Online shops are great but physical bricks n mortar shops are also great too as a place to not only take the product in hand (even though it may be just a box) but to also check out a curated selection of hobby items.
Physical stores are also a great place to hang out and meet new comrades too and I personally value what physical stores had done for me especially during an era without Internet when I first discovered Japanese culture.
I mentioned it in a presentation at Anime Expo a couple of years ago that I wanted to help folks set up their own anime stores but never got round to it until very recently - the first store that I helped setup is located in Qatar.
Together with Jassim and Fatma from Qatar. I met them through Instagram and hooked up with them during my visit to Dubai while attending MEFCC.
Back in April, Jassim and Fatma was thinking of opening up a shop but didn't have contacts with wholesalers in Japan which would have meant that they would have to buy from online stores and then try to make a profit on top of that - this only means that the end user ends up paying way more than need be.
I set connected Jassim and Fatma with my contacts in Japan and am pleased to show you the photos of their newly opened store which they named Hobby Chan.
The store is located in Bin Omran at the Town Center (Gate 2), adjacent to Rawnaq. Opening hours are:-
Sunday to Thursday: From 9:00 – 11:00 Am / 4:00 – 9:00 PM
Friday: 4:00 – 9:00 PM
For folks who are not familiar, Sunday is the start of the week in the Middle East ^^
Hobby Chan is the first ever anime shop in Qatar. The rest of the world does not know it but the demand for Japanese Pop Culture goodies is incredibly high in the region.
If you are interested in opening a shop and have cash flow to buy merchandise in cartons then I can connect you to the right folks who include wholesalers and depending on the amount you can buy I can also put you in contact with my clients who are the actual manufacturers.
This should be a win x win situation where I would ask you to distribute my products too and will obviously set you up with wholesale prices.
1 carton really depends on the product size. Some figures come in a carton of 12 pcs, larger figures could be 4 pcs per carton.
Moekana comes in a carton of 40 and so does Moekanji. Smart Doll does not come in cartons but I expect my distributors to be able to buy at least 5pcs per month of either Mirai or Kizuna.
Folks need to realize however that wholesalers (or manufacturers) are not interested in dealing with folks who can only buy 1 unit of something.
I understand however that not all retailers will have a fanbase of doll users which is why I do not ask folks to carry Smart Doll. Smart Doll at the moment is limited to 1 distributor per region where the distributor is expected to promote the Smart Doll brand in their region rather than just selling them.
Kizuna and Mirai have been extremely popular in the Middle East and thanks to Hobby Chan, we have been able to distribute even more to the region.
Our Smart Dolls currently take up the main display in the shop window ^o^
If you are in the region and are interested in ordering Mirai or Kizuna then just contact Hobby Chan and they will sort you out.
As you can see from the photos, Hobby Chan have a nice collection of decent figures which is due to their taste in figures, knowledge with current anime trends and the wholesalers that they now use.
What are anime shops like in your neck of the woods (if any).
Kizuna was released on November 1st which is her birthday and seems to be doing quite well ><
Being the first anime/manga shop in the region, Hobby Chan have been getting quite a bit of press - check out a recent video report or the screenshots below.
I'll leave you with a wall of screenshots but if you are interested in opening shop or distributing Smart Doll them just let me know and I'll hook you up with my contacts ^^
If you are running anime conventions then you may want to monetize on figure sales too instead of just tickets and booth space - just lemme know!