Author Topic: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...  (Read 53426 times)

Offline Big Boris

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Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« on: July 07, 2011, 10:07:59 AM »
The good news - there was no Corporation Tax for Heresy to pay for the 2009/2010 financial year. The bad news - this is because we didn't make ANY PROFIT.

Now, as much of a relief in the short term as not having to pay tax is, it is bad news. This business cannot continue without profit. So literally, either people need to buy things, or that's it. Done. Finished. Kaput. I'm well aware that I need to release more models, but without money to pay sculptors or Craig's wages, that isn't going to happen because I end up doing all the menial work myself. As it is, i have to do all the remoulding, casting of masters and even casting of some figures that Craig just can't seem to get out of the moulds without them being all shiney and horrible. I also have to answer emails and do all the admin stuff and this means less and less actual proper time (and just as important, less motivation) to just sit and sculpt. It's a vicious circle. I haven't touched a sculpting tool since before a few weeks before Salute. Lack of enthusaism partly. I am burnt out from almost ten years of non-stop effort and hand-to-mouth living regarding Heresy.

So, a 'heads up'. Use it or lose it.

Offline fredox

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2011, 10:39:55 AM »
Not good news at all. But, saying that it's better to know than just getting a message saying there's no more Heresy.

Time to put a shopping list together me thinks.

Offline beefcake

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2011, 10:56:46 AM »
Oh Crapola. Not good news at all. Have to look into making another order.

Offline Bungle

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2011, 11:44:23 AM »
Bugger. I'll have to look through the to paint pile and see if I have missed anything.

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Offline Gangrel

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2011, 12:23:46 PM »
I've been meaning to put a small order together, so time to get my finger out. Need to contact an Aussie mate about getting a few figures for him too.
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Offline ballistic_bro

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2011, 03:24:07 PM »
That's not good news. Hopefully be able to put a small order in soon. :smile:
Hopefully adding the Spyglass range to your will help boost sales, aswell. :roll:
Here's hoping things pick up. :thumbup: :smile:
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Offline Penfold

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2011, 06:10:46 PM »
Will have to make next order a bit bigger than the last then  :wry:
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Offline Orc Man

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2011, 06:25:05 PM »
Well, come tomorrow I have a fair order planned for Heresy. (Tomorrow's payday)

Which will include some of your lovely sci-fi troopers for certain.

Offline Tasker

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2011, 07:13:49 PM »
Bugger... Going away for a few days soon so most of the next pay packet is already spoken for.

Having said that though, i've been meaning to order a shed load of stuff from Heresy so i'll make it a priority to put an order in as soon as possible after I get back.

I know the sale will probably be over at that point but i'm not too fussed. For companies like Heresy I prefer to pay full price anyway.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 07:16:32 PM by Tasker »
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Offline Mr Teufel

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2011, 11:27:13 AM »
I've been meaning to put a small order together, so time to get my finger out. Need to contact an Aussie mate about getting a few figures for him too.
Now's the time. The Aussie dollar has hit a record high against the pound.

Offline beefcake

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2011, 11:36:04 AM »
Used to be 3 pounds to the $NZ now its 1.9 pounds to the NZ dollar. probably cheaper to buy stuff from the UK and get it shipped than buy it over here.

Offline Tiacapan

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2011, 05:40:41 PM »
Fair enough, a goblin army it is then.
Wake me when it's all over.

Offline Gangrel

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2011, 06:39:33 PM »
I've been meaning to put a small order together, so time to get my finger out. Need to contact an Aussie mate about getting a few figures for him too.
Now's the time. The Aussie dollar has hit a record high against the pound.

It doesn't really matter to me. It's for an Aussie gamer who did a great favour for me. I owe him good stuff! I just need him to tell me what he'd like and I'll buy it for him and send it over with some other bits I've collected for him.
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Offline clam

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2011, 11:58:40 AM »
Really bad news. Would really, really hate see Heresy go OOP - even there hasn't been much for me lately.

That said, if you really feel fed up, lack enthusiasm and burned out, perhaps it is time to call it a day. If you don't feel for it any more, I really don't think any of us can save it. Hopefully this is just a phase you are going trough, though (like all of us have probably tried).

