothing to do with malls of course. I am just trying to say that selling magic can be a tough game and it behooves anyone that wants to try it to take a deep breath first.

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Matthew Field
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Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Matthew Field » October 6th, 2003, 1:46 pm

To Seamus and Ford -- many thanks for your expert views.

Seamus -- the Magic Zone which was operating in the very popular Crossgates Mall in Albany, (upstate) New York had about 10 items. Maybe less. They featured D'Lites, with a video (the one with Joe Rindfleisch) on a loop. They also had a few trick decks, a thumbtip and a few other items. There were 4 young demo'ers flashing the D'Lites at passers-by.

As of now, they're gone. I haven't seen the cart at any other Albany malls.

Matt Field

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 6th, 2003, 2:23 pm

Thank you Matt for the info. This is what I have been trying to find out. It sounds like the D'Lite is the main item. It also sounds like a Magic Masters type of operation with about 10 items or so.

4 young demonstrators? Oh dear. Road to rack and ruin I am afraid. Gulp! The blind leading the blind!The owner should be in there himself if he is going to be in with a chance. And even then the
prospects are doubtful.

You have to know what you are doing in this game.

A few years ago I passed by the Magic Masters place in Las Vegas. I saw the set up and was highly unimpressed. The demonstrators did not know what the hell they were doing. Some fool shouting and screaming into a mike frightening customers away.

I see they are no longer there. Surprise, surprise. Instead the Almighty Geno has taken over. No shouting and screaming this time.

I watched that operation too.

I was in New York recently and saw an inefficient operation run in FEO Schwarz by some company called Fantasmagoria or something. I only saw an hour of it so I suppose I am passing judgement unfairly in the same way that I complained about Marcus Renaldi passing judgement on an operation he saw for a short time in Toronto.

However, I know the business and was highly unimpressed. Especially since the place was unmanned for a great deal of the time. You have to be THERE to sell. I didn't like the negative comments passed by the salesman concerning a competitor either. He said this in my earshot to a customer.

I went to see the competitor at Toy's R Us (Marvin's Magic-a UK based operation run by the son of famous magician David Berglas) and to my unbiased mind it was a much more efficient operation.

I was quite surprised to see that each of the three young employees over there were really on the ball salesmen and very good at their jobs. I would employ any of them in a heartbeat. I was surprised at the quality because it is a pretty rare thing to see even one good worker let alone three. I think Marvin should pay them extra.I hope he doesn't read this last sentence otherwise he may feel unwell.

I hate to be negative but I don't get a feeling this zone thing is a profitable operation for people. Perhaps some person will prove me wrong and post here about their actual experience with this thing.

I will certainly agree that my musings on the matter are mere speculation and that to hear from the horse's mouth would be more enlightening altogether.

Robert Allen
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Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Robert Allen » October 6th, 2003, 2:41 pm

That the selection of items at a Magic Zone is highly limited doesn't surprise me, and answers a question I've had about them since seeing the ads in Genii:

The ads say "Patented products and protected locations mean exclusivity." I was roundly flamed in the Genii forum when I asked about intellectual property law relative to magic tricks, books, and videos. Since I got little useful information I came to the conclusion that most magicians do not patent their inventions(probably due to cost), and I was wondering how Magic Zone could sell enough of anything to afford patenting a wide variety of tricks. The answer may be, they don't have a wide variety of patented tricks.

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 6th, 2003, 5:12 pm

I bet the only thing they have patented is the D'Lite thing anyway. IF they have it patented.

In my younger more ruthless days I would get very territorial if I saw a competitor go into a department store in competition against me. It wasn't the competition that bothered me so much as the fact the fellow would be taking up a potential venue and cutting it off for my future use.

I would contact the store and scream blue murder about them selling my "patented" products.I would tell them that I had invented the svengali deck and had a patent out on it and I would be along to show it to them. I informed them that I was going to sue the demonstrator that they had allowed in and would be contemplating legal action against them too. I would be very polite and regretful about the latter.

The stores didn't want the hassle and always threw the guy out. Even though the guy would say there was no patent on the svengali deck the store didn't care. They just didn't want to get involved in legal stuff especially since the concession was no big deal to them anyhow.Usually the guy wasn't taking enough money to be worth the hassle anyway.

