What do you think about trading cards? Do you stop to think about them at all?
We have. It's one of the reasons we exist. We were troubled by the trends trading card companies were following in the early 1990s, and we thought they were heading in the wrong direction. The market has since crashed, and never fully recovered. We feel that, like the auto industry, the problem isn't with the customers-- it's with the producers. If they listen more to what customers want and make better products, people will buy them.
Here's what we're doing to improve the situation. Read below and see if you agree. If you feel strongly about it either way, let us know.
1. Unrealistic chase card ratios are alienating customers and hurting the hobby. A customer shouldn't have to buy dozens of boxes of any given series to complete it. Multi-case "incentives" alienate and discourage collectors. (They only benefit the big dealers.)
Our solution: We pledge to offer excellent coalition and reasonable "chase card" ratios. Whenever possible, we'll try to include complete chase sets in EVERY SINGLE BOX!
2. Base cards are becoming worthless as collectors sort dozens of boxes in search of a few worthwhile autographs and chase cards. Then they flood the market with the overprinted base sets to get rid of all the extras. It's pulling the attention away from the basic topic of each series and replacing it with a phony "lottery" mentality.
Our solution: We don't make tens of thousands of base sets and then rely on autographs and special inserts to sell our sets. On the contrary, we make just one or two thousand base sets, less than most companies make of their chase cards! (Corporate chase cards are printed at a minimum of 5,000 each!) Do the math and don't be fooled by artificial scarcity!
3. Dumping old product is unfair to customers. ("Dumping" is when older products are sold at a fraction of the regular wholesale, which then floods the market and ruins the resale value.) Why should earlier customers pay more than later buyers, and watch the value of their cards decline as the market is swamped with worthless leftovers? Companies that dump (including some of the biggest names in the business) are abusing their supporters.
Our solution: We pledge to never dump any of our products. If their are too many left over (which is unlikely, since we make so few to begin with) we will destroy them rather than dump them and flood the market.
4. Overproduction is hurting the hobby. Almost every card made today is being preserved in plastic sheets or hard plastic shells the moment it is sold. Given that fewer cards are being tossed in games, thrown away by mothers, or chewed up in bicycle spokes, fewer need to be made in the first place to make them worth anything in the future.
Our solution: We only print 500 to 1,000 boxes or less of any given title* (a fraction of the industry average). Every set we sell is subtracted from the box total and less than 2,000 sets constitute every series (often just 1,000 sets!) That means even our so-called "factory sets" are actually broken from box totals and do NOT inflate the overall totals. Our serial numbered checklists and numbered boxes prove it.
5. There is a lack of originality as companies only manufacture licensed, proven commodities. There needs to be a return to the creative roots of non-sports. That means companies need to take risks and commission original art (not just use licensed photos), and also write original stories (not just rehash tv and movie plots).
Our solution: Emphasize ORIGINAL stories and ORIGINAL art, just like the other card companies used to do in the golden age of trading cards (with series like Mars Attacks, Civil War News, Jets-Rockets-Spacemen and most the classics). Licensed photo cards are fine, but when the non-sports hobby only produces them and nothing else, it becomes little more than a marketing arm of Hollywood. If we want to attract new collectors, we need to offer something fans can only find in trading cards, and nowhere else (like movies, comic books or TV). That means getting creative and producing original cards. Over 50% of our products will meet these goals.
6. Non-sports started the hobby, and the emphasis should remain with non-sports. Sports cards are okay if you want to collect pictures of certain uniforms in different poses with different numbers and faces attached, but the power of picture cards is a true diversity of images and strong stories-- not stats (or jokes or puzzle images)-- on the reverse.
Our solution: We NEVER produce sports cards, and we never will. That's because non-sports isn't just our business, it's our passion. If it's your passion also, we ask your support by checking out our products and telling your friends about us. Together, we can improve the future of non-sports for everyone.
* If more than one title is combined in the same box, the production may be increased, but the end result is still 500 boxes for each title.