Oh, and my orders are in ;)

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Offline Big Boris

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2011, 02:02:48 PM »
Nah, just a burn-out - I think it has a lot to do with not having windows in my office, and spending too many days in there - I wasn't taking weekends off or anything for months in a row due to pressures of the job.  My whole life was either in that office or in the post office or in asda.

Since the enforced Not-in-office period I have spent my free time in the last few weeks re-reading the (Game of Thrones) A Song of Ice And Fire series by Geroge RR Martin, and it's great to get away from miniatures in the evenings and weekends. Can feel my desire to sculpt coming back. Also trawled through all the bits of old greens in my drawers which is always motivational for 'having another go' at something.

Offline gi6ers

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2011, 03:33:23 PM »
Hopefully my little order helps in some way Andy, how 'bout a painting contest to get folks buying?

Other than that I can only think of doing more regular releases to get some traffic on the site....I saw some people moaning about the website and personally I think it's fine.

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2011, 05:39:06 PM »
Quote" I'm well aware that I need to release more models, but without money to pay sculptors or Craig's wages, that isn't going to happen because I end up doing all the menial work myself. As it is, i have to do all the remoulding, casting of masters and even casting of some figures that Craig just can't seem to get out of the moulds without them being all shiney and horrible. I also have to answer emails and do all the admin stuff and this means less and less actual proper time (and just as important, less motivation) to just sit and sculpt. It's a vicious circle. I haven't touched a sculpting tool since before a few weeks before Salute. Lack of enthusaism partly. I am burnt out from almost ten years of non-stop effort and hand-to-mouth living regarding Heresy." Quote

I am sorry that you would contemplate closing Heresy Miniatures.  From a business point of view this is my 2 cents worth:

"I'm well aware that I need to release more models"

From a buyers point of view, that is usually a large determinator of success for a miniature line, but not always the main reason.

"without money to pay sculptors or Craig's wages, that isn't going to happen"
You just acquired Spyglass, which is, at least, a good decision when you can afford it. If you close Heresy, does that mean you close Spyglass as well?  Maybe this line will kick-start your sales as soon as they are released.   A burst of sales at this point will be of no help to the future health of Heresy.  While immediate sales will give you some relief in paying your employee or to invest in the metal it takes to put out your new releases and the Spyglass minis or even a few new sculpts, the income will die back again and you will be left in the same position.  You need to work toward the long term.

"I end up doing all the menial work myself. As it is, i have to do all the remoulding, casting of masters and even casting of some figures that Craig just can't seem to get out of the moulds without them being all shiney and horrible. I also have to answer emails and do all the admin stuff and this means less and less actual proper time (and just as important, less motivation) to just sit and sculpt. It's a vicious circle."

Since you have an employee who does not seem to be able to do the tasks you set for him, why don't you train him to do the admin work instead, freeing you up to do the mould making and casting which you seem to have to do anyway?  Or, better yet, take the time to stand over him and train him on mould making and casting until he can do it in his sleep and to your satisfaction.  If you think you don't have the time to do this, you need to re-evaluate your commitment to your business and your sanity.  Seems to be a good investment of time that will free you up in the future to sculpt.

Over here, business owners will tell you that owning and running your own business  is more than a "throw up a sign and open your doors".  It is not unusual for owners  to work 12-14 hour days, 6 or 7 days a week to keep their doors open.  Vacations are low on the list of priorities and some never see a vacation in their lives.  They are tied to their business, and know it is the only way they can be successful. If they find themselves looking down a financial shotgun, as you seem to be doing, they tighten their belts, get rid of everything non-essential (including employees that are non-productive) and do the work themselves until they are on good financial footing again.   If less than this level of commitment burns you out now, you might as well close your doors.  It does not seem logical to think you can have a successful business if you do not have your head and your hands in every facet of your business.  Somehow, time off is an alien concept to most of us and certainly not something we feel we have to have to survive.  (Unlike most Brits, I don't like theme park vacations anyway - too crowded, to0 expensive, too far to travel...)