At some future point in time when they had forgotten my contact with them I would quietly go and work the store myself.

I am far more angelic now than I used to be so I don't do this sort of thing any more.

Age I suppose.

That and the fact that the competitor never lasts anyway.

Once I was in a department store and this store was an anchor tenant in a mall. I was highly irritated to see some fellow with a svengali deck display in the mall. When I got close to him I was puzzled to see him packing up. He didn't know who I was so I said "are you pulling out?"
He looked sad and said "yes"
It seems that the store itself had gone to the mall and kicked up merry hell at this fellow being there since they had me in their toy department doing the stuff.
The store being the anchor tenant (in fact the mall was named after the store) had a lot of pull so the guy got kicked out.
I was quite delighted to hear this of course but was amazed that it had all happened without my knowledge.
The store never did tell me.

Excuse me reminiscing. The one word "patent" started me off.

I have many tales to tell. I shall try to stop before my tongue (fingers) run away with me.

Renaldi
Posts: 8
Joined: March 17th, 2008, 9:56 am

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Renaldi » October 6th, 2003, 9:27 pm

I am directing this reply to Mr. Kross in particular but to all who have been following this thread and others on The Genii Forum.

So that no one is taken in, Seamus O'Connell has many aliases. His real name is Mark Lewis who lives in Toronto and peddals Svengali decks at a local mall from time to time.

Let me quote from Mr. Lewis's, Acknowledgment in his Svengal manuscript entitled "The Long and The Short of It."

"We've skipped out of unprofitable malls without paying for vendor booth space (I told you she was an escape artist!) and she's helped me put Canada's leading department chain out of business." (Mr. Lewis is thanking a friend in this Acknowledgment).

Is this the type of person or magician you want
renting space in your mall or doing business with? I don't think so!

And by the way, I go by Marco Renaldi for magic
purposes, my real name is Marc Linett. If Mr Lewis is unhappy with this post, let him sue me.

I don't intend to reply further but hope this clarifies a lot for Mr. Kross and others.

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 7th, 2003, 1:23 am

WOW! You boys don't pull any punches in here, huh?

:whack: NEWS FLASH :whack:

I don't think ANYONE can "walk on water", although I don't approve of anyone ripping off someone for rent. I am sure the Malls get "Security Deposits" to cover such problems - much the way apartment building owners do...

(And if they don;t, then they are not very good landlords, are they?)

Shouldn't a Mall have an interest in WHAT kind of merchant or WHO they place in their mall? I will, in advance, say it is NOT the Malls responsability to see that each of their merchants have profitable months - however, it WOULD be in their best interest to see that their tenants have the best opportunity possible...

I know the anchor stores get the best "help" - no mall wants to loose such a large renter, with the smaller shops next in line. Shops that "attract" customers to the mall are desirable (such as Pet Shops, Specialty stores that are exclusive to the mall itself, Service Stores with high repeated weekly traffic {Bank, Grocery, Cleaners, Salons, etc.}

Does a magic shop or Kiosk have a place here? OF COURSE! Most of the traffic flowing thru a mall would be the best demographics for this kind of store (Preteen/Teenagers)- Depending on the ACTIVITY OF THE MALL - if the mall does not encourage this age group (some of the more upscale malls don't!), then this would NOT be the ideal place. You would get no support from the mall itself, and this could be fatal to your operation.

Then there is the Holiday $eason. THAT is when you see Kiosk pop up EVERYWHERE in EVERY Mall...
And they fill in that open space that has sat there all year long with no one until the "kettle People" appear and Christmas Muzak fills the air...

Those kiosk cost MORE in rent for the two months (November and December) than the normal time of the year (of course, the mall is trying to make $$$ too, and it has additional advertising costs to consider, heating issues, etc...) The Traffic is thick, the percentage of success is greater, and the contracts for that space can be bargained with. I have been in malls where tenants move out before the holiday season (Rent goes up) and a large space is now available for a short time until a new tenant can be found. TRUST ME, a Mall will look at ANYONE with CA$H coming in, (And will give them a BARGAIN PRICE FOR THE SPOT), if they are willing to vacate when a new renter (with the proper amount of rent for that space) is found, that is offering something that might draw customers to THEIR mall over the competitor's mall.

