Playing with Hats, Hats and more Hats

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What would you do with whole lot of hats? That a question I find myself asking today, because I am the owner of a whole lots of hats. Top Hats to be exact. Well, miniature Top Hats to really exact.

And when I say I have a lot of Hats, I mean like Thousands and Thousands of Hats. In different sizes. All Top Hats. All Black. All Miniature.

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The reason I have so many Hats is an interesting story.
  It turns out that Martin (Martin Meyer, founder of the company – currently 95 years old) had a very simple purchasing philosophy. "Over time, the value of money will decrease, and the value of inventory will increase". What this really means is that Martin used the 1960 purchasing power of the dollar to purchase huge quantities of East German products (thousands and thousands of items), knowing the price of these products would only go up over time.

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The result of this purchasing strategy is that, in 2007, I still have thousands of items that seemed like a great "steal" in the sixties,that now leave me scratching my head. So, what does one do with all these hats?

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Well, they are too small for my guinea pig.

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And too large for my Babies.

So, I was thinking that maybe you might have an idea.

To spur your thinking, send me an email with your mailing address and I’ll send you some hats. Free of Charge. I’ll even pay for shipping. Maybe you will put them on your fingers (like olives) and have a good laugh. (I did) Or maybe you will have a great idea that you will want to share. Or maybe you will just say "What a sucker – I just got free hats!". And that is ok as well.

Just to protect myself, I may stop this offer at any time. I may give you a large handful of hats, or just a couple. I do ask that you share with me (and the readers of the blog) any cool ideas you create with these hats. In fact, if I get some interesting designs, I will have Elaine choose one as the "Tippie Top-Hat Design of 2007" and will  award the winner with riches beyond compare. (Such as a free kit of four bottles of Glass Glitter).

So, if you act fast (like within the next month) you can score some free Miniature Top Hats! And you might even double your score by getting free Glass Glitter for being the coolest of the cool designs. But don’t try to put your free hats on your guinea pig, they don’t fit. I’ve already tried that one……   

Ducks – 10,000 Cute Little Ducks

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When we took over the German Miniatures from Martin Meyer Imports one of the first orders we received was for 10,000 Ducklings. These are cute little 1/4" ducklings that are used (mostly) as "yellow rubber ducks" for miniature scenes or for Doll houses.

I was curious where 10,000 ducklings would be heading, so we looked into it a bit deeper. Turns out that these duckie’s were part of an art school project, where they were designing a piece depicting  the struggles of wildlife,  made entirely of little tiny 1/4" ducklings.
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Apparently from a distance, one could not tell the material that was used, but as you got closer you started
to see that everything in the piece was a duck. A little tiny duck. Some were painted and some were not. But they were ducks.

That’s what I like about this business is seeing the creativity of artists, craft’ers and designers at work.

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And to celebrate the "Duckling Piece" as I offer you a photo gallery of ducks. Many, Many Ducks. 

Have you created some Duck Tb_203367a_2related creations?

If so, let me know!Tb_2011422_3
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Let’s meet Elaine

I am not most artistic or creative guy in the world.

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That’s why I work with Elaine. She is part of the team here at Martin Meyer Imports West and is the one who comes up with our designs and the (soon to be famous) project sheets.

(By the way, this is a great example of our miniatures in use on a card)

Elaine has a great job. She wanders the aisles of ourHalfpage shop, taking a little of this, a little of that and then disappears into her studio. A few hours (or days) later something really beautiful is revealed to us mere (non-creative) mortals

(And here is our glass glitter in a wonderful Thank You Card)

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We are working on some step by step design sheets to share her designs. The plan to offer them for free to anyone who wants them.

Watch our blog for information on how to get your Project Sheets.

(And here are more Meyer Miniatures in a small "wish" box design)

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Click here to goto Elaine’s Blog to see more!

Maybe you have a Design that use some of Glitter or Miniatures? If you do, send me an email. If you give a little write up on what you created and how (and allow me to post it on the Blog), we will send you some Treasures.

On Location – German Miniature Factory

On Location Presenting the Partners that make us unique!

Roughly an hour from Nuremberg, Germany and two hours from the French border, nestled in a small village that is every bit a picture from a postcard, is a small manufacturer of extremely detailed miniatures. A Martin Meyer Imports partner for many years, this was our first visit to his factory since taking over the business. We traveled here to learn more about their operation, their history to see, with our own eyes, how these great items were produced. And to plan our purchases for 2008!
 
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Very much a family business, the owner was actually born on the site where his factory is today. On the walls of his office hang pictures of the old mill that use to be at this location.

Nl_2_augustThe owner and founder is a stately gentleman who spoke very little
English, and we spoke very little German, but still were able to have a
delightful 4 hour tour and meeting with his staff.

The business was started back in the 1940’s and was really built around the founder’s ability to carve. If he could envision it, he could carve it. By Hand. In painstaking detail. From these models he could create plaster molds and then final hard metal dies. A fascinating, labor intensive process that creates the wonderful detail seen in our European miniatures. The Walt Disney company even tracked him down in the 1970’s to create models of the famous Disney Characters.

Nl_3_augustDuring WWII, the US Military would stop by and trade for items of interest and after the war they were lucky enough to end up in Western Germany (Unlike some of our partners who, after the war, lost their business to the East German Government). 