Losing Heresy would be a shame, but if you really feel this way, like Steve, you might consider selling your lines and going to work full time for another company as he did with GW or make your living sculpting commissions from various other miniature companies.  That would definitely free up a lot of your time and help your burnout problem. 

As for your windowless office, just get lots of  daylight bulbs for all the lighting fixtures and/or buy more table lamps to light up the space.  You sound like you are suffering from a type of clinical depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) caused by lack of sunlight, whether it be in winter or in a windowless office.  It might also help to buy and frame a poster of a beautiful beach scene and hang over your worktable so you can glance up at it every so often.  ( I guess a picture of a girl in a bikini on the beach would work as well)  :cool:

I hope the dragons that were prepaid for are not in danger of being extinct, so to speak.  I would not be happy if my dragon did not appear on my doorstep sometime in the near future since at least one person has already received his.

anatora




Offline LazarusKing

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2011, 05:52:25 AM »
More releases with multiple applications would probably be a good idea.  Also Hürn! 
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Offline beefcake

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2011, 06:10:22 AM »
I don't know if this is the case but a lot more people seem to have joined the forum as a result of Cutlass! and I imagine that would have increased sales too. Maybe publishing your netherhells rules might increase sales for you too? I know that is a huge task though as concept art, writing loads of background etc. takes loads of work. Just a thought.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 06:16:02 AM by beefcake »

Offline Toosh

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2011, 10:11:56 AM »
I personally think Anatora hit the nail on the head. It's time to review how the company is working and make some decisions.  If things are not working as they are now, adding more sales will not help that.

I'll be blunt; I won't be placing an order, because there is nothing I want or need right now and in this financial climate, I also have to look after our own financial situation. I'm not convinced that a £20 order from me is going to make a blind bit of difference.  A lot of us placed a £100 pound order a very long time ago for a dragon and that didn't help the business; sure it gave Andy some immediate relief, but in the long run it's become a monkey on his back, so much so, it's actually done the business harm I'd say.  This is not a bitch about the dragon, I'm trying to point out that these "quick fixes" are masking a bigger problem. There is something fundamentally wrong with the business.

Coming onto the forum to see a thread like this is harsh for many reasons. One, for the fact that Andy continues to struggle with the business despite all the work he does; two, being made to feel that it's my fault if the business fails and three, any positive vibes created by the Spyglass thread have been tempered with the information here.  Whilst this thread might represent the very harsh reality of running your own business, I don't think the information should have been shared - not now, not when there was such a great bit of news about acquiring the Spyglass range. That would have generated sales without the "use it or loose it" threat hanging over everyone's heads.

People already know about the daily struggle to make ends meet, hell, they might actually come to the forum to read about models - to escape from the fact they have their own tax bill to pay, or a meeting with the bank about their overdraft.  If I have a choice of frequenting a forum that talks about models, painting, conversions, competitions - all the stuff I love, versus one that appears to dwell on daily problems, then I know where I'll be going.

The forum has had a revamp; it needs another revamp - the culture.  It needs to go back to being a place where people can enjoy themselves and that is what will bring in new members and those new people will buy from the FOD because they will be inspired to do so. Beefcake's point about Cutlass! generating interest and members is a good observation, but at the moment, there potentially isn't enough to sustain their interest outside of what they came here specifically for. Take out all the old crap threads, make it informative and interesting and somewhere people can find all the cool stuff about Heresy, Hasslefree, Black Scorpion and Twilight. I'm sure the moderators can help with that part, whilst Andy gets his business hat on and makes some hard decisions.
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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2011, 12:03:29 PM »
I tend to agree with Toosh. I know how hard things have been all around recently and its not good, but with money being tight I don't think I can make an order. I do want another Hürn and some sculpting bits, however I can get the sculpting tools/putty elsewhere and I should really get the first one painted.

I think if you really want to carry on then spyglass isn't going to save you long term. Knuckle down on your popular ranges (you said that the sci-fi stuff was the most popular) and forget everything else. Retire the larger figures as the molds go, or have them remastered in resin - the angel for example would look awesome in resin - as money allows depending on which figures you decide to keep.