What could put YOUR store at the top of the "consideration pile"?

Offer to do 3 FREE shows a day in that space! (Thanksgiving thru Christmas Eve)
(Can we say "DEMO SHOW"!!!)
Maybe offer to do a FREE MAGIC SHOW during Santa's Breaks (while he is out "feeding his reindeer") These "offers" can be used to help bring your RENT COSTS DOWN! It's really just a bartering tool. Very easy to do, and many malls would jump at the chance to have something to offer to their customers for FREE (and be a draw to their mall) If you bargain properly, you could get {FREE} advertising for your shop or kiosk by the mall advertising the FREE SHOWS ("sponsored by XYZ MAGIC SHOP")

There are MANY ways of getting reduced rent costs from malls - just ask yourself, "what do I have to offer of value to the mall?" Put yourself in THEIR shoes, how can YOU make THEM money - this will lead to making money for yourself!

Marco, The information Seamus has given (as well as everyone else who has chatted on this thread) is GOOD INFO - you would pay dearly to hear a lecture from someone who has obviously worked in this feild. It is up to the spectator to determine what is "right and proper" for his or her life and take away the information that will elevate them to a higher level of success.

A quick note - I spent 6 years working for a couple of guys who had up to 9 Amusement Parks contracts worth hundreds of dollars each summer - (with 3 to 9 shows in each park) - I watched and learned from these two men as they wesseled their way in and out of situations. Many of those situations troubled me (having been raised a more honest way) and I eventually learned many "tricks of the trade" thanks to these two guys... Things "college" could not teach me - basically, valueable "Street Smarts" for that industry...
As I tell clients today - "I learned what to do and what NOT to do from these guys!"
Hopefully, all who read these words can learn something too...
:p
Tiny

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 7th, 2003, 8:16 am

:help: It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm wearing Milk Bone underwear! :eek:

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 7th, 2003, 9:11 am

Oh dear! Tiny has given a good part of the negotiation game away!
Ford's brother will not earn a shilling now!

Actually Tiny has left out one important detail (Thank God!). I will not be revealing this and I ask Tiny if he knows what it is to bite his tongue if possible.Educating the masses is a commendable thing but there are some matters that people should have to find out for themselves.

To answer Mr. Linett I had no idea he was Marcus Renaldi. I always find it a peculiar thing when people use false names.

But to his point.I am a pitchman. Pitchmen are not social workers.Ethics and pitchmen are not generally a compatible mix. If they were I think it would qualify for entry into the Guinness Book of Records.

Mr Linett seems to be a lawyer from his profile. I would have thought that his profession has something in common with pitchmen. However we won't get into what. The astute people here will recognise what the similarity is.

I am NOT Mark Lewis. That is not the name on my various passports. I rather think that Mr.Linett is having an identity crisis. I do hope he recovers soon.

I will certainly not be suing him. As a lawyer he should know that you are always in a much stronger position as the sueee than you would be as the sueer.

Nothing needs to be clarified for Mr.Kross. I know the old monster well and can confirm that he is as sharp as a razor.

I will confess that he is correct in saying that people like me are not the sort of person that malls want to do business with. No-they want to do business with magic zone types who will pay them security deposits and put up with atrocious rents. Who are the real rip off artists here?

However, if you are sharp and have a bit of cunning along with a bit of blarney and charm the mall will often welcome you with open arms and sometimes give you free space. Why? Because you are an attraction! You do have that one thing over all the other vendors.

Still, as I have said there is another secret to getting in to malls cheaply. I shall keep it quiet.Ford and his brother are listening.

I wonder if Ford's brother lectures him on his wicked way of life. My brother does with me. Until recently he owned 30 stores and was a multi millionaire for about 30 years or so.He was very disapproving of the way I did business. He used to go into malls and do things the proper way. Ford's brother would have liked him.

Anyway he went skint the other week. Declared bankruptcy. That'll bloody teach him to give me lectures.

