Prop Retail Pricing & The MR Prop Market

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by Boba Debt, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. Boba Debt

    Boba Debt Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I have read a lot of complaints about the price MR is asking for the Boba Blaster which I believe is a fair price.

    I don't understand why people can't wrap their head around the premise of RETAIL PRICES.

    I'll try my best to explain it again.

    Most Retailers that sell collectable type items use the standard 100% mark up on their item.

    If it cost them $100 to buy it at wholesale, they try to sell it for $200. In the past this was needed to cover the operating costs of a brick and mortar store and have enough left over to make a living.

    Now the company that produced the item obviously didn't pay $100 to have it made they have a profit margin as well, in the collectable market it can vary greatly between similar items but they can't vary their price because it would throw up red flags to the consumers.

    For instance.

    I am sure that the Luke's ANH saber cost more to produce then any of the machined sabers.

    The Graflex based saber required stamp tooling which normally does not yield a decent profit unless you produce in the 10s of thousands

    The machined sabers only required an engineer to write the code which can return a decent profit in quantities as low as a couple hundred.

    However, MR could price one saber $375 and the other $2295, to the average person they look like the same type of product.

    So MR had to pick a price point that the market could bare and make it work with in those constraints and it worked really well at first.

    So what happened

    In the new age of internet market anyone can be a retailer and buy items at wholesale and try sell them via eBay and other on line sources.

    This has caused a lot of brick and mortar stores to lose a lot of money, they simply can not compete.

    When an amateur seller gets in over his head he tends to dump whatever he has and doesn't care if he loses money, after all most of the people that sell on ebay do not use the income as their primary source of income.

    This creates a false "bottom line" to the consumer base.

    This is what happened to MR.

    They were doing great with their first 3 releases, then came the Vader saber. It had several issues that caused me concern.

    First, the wholesale price was not half of their retail price, it was $220 (plus shipping) and the selling price was $375 I believe.

    Secondly they increased the edition number

    It is my belief the increased edition number caused people to be less concerned about buying these right away, right away for an amateur is within the same month he bought received his stock, after all he has to make his credit card payment.

    As the end of the month approached the amateurs decided they would dump their stock so they could make their payments.

    Once that happened the "MARKET" knew just how low a seller would be willing to go.

    The fiasco continued as more and more sellers dumped their inventory and the "bottom line" kept going down.

    The final nail the coffin was when MR sold the Vader saber from their own web site for less then the wholesale price .

    Now people realized that they could even get a deal from MR if they held out and experienced retailers knew they could not count on MR to balance out the market.

    I personally held onto my stock hoping the price would re-bound but I eventually had to dump it at a great loss.

    I tried to hang in their and I didn't cancel any of my pending orders with Marz and I lost a great deal of money, I was paying $240+ for the sabers (shipping included) but I was lucky if I could sell them for $200 on ebay and that was before the ebay and PayPal fees and sometimes it include the cost of shipping.

    Now MR has had some releases that very profitable but for a guy like me I just didn't have the juice to wait it out.

    Here is some more good info.

    The average mark up for the Jewelry and Furniture industry is 800%

    That gold bracelet or that recliner that that they sell for $799 cost them about $100

    They also use a very effective sales trick.

    They offer an item at a 50% discount but they increase the price to the above full retail.

    For instance , they normally sell a recliner for $599 with free delivery ($500 profit margin) but they have a huge "Inventory Reduction Sale / Sorry no delivery available" and offer it at 50% off but the "new" retail price is $1000 ($200 above standard retail) so you get it for $500 and you think your getting a deal because you just paid $99 less then the price you saw it at a week before.

    It's a good price but you could have gotten it for less, thrust me I know :)
  2. Flagg

    Flagg Sr Member

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    I've worked in the jewelry industry for 10+ years. I've done everything from straight sales to mangement. I currently work for the largest jewelry retailer and diamond importer in the US and I can tell you straight out that 800% mark up is way off the mark, atleast in my experience. The only sort of jewelry I have ever seen a markup that was even close to that on (and we're talking more like 400%) is your cheapo sterling jewelry. If you want to talk loose diamonds or high end the margins drop WAY down. When you are looking at fine jewelry the competition out there is too great to use a margin like the one you are speaking.

    Just my two cents from my job experience.
  3. RedTwoX

    RedTwoX Sr Member

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    I have also seen a lot a posts that make me think folks just have no idea how a business is run, and perhaps this information will help some of them see the situation a little more clearly.

    However, understanding the situation and agreeing to pay the price are two different things. MR has there Han Solo ESB blaster at $500, 1/2 would be $250, my Denix conversion is going to cost me less than $175 including shipping and sales tax of the parts. I am putting some extra effort into my Denix, such as recessing the pins that go through the body and hiding them under filler, but the MR is probably still going to look "better". Yet the Denix conversion is "good enough" at a price point I am confortable with. I underatsnd the principle behind limited editions commanding a higher value in the market (simple supply and demand) but exclusivity holds no value for me. I just want a Han Solo blaster. I don't care if 250 or 250,000 or 2,500,000 other people have one as well... just so long as I get mine. MR makes some nice looking products, but they aren't marketing to me right now.

