So we are closing in on one year since we took the plunge and went from selling RPG books on Amazon and Ebay and opened our own standalone webstore. If you've followed our journey you'll know we did this without anything even resembling a plan and we quickly iterated through a number of business ideas as we grew. The advantage of starting a side business like this is you have incredible latitude in how you do things and you don't need to just focus on profit out of the gate and can instead do what interests you and try different things out. Honestly though this 'lean startup' approach to things has worked really well but now that we've hit on a stable and growing business plan the next year will be focused on really delivering (our marketing will stop sucking soonish :) ).
For background the biggest challenge we've had is finding a business model that scaled without becoming a fulltime job too soon. Quite quickly after we started we realized that selling individual books although a great excuse to have a positively massive RPG collection very quickly ran into problems. The problem for those of you wondering is not in selling the books but in getting sufficient inventory of books that have been out of print for decades. Another problem was dealing with orders that could take quite a while to fill. For these reasons we have essentially removed all the individual books and will be focusing only on our book subscriptions going forward. The subscriptions are awesome in that they let us keep buying book collections but don't require that we maintain a massive inventory. You may have also noticed that we've removed the ability to sign up for some of the book subscriptions. The reason is in order to preserve the quality (get enough quality inventory) we need to limit how many people are signed up. When and if people cancel we will reopen the closed subscriptions to new customers.
Something we were not anticipating when we launched it was the popularity of our dice subscription. We now have hundreds of monthly subscribers and are continuing to grow at a healthy pace. Early on the dice subscription just provided standard dice manufactured by other companies but our goal from the beginning has been to create our own dice that are only available through the subscription. Thanks to our successful Kickstarter late last year we will be making that a reality in April 2019 (maybe even sooner - stay tuned!!!). Our custom dice will all be limited edition and available only from LibrisArcana.com (or LibrisArcana.ca). Our goal is to launch up to 13 sets per year. The dice will be available massively discounted to our subscribers and if any are left after all subscribers have received them they will be sold on our site. We've chosen this model both because it is incredibly efficient from a shipping point of view and because it allows customers to get the dice they want without needing to rush to buy a set that may sell out very quickly.
Based on the fact that we have closed some of our book subscriptions to new sign ups you may be wondering if the dice subscription will remain open to new sign ups forever. Dice unlike out of print books can be obtained in mass volume so there is no physical reason why we need to restrict the number of subscribers. But that said we want to keep the dice subscription exclusive and we need to keep the growth at a reasonable pace to insure that all subscribers get the limited edition dice they may want without having to do silly things like keep multiple subscriptions running (a number of people are currently doing this). Early on when we would announce a really cool set of dice we would get a spike in subscribers (awesome) which would result in longterm subscribers not getting them because they sold out way faster then we anticipated (very much not awesome). We thought about not announcing the upcoming dice but we want people to have the option of skipping sets they don't want and not being open about things just seems wrong. Because of this we may periodically close the dice subscription to new signups just to control the growth and make sure the really popular dice go to the long term subscribers. Longer term we expect to cap the dice subscription at about 1,000 subscribers to keep the dice truly exclusive.
As far as other products you will notice we've dropped all inventory that we don't exclusively manufacture. This has made the site really sparse but our logic is simply that if a product is available elsewhere you can buy it elsewhere and we aren't interested in just reselling products someone else makes. Going forward we want to focus only on things we have developed and manufactured. To that end we are working on developing a couple of new products in 2019.
Thank you so much for your support if you have any suggestions on how we can do things better or product ideas you'd love to see us make we'd love to hear them either in the comments or at GM@LibrisArcana.ca