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 7th, 2003, 11:23 am

Seamus, your secrets are safe - as long as any savey up and coming magic business people don't think "common sense"!
;)
Tiny

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 7th, 2003, 12:03 pm

First to Mr ODonnell ,Lewis or who ever. My brother and I have an excellent relationship, he doesn't lecture me nor I him. He and my sister in law run the shoping center business very succesfully. As far as his opinion of how I easrn a living, he thinks I've found a way to avoid work
and meet single women
Regarding getting away w/o paying rent. I'm assuming that you'd want to be in a busy mall. Eighty percennt of malls in US are owned by three companies. Generally, when dealing with temporary tenants. Such as those who come in for holidays. The rent is an advance on a percentage of volume. Non rated tenants are asked to advance money. Yes, the tenants can beat the owners on part of the rent, by lying about volume. But if the owner suspects , he'll never get in to one of the owners malls again. And remember three companies ,80 % of malls.
Unsuccesfull malls are much more liberal, but can't supply the customer base to make a kiosk succesfull, IMO
This applies to the USA.Knosw nnothing about our neighbor to the north
from
Ford

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 7th, 2003, 1:12 pm

O,Connell, Ford. Not 0'Donnell.
You will never become an Irishman I am afraid.

Mind you I have the same problem.

I also see that on a UK group you said "here, here" when agreeing about the evils of exposing. You should have said "Hear, hear" That is what is said when agreeing with someone. Of course agreeing with someone is a rare occurence for someone as individualistic as yourself.

"here, here" is what you say when beckoning dogs.

I have been hearing lately about your methods of meeting single women. I have a feeling we had better not get into it. I must say that they have a certain unique quality to them.

But to malls. They try the American thing in Canada too. Of course they know perfectly well that the percentage given is a false one but they put up with it and threaten audits from time to time.
Suffice it to say that I have never given a percentage to a mall in all the decades I have been working in them.
They get a rent and that's it. And as I have already indicated they may not even get that. I only pay low rents too.
I have been led to understand that Canada is a very prim and proper place and is not grafter friendly.The mall managers are a little difficult to deal with. However the United States is a place of great crookedness and consequently is a much easier place to do business in.

I am sure a little bit of bribery and corruption can do wonders.
I bet if you were in charge of a mall I could do business with you very quickly and easily. I am not so sure about your brother.

Richard Webster used to do a lot of psychic readings in malls years ago.He stopped it when they wanted rents from him. Up to then he had got in free. Still even if you pay it can be very profitable. I have done it.

However many malls (if not most) in North America
look very askance at psychics and will just plain not let them in unless it is part of a psychic fair held in the mall. The way I have got around this in the past is to go in with magic first and when they have gotten used to me talk them into the psychic stuff.

Since your brother is in that business perhaps he might help you get into a mall in your area. Or perhaps you could organise a mini psychic fair. Just get a few (about 4 to 6 is all you need) and approach a mall with the idea. You collect a cut or a rental from the psychics and do your own readings too.Give the mall something but not too much.

Just trying to help you earn some money in your dotage, Ford. I think I would steer away from the single women technique though. The malls may not approve.

User avatar
Matthew Field
Posts: 2826
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Slydini
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Matthew Field » October 7th, 2003, 1:18 pm

Originally posted by Seamus 0'Connell:
You will never become an Irishman I am afraid.

Mind you I have the same problem.
Very funny, you leprechaun.

Matt Field

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 7th, 2003, 1:59 pm

Yes, from the non-factual ramblings it appears you are Mark Lewis. Some one, who I believe only contribution to the art is trouble making.
I doubt the veracity of your statements regarding getting in to succesfull malls. But if I'm wrong more power to you
Regarding psychic fairs in malls. In the late 197o's I was recovering from throat surgery and could barely speak above a whisper. To keep body and soul together, I worked as a psychic reader at Psychic Fairs run by Shirley Ann. Where my whispering was an asset not a liability
At the time Shrley was very succesful running as many as 1/2 dz fairs at a time in regional malls across the country.
At first she was considered an attraction, and paid nothing. Later the malls extracted fees.
Then by the mid 80's, (I was long gone) the malls
realised, that the fairs drew many people, but not many shoppers. So they ceased using Psychic Fairs as an attraction. Shirley Ann blamed it on religious zealots, but the only relion the mall owners have is bottom line. Shirly Ann now runs fairs in motels ion the NY/NJ metro area, dreaming aboutm recapturing her days of glory
I don't do any kind of psychic fairs any longer
from
Ford

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 7th, 2003, 2:07 pm

I have been led to believe that Ford is not averse to a bit of troublemaking himself.