I also suggest that you stop offering so many options in some kits. Some of the gangers come with whole sprues of guns (iirc from Kelham) whilst the Hürn comes with far too many for me to ever needs. The picture I see on the website is what I expect to get - if I want different, I'll convert it myself. You don't need to remold anything - just change the descriptions and bung everything but the essentials back in the pot.

Aside from that, would selling current sculpts be a viable option?

Offline Big Boris

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2011, 02:01:11 PM »
Apologies if I harsh anyone's mellow. I have always laid it on the line since day one about the day to day of Heresy. And being locked in my little office every day of the week, the only people I have the chance to vent to are either my wife, who knows anyway and besides has enough on her emotional plate, or Craig, who is aware of it all already too. I try to bring you good news as well as bad, but hey, there's a lot of bad news when you run a company without the financial backing from day one that other companies may have. I'm not the only one who brings downers to the table here, I'll give you that, but at no point have we ever given you glorious bull like GW etc might.

I'm not begging because I enjoy it, and I'm not begging those who have already bought everything. My post was aimed at those people on here who talk a good fight, saing how great stuff is and yet have never bought any Heresy stuff. The truism of a miniatures company is that you get 10% of the praise as sales. My begging post was aimed at those people who say 'Oh yeah, I've got a list, I really should put an order in...' Those people, I'm asking to put that order in. £20 pays for three hours of Craig's time. It buys 10% of a tools order. It covers my petrol for a couple of weeks. £20 counts. I am not suggesting that anyone feel guilty, especially people like Toosh who have bought everything already, long before now; without them I wouldn't be in business today - just that those who haven't bought yet chip in now if they truly like the stuff they say they like.

I need to find £4800 by the end of the month. I bought the spyglass stuff because I feel most of it fits in well with the Heresy range and will sell well enough to pay the costs back within a month or two, all things going well.

As to reducing options in the kits, yes, will be doing that. But it does require re-moulding as most of the moulds have all the parts on them for each kit and if one wishes to do different combinations of models rather than multi-part collections, one necessarily has to alter moulds to cope with that. So as the old moulds wear out, they will be replaced with new, less parts-oriented kits. eg the posing vampire will be redone with his heads attached, and so forth.

Larger figures - they're self-limiting. Once the metal price comes back down,they will start to sell a bit better again. I will be invstigating resin versions or indeed plastic spincast with Ed from Troll forged, we shall see.

As to the £100 dragon price. It helped at the time! But the devil has a way of pissing in my particular kettle when it comes to good ideas. I've said all I need to say about the dragon over the years, I'm way past the point of whining about it now, there's 38 pages o fit in the other thread. Suffice to say, the next one I'll make the way I want to make it and I won't sell it before it's fully finished. Or start it before I've  sorted out a lot of other little things first.

FYI, if only I'd sold my house to pay off the two biggest loans when it went on the market last year, this conversation wouldn't even be taking place. Nothing wrong with Heresy that £30,000 wouldn't solve. Kettle. Devil. Pissy tea.

Offline Big Boris

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2011, 02:07:51 PM »
PS The current problems stem mainly from the fact that i am renting a workshop. Which I had to do to sell my house. Which I am trying to do to pay off the crippling loans. Which I had to get to pay for something personal which I will not discuss on here, and to live in the house.

Sometimes you roll the dice and they just come up 1's.

Just waiting on that double 6.

Offline Orc Man

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2011, 03:27:39 PM »
I really recommend looking into some alternative casting material, especially for the largest of your range. And I hope you do look deep into the possibilities with Troll Forged, their new plastic stuff looks pretty promising. Ed's a pretty great guy, so I think it would be pretty easy to work with him on this.

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Re: Use it or lose it. Heresy's future...
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2011, 04:05:31 PM »
Thing is, reducing the kits doesn't require re-molding because you have the casting kit on premises - whats to stop you chucking the unnecessary parts back in the pot straight after you've spun the parts you need (I know one of HF casters does that when Sal needs a specific model). Yes you loose some casting time, but with metal prices being silly it saves you there. I'd be curious to know just how much extra metal is in a Hürn kit (the weight of all the additional components if you assembled one variation for example).

That way your not replacing molds until you have to and cutting your costs at the same time.