    I enjoy building, and I am tremendously more fond of the things in my collection that I have built than I am the things I have bought... even when the purchased item looks better. That stated: There are a lot of things I want, and I only have so many hours a week I can spend working on projects. I would like to buy some of MR's product. If they had a Han Solo blaster in my price range I could spend that time on another project much less likely to be produced by a company that needs operational expenses and profit margins. I'm quite interested in the new CE line, and I'll be keeping a close eye on it. That just might be what brings some of my hard earned cash to MR.
  4. Tol Skorr

    Tol Skorr New Member

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    I think it (MR's Fett Rifle) is way over priced. Now granted it's not a small prop but I got mine (before I sold it) for $125. Sure, it wasn't licensed but who really cares? I'm sure 99% of us here are not into collecting for future resale value. I'm sure the seller made money of me and I off the person I sold too. Some companies try to make the quick buck to recoup money into a project. My thought is make it affordable enough so EVERYONE can buy one and make money back over time and have more sales.
  5. juno

    juno Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I contacted The Noble Collection recently about becoming a retailer. They do not wholesale price ANY of their products (only to the licensee). This explains the overseas markup of the U.S.-only products, and why, if I want to sell them at a show, I'm going to have to markup the retail cost.

    It could be worse -- MR could be the only place to get the stuff.
  6. Montagar

    Montagar Legendary Member Community Staff

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    From a price stand point this will be an interesting product to watch. I say that because this is the first product that the LE version is available only directly through MR, but the SE version is available through resellers.

    This all could create a situation where the higher priced SE version might end up selling in the reseller/aftermarket for the same or less than the lower priced LE.

    It would have been really interesting to see what would have happen with the even lower priced reseller exclusive CE version also available at the same time.
  7. rad1701

    rad1701 Sr Member

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    The simple answer is MR and others sellers of these items have dropped their prices many times for many items. Maybe if they just started out at a bit lower price more would sell initially. Add to this the potential CE and other releases in the future of the same item and it makes folks a bit uneasy about paying this type of pricing.
  8. Boba Debt

    Boba Debt Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I was told that by a friend that manage a Kay's Jewelry stop in Altoona PA.

    He also gave me a lot of valuable info how to buy jewelry.

    I believe what I was told because there is no way a jewelry store in the mall could discount an item 75% and stay in business.

    As with any product the higher the quality the lower the profit margin (i.e. a cheap basic DVD player VS a really good one with lots of features) but if your talking about regular promotion and standard jewelry (light weight gold earrings, thin rings with lab stones, 3 piece sets) the mark up is in the 800% range.

    If you like I can contact one of my jewelry wholesalers and post the CURRANT WHOLESALE prices from their catalog.

    And don't even get me started on diamonds.
  9. racprops

    racprops Sr Member

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    MR has some MAJOR problems with keeping their price lines, I remember the day after they put out their Classic Phaser, that undercut them by $50.00, that was in less than 24 hours.

    I bought a 50Th Nautilus Model from Disney, (not MRs)1 of only 1000 made for $300.00 and was talked out of it for $1200.00 on ebay. (One sold for $1600.00)

    I then was on the inside track for the Disney-MR Monorail, and got two of the Blue Monorails, 2 of 500 for $300.00 each, and they sold out the first day.

    BUT I was and am still seeing the Red Monorail selling on ebay (this began within the first week) for 1/2 price, it never got itÂ’s retail price on ebay and the Blue Train almost never brings more than it original retail price.

    Some how there was a lot of wholesaling and back door deals going on. Seems a bunch of Disney Dealers got very low prices on them and was able to uncut Disney and so on.

    Now I will not invest in anything MR, I am totally sure the price will almost always drop, unless I am willing to wait 4/5 years and then it is a crap shoot which will gain and which will fall and fall.

    These kind of prices drops hurts everyone, I do not think there will be another company like MR, they (And others, like Icons (who might have made it IF sales had been a little better) and other small companies who have failed or are just hanging onÂ…) have proved this is a very limited and poor market, no one in their right mind would invest in this market in this way again, (OF course IF you know some insane enough to think of doing so please send them my wayÂ….)so after MR it will be back to the old ways, and I fear even that will have a slower and lower turnout, as many who once hoped to strike it rich, will now know the sales will not ever go shy high and will judge their offering thus. Many will just fade away.

    The only good thing is all of this has done is also proved it to the studios whom have watched and monitored all of these going on, and who will perhaps no longer care about us and our doings, we not being worth the time and money to bother with.