He seems to have been rather quiet lately, though. Perhaps I can give him a new lease of life.

You have confirmed my argument that it IS possible to get into malls free or at low rent.The illustrious Shirley Ann did it.

Perhaps you should too.

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 7th, 2003, 2:22 pm

Magiczone has not been a failure for me. I've been open since Feb.7

I have done over $150,000.00 in a NJ Mall. I expect to do another 150,00.00 in November and December.

I am opening my Second location November 1st In Newark Aiport (Terminal C) which is expected to do 3 times the amount that my mall location does.

I can only speak for myself but i'm making a good living in magic and i'm helping to bring people who are curious about magic into are community.

So as far as the title of this post, It is very misleading.

Joe Rindfleisch

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 7th, 2003, 2:34 pm

Wonderful! I congratulate you!
I really wanted to hear from someone who has actually had experience with the thing.
Be careful with a second location though.Once you start to expand and hire staff that is when you can run into trouble.

The other thing that I have been led to believe is that when you set up in an airport you have to go through unbelievable security checks on your background. Apparently the red tape is quite a nightmare.

Anyway, I certainly wish you luck with it.

Chris Aguilar
Posts: 1837
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Chris Aguilar » October 7th, 2003, 2:40 pm

Joe R.,

Aren't you the fellow prominently featured in the splashy ads for the Magic Zone that recently ran in Genii? Your name seems familiar, but I'm at work and can't verify.

Out of curiosity, do you have any idea as to what percentage of Magic Zone proprietors enjoy the same amount of success you claim to be having?

And what do you think you do differently/better that allows you be so successful while some doubtless fail?

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 7th, 2003, 3:07 pm

Oh dear! Now I am getting suspicious! Joe probably owns the Franchise!Or his brother or best friend does. Or he is being paid to like the franchise!

I must admit an awful thought of duplicity crossed my mind when I saw his post but I decided that not everyone is of a wicked disposition like myself and I should have more faith in my fellow man.

I host a psychic infomercial and there are various "clients" on there that say how wonderful I and all the other psychics are. I will refrain from telling you all the ins and outs of what goes on but suffice it to say that the "clients" are rather well disposed to us.

Still, I shall suspend my scepticism for the moment.
That Chris fellow is asking sneaky questions. He is very polite but I know what he is thinking. I am psychic after all.
That Chris should be a investigative journalist.

Guest

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Guest » October 7th, 2003, 3:23 pm

Oh Dearie me, dearie me!
I have investigated the matter further. It appears that Joe was once a sales manager for D'Lite. I also get the feeling that D'Lite is the company that is the franchisor.

There is some scamming going on, methinks. I am wondering who is "misleading" who. Perhaps Mr. Henderson's heading is not as "misleading" as Joe's posting. Still I shall not pass judgement until all the facts are known.

I am beginning to think these zone people are just as crooked as me.I find this most commendable. My opinion of them has gone up a mite. Still, I musn't be hasty.
Let us just say that I am somewhat sceptical.

Beware Joe. The Almighty Kross lives in New Jersey. He may be coming to check you out on behalf of his brother. Perhaps you are in his brother's mall.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Brad Henderson
Posts: 4136
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: austin, tx

Re: Magic Zone Failure?

Postby Brad Henderson » October 7th, 2003, 3:46 pm

For the record, I thought carefully about the title of this posting. Based on the information I received from the mall I visited, it made me question whether or not these ventures were being successful or failing. Hence the use of the question mark at the end of the heading. It seems as if the one in my area failed. I wanted to see if this was typical of other areas as well. I think it was a fair choice of words.


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