MegaGear MegaTokyo Visual Novel MegaGear
Strip 553, Volume 4, Page 34

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< Piro >

no, the new store isn't up  - we don't even have the servers in place yet!

"big changes comin..."

Monday - May 3, 2004

[Piro] - 05:15:00 - [link here]

[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.

< Seraphim >

yes, it is a real book...

"Candy Apples"

Monday - May 3, 2004

[Seraphim] - 05:25:00 - [link here]

If you haven't read Piro's rant yet go see his announcement first. Yes, somehow we have talked each other into the venture of online retailing. We've been called crazy but it can't be anymore crazy than the guy running his own specialty candy apple store. Does anyone eat candy apples other than at Halloween or at the circus? Does anyone over the age of six eat them? We saw that guy on the Food Network and thought if he could do it so could we. In fact millions of people sell online. It isn't rocket science. I am, however, gaining a healthy dose of respect for everyone who does it. We are really excited about expanding the product line. T-shirts are great but after a while they are kind of a little like getting underwear for Christmas. They become just a good practical and serviceable item. I want cuter, more fun, and girls stuff. I have been, dare I say it, nagging Piro for years to get some items made and now we'll finally be able to do it. Our first ventures were procuring lanyards ourselves and new character buttons which are currently available at conventions. It boosted our confidence - bur how can you go wrong with a Boo button?

If you are jonesin for the Clocked, Quickkill, Angel, I Am Cute, Ph34r the Cute Ones (mens and ladies), Megatokyo logo, Joo Dead foo, the Miho blank, the bumper stickers or the mug - they are all being discontinued and are only available while supplies last. It sounds like someone going out of business but it is actually a going into business announcement. New and better is on the way.

Frankly, I'm just thrilled to be done with classes. I had a economics/psychology class this semester where they are taking the mean grade and making that a B so more people can pass. I have a horrible feeling that I'm going to wake up on the wrong side of the mean on this one. I'm gonna fail this friggin course. "Fail" in grad school is C-plus. Still, I'll be screwed. I've taken hard courses. This one was HARD. I figure I had to have done better than the students doing crosswords or sleeping in class but I'm not positive. I'm in a very negative place right now. Okay, I'm going to forget about it for now and quit obsessing.

Reason #11 to be a librarian - really funky junk mail. I am a grad student of library and information science and I am a member of the American Library Association and on their mailing list. I received a full color 4 page brochure for a set of books entitled "Cheese: Chemistry, Physics & Microbiology". It includes wonderful phrases such as "scientific aspects of cheese'" and "principles of cheese science". Chemistry and microbiology I understand but the PHYSICS of cheese? What is that about? Do you calculate the rate of speed of a falling body of cheese? Maybe it was a hunk of cheese that hit Newton on the head. Who reads this stuff? I love it I love it I love it! This is the real deal too - it is published by Elsevier Academic Press. My apologies to any and all cheese makers. I love cheese. All cheeses including, but not limited to, bacterial surface-ripened cheeses, surface mould-ripened cheeses, acid-heat coagulated cheeses, and pasteurized processed cheese. Mmmm, delicious. This is the best junk mail I have ever received.

Speaking of junk mail, I'm kind a ticked at a charity I donated to recently. It is a well established food reclamation charity program that saves food from manufactures and restaurants and donates it to food banks. They sold my name, well they sold my address to a mailing list and got my name wrong. Hmmm, they think I'm "L. Wooden" and suddenly I get tons of junk mail from hundreds of charities. If Paul Newman sends me one more envelope there will be hell to pay. I can't believe I donate to their organization and they get my name wrong AND they sell it. Frankly, I think they are making money selling my address - they don't need my cash, Jaded attitude I know but now I have dozens of other charities from which to choose.

This segues beautifully into my rant on the Ann Arbor and possibly the entire southeastern Michigan postal service. Several years ago when we moved to our current location I started to receive mail for a L.. Woods at 1234 Elm St. while my former address had been 1234 Erwalk. Supposed the similarity in first few characters of the last names and address messed up the sorting of mail. I was getting this guys court appearance notifications, failure to appear in court notices (which are postcards btw), his medical information (I don't think he was? is? a well person) and other vitally important mail. Ok, mistakes happen. I take the mail and write in black marker not at this address over the forwarding labels and take the box to the post office and explain everything. A week latter I receive the whole lot back with my message written all over them. Then I took them the Postmaster himself. It was mostly solved but I still get an occasional letter meant for him. Just recently they post office for our address sends out a postcard asking for customers patience because mail can be late due to high volume and CAREFUL sorting takes time. I would have a lot more empathy if we didn't get letters for neighbors or find letter dropped in front of our door by neighbors at least twice a week. We happen to have the very last box so I think when the mail person has stuff left over at the end she just leaves it with us to deliver. But they are done yet, The Postmaster sends a letter essentially telling everyone where every mailboxes is located in the area so we won't come to the post office branch. And last but not least, having lived here two and a half years the post office has started putting yellow 'no forwarding' address labels on our mail (did I mention we aren't moving)and some of it is getting returned. Just things like bills - never the junk mail which always makes it through. The postal service is one of the most antiquated and obsolete systems out there.

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