Over the years the factory has expanded to it’s current size (only part of it is pictured) and in typical German fashion, it is clean, organized and busy with production. They currently have about 20 full-time employees and 20 distributors worldwide.

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We are proud to be the exclusive importers of their products into the USA! Check out our European Miniatures on the website to see the incredible items produced by our German friends!Dingeldey_2007_122a
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Wholesale vs Retail: What’s the deal with the $50 Minimum?

 

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Our master plan for world domination of the craft and hobby
markets is to import very unique, high quality products, stock inventory to the rafters,
spend too much on Google Adwords and have dealers, stores and manufactures purchase
in larger amounts directly from us, and to have smaller “retail” customers to
go our customers stores to purchase at retail.

 

We get asked quite often why we hold to a $50 minimum order
and why we are “wholesale” only. The answer is that we are really trying hard
to not compete with our customers. We do
not want to sell to your customers, we want your customers to buy from you and
for you to purchase from us! It’s all about scale and “matching” the volume of inventory
we manage with a “reasonable order” size.  Bottom line: $5.00 orders are just a lot harder
to manage than larger orders, and we are not set up to deal with a large mass
of retail (smaller) orders.
 

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So, the $50 minimum is really only there to “scare” away
retail customers and “hopefully” get them to click over to your site. (To this
point, I really need to build out the dealer listing on the Meyer-Import.com
website and pledge to do that in the next month!) Please let me know if you DO
NOT want to be listed on our site. 

So, all of our pricing
really is “wholesale” pricing, or a
price which covers the cost of the goods, importation, etc, and still allows
for a hefty mark up for retail. 

 

Here are some of the common questions we get:Tb_2033078_1_2

 

1) 11) Do you really require a copy of my sales permit before
I can order:

a. Yes!
If you are in California. Due to the tax laws we need to show that we are not
charging California tax because you are a reseller.

OK, 2) OK, but for California orders, do you really
demand a sales permit every time? 

a. Well
we should, but probably do not. And we need to fix that because if we do not have a copy of your Cal
State permit, we are on the hook for the sales tax.

3) What about, non-California sales, do you demand
a Sales Permit

a. No,
not really. We ask for your number, but do not get upset if you do not provide
it. Again, it’s all about the California sales tax issue.

4) Does the $50 Minimum really scare away all your
retail customers.

a. Yes!
We get a lot of request from customers who do not need $50.00 worth of product
and want to place a smaller order. Sometimes, if they have an slightly interesting
story, we help them out, otherwise we refer them to one of our dealers.

 

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Now, just to be fair, we do run both a retail and wholesale
business. The Railroad Express (www.railpress.com)
is our retail site for model railroaders and we sell a fair amount on ebay. But
both of those of businesses are built on the same wholesale pricing model, with
mark up to keep the “playing field” very level for our loyal customers.

Elf’ie Says: It’s September, Time for a Free Give Away!

2042168_1Yep! It’s September, I went to the first high school football game on Saturday. (We lost, 29 to 14). My youngest is a cheerleader, and while I really was not too interested in the game, half time was a real event!

And while I was sitting in the stands, waiting for the next cheer to start, I thought to myself, "if I was a Gnome, a small 1" tall plastic Gnome, and ran a company that imported craft items from Europe, what kind of promotion would I run?" So, thanks to Elf’ie the Martin Meyer Gnome, we came up with our Refer-A-Friend September promotion!

Basically, we are a small company serving a small but dedicated following of artists, craft’ers and miniature fans. And who knows our type of prospective customers better than anyone else, our existing  customers! And what do our customers like more than anything else, Free Stuff!

So, the way that Elf’ie, the Martin Meyer Gnome figures it, if we offered to send a grab bag of cool and totally free stuff to someone our customers recommended, a) we get a potential customer (or at least they will know we exist!), and b) your friend gets a box of Free Stuff, just for being your Friend.

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"Well", I said to Elf’ie, (as our team missed another touch down pass), "why would our existing customers want to share the name and address of one of their dear friends with us?" I continued to talk to Elf’ie, (who was really much more interested in the hot dogs being served at the snack shack, then to my logical reasoning), " I mean, while we are nice people and all that, but it’s alot to ask people to send us the names of artists, crafter or others who would love to get Free Stuff, just so they will get some free stuff" And that’s when Elfie, being the smartest plastic Gnome around, came up with the answer, "because you could send your customers free stuff as well, just for sharing the names of interested clients with you!"

"Elf’ie" I said, being very impressed with the brain power of this nicely detailed, hand painted German import miniature Gnome (Part number #204-2-168) "That’s brilliant, we can provide  our customers an opportunity to share  our products with others , and get a free gift for themselves as well!" Not a bad idea I thought to myself!

So, if you know someone who might like a free sample of the Martin Meyer Imports West products, just drop us a note and let us know! (Name, street address, etc). And, in the same email, please give us your address and will send you a free kit as well.

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So, what’s in the kit? I don’t know. Maybe you have some ideas? I was thinking some German Glass Glitter, maybe a miniature rabbit or horse. Maybe some mushrooms, A tree or two?  And of course, your own  Gnome. Afterall, it was his idea in the first place.

Note: Offer limited to the First 500 responses, or the end of the month, or until we run out of free stuff, or just get bored with this and go on to the next big idea. You know those Gnomes, they are marketing geniuses and are always coming up with new promotions…….