< Piro >
Monday - May 3, 2004
[Quick note ... here is the final version of the new MT site template. I think i fixed the font size issues, and tweaked a few other things too. I still need to tweak some graphics, but that can be done later - the template structure is the main issue right now. Also note the two newsbox ads - the newsbox ads have been very popular, so much so that they have been sold out months in advance for a while. Rather than raising the price on them, we decided to adjust the 'support' area to allow for two ads. I think this works out pretty decently. Anyways, check out the final version of the template, and let me know if it blows up your browser :)]
I have a few announcements to make today, one of which will have a major role in the future of Megatokyo and all of my other projects. It's something both Seraphim and I have been working very hard on for the past several months, and it is finally coming together. This is something that will enable us to serve the MT community better than ever before.
You may have noticed recently some changes over at the current Megatokyo/ThinkGeek Store, including the disappearance of some shirt designs and other items as they have run out of stock. The reason for this is that Megatokyo will be leaving ThinkGeek this summer and we will be opening our own online store, MegaGear in July.
I am proud of the fact that you don't need to spend a dime to be a Megatokyo fan, but if you want to it is my job to make sure there is good quality stuff available for you to buy. Merchandise sales help keep Megatokyo online, and keeps me stocked with erasers. MT readers have been incredible with their support over the past few years, and have never let us down. You guys deserve good stuff to choose from.
One of my main philosophies about merchandise is to not sell anything that we wouldn't buy ourselves. Both Seraphim and I feel that we should be doing far more than we are with the current store. At the moment, it's little more than an offering of MT branded merchandise in a subcategory at the ThinkGeek store. We felt that there are far more creative things that we could and should be doing. I wanted the freedom to pursue ideas from start to finish, without feeling that l was risking someone else's business. We decided that it was worth our own risk to take the next step and open our own store.
Opening your own store involves more than just coming up with new and cool stuff to sell. It is more complex than you might think. We need to set up a store that people will feel as safe and secure shopping at as the current store. We can't just start taking payment via PayPal and shipping stuff out of our living room. We have to invest the time and the money to do it right.
This includes setting things up so that we can accept credit cards online, provide a secure shopping and ordering environment for customers, planning for inventory, setting up how we will fulfill and ship merchandise... it's complicated stuff, but it's worth taking the time to do it right. Also, since I've already taken over most of the apartment with Megatokyo related stuff, Seraphim refused to give up anymore of our living space. We had no choice but to find a small warehouse space out of which to operate.
Part of what we've been doing this past month has been fixing up and painting the new space because we'll be spending so much time there. Seraphim and I like working together, so it made sense to move my work area over as well. We are in the process of packing up all my stuff and relocating it to the new space later this week. It's like moving, I just get to leave all that unimportant stuff (kitchen, living room, bedroom, etc) behind.
For the new MegaGear store, We have a lot of great ideas for new products and shirt designs in the works. Seraphim is excited about some of the more cute things she's looking into, and I have been doing a lot of research into new product ideas as well. Many things we are working on are things that you have been asking for, others are for things you don't know you want yet. As always, I figure that if its something we'd want, you guys might be interested in it as well.
With webcomics, there is really no one between the reader and the people who create them. We upload comics and you come to the websites to read them. With MegaGear it will be very much the same thing. We will be making and selling merchandise, and if you like it, you'll be buying it from us. To me, this simple relationship between creators and customers is very important, and it helps keep things like Megatokyo close to it's roots.
The MegaGear store will be opening towards the end of July. Until then, stuff will still be available at the ThinkGeek store. Some stuff, like the Evil L33t shirt, we will carry in the new store and will never die, but some stuff (like the Miho Blanket, for example) you should get while supplies last. ^^;;
Obviously, we will keep you updated on how things are going. The next three months are going to be very busy. In addition to the new store, I still have to keep the new website backend rebuild moving along, travel to five conventions (Anime Central, Fanime, A-kon, Anime Expo and San Diego Comic Con), and, oh yeah, that Megatokyo comic I've been working on. :)
You might have noticed that the opening date of the new store happens to conflict with one convention appearance that I was originally planning. As much as I wish I could, I won't be able to go to Otakon 2004 this year. Otakon is a great convention, and I have been a guest at Otakon for three years, and I was to be a guest again this year.
Anyways, should be fun.