    My 2 cents worth.

  10. Got Maul

    Got Maul Official Licensee RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Very good analysis David. I love when people step outside of the hobby and analyze the economics of the hobby...its a very interesting field, especially when its bread and butter is "collectibility" moreso than your average product.

    The only thing that gets me is that MR is shooting themselves in the foot with the releases of these Elite editions. Products lie in supply and demand this case, demand is created through collectibility or when a collector gets a sense that there's not enough and purchases hoping that the demand is so great that the price of their purchased prop soars because supply didn't meet it. This is exactly what happened with the ROTJ luke, the ANH Han and Obi Wan TPM.

    I always believed maintaining this demand was the key to success so that new customers would recognize that mystery of previous collectors and * up what ever came out solely based on the history of the increased value of these previous props.

    Now with the elite editions, I am bothered that MR is canabilizing its market for an immediate sell to keep its SW market afloat while devaluing its previous pieces. Not only is this creating a whole new set of disgruntled consumers, but it also decreases a demand immediate urgency to purchase further pieces for fear of a newer, better edition.
  11. Noeland

    Noeland Sr Member

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    This is a loaded statement, isn't it? You know * well Master Replica sets their own price points. They don't sell at "retail" prices because they deal in a direct market for thier high ticket items. There is no retail market for these kinds of collectables.

    I have defended MR's prices before, because they deal in legit, licensed products and they have to deal with a lot the garage proppers don't because of that. With the exception of the toys they sell at places like Borders, and Comp USA, they very rarely have to worry about the retail market. They sell at Disney. They sell through many ebay dealers as well, etc, etc.

    But you are not going to be able to drive down to Wal-Mart or Target and pick up a Boba Fett blaster for $700, or one of thier Clone Trooper Helmets. The Force FX sabers, sure, but those are meant for the retail market, and have a very low price point.

    A better business example is comic books. The big boys versus the indy's. Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse sell thier comic books through retail distributors, and they have to deal with the retail market on a regular basis. Companies like Boneyard Press, or Oni, or Kitchen Sink, they base thier prices on thier own costs, and they don't sell to the retail market, they sell to the direct market. So the price points are much different, and the revenue stream in general is a whole different animal.

    It would be interesting if we knew MR's cost on the Boba Fett blaster out the door. Then we could really put a finger on their price points, and thier marketing logic. But there is no standard here. They are selling in thier own world, basically. They can set thier own prices, and there is no competition to make them sweat over it. That's the beauty of licensed items.. ;)

  12. CTF

    CTF Sr Member

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    Heh, people complain over a $600.00 blaster that comes finished with a display case, yet they won't blink an eye at a member here selling a raw cast of a certain movie villain's helmet for that plus another half. :eek And I'm not complaining 'bout the latter, as I do want one. :p
  13. racprops

    racprops Sr Member

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    Well there is the fact that some stuff is made by the cheapest labor on the planet at the lowest prices possible, and mass produced which is why you can buy a 4 gig computer nowadays for $400.00 while others are really are made with the blood and sweat and tears of their maker in them and with hours and hours of hard work in the making.

    So yes there IS a big difference knowing that one is made for say $50.00 and sold for $400.00 and the only reason for the markup is profit and the other is in fact sold cheaply when you figure in the hours of labor in it.

    Lucky some do understand that.

    My 2 cents worth.

  14. CTF

    CTF Sr Member

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    Yeah, you're right - it's called business. ;)

    MR brought the SW license and it ain't cheap.
  15. AndySertin

    AndySertin Well-Known Member

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    Would it be foolish to assume it's twice cost, plus a dollar?
  16. JSA

    JSA Active Member

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    Question for Boba Debt:

    Did Marz Dist. closing down suddenly, hose you on any items?

    Scenarios like this:

    1. Items you'd paid for that you didn't get before they went under?

    2. Items you'd ordered, that were limited and now sold out, that
    you'll now have to either skip or get elsewhere at a higher price?

    Marz disappearing surprised me, and I was just wondering if it
    did others as well, and if it left anybody in a pickle as a result.
    Did anybody else know that they were closing, or was it a surprise?

    Thank you all VERY much for the information on the prop/collectible
    markets, and the pricing structure information. I always like to learn
    as much as possible about my chosen areas of collecting.

  17. Durasteel Corporation

    Durasteel Corporation Well-Known Member

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    Probably one of the most intelligent threads around. Very good points by all.

    Two points Ill mention:---EDIT...ooops 3

    Demand. I have a feeling the MR Fett will be very nice. I also think that many will wish they picked one up.

    Demographic: MR caters to those who want finished reworking involved. I like this approach but also like working on many of you do.

    Desire: Im not sure I understand the rationale behind buying something you adore....only to rationalize keeping it as its potentially worth money. Buy Gold or something like that if you want a sure increase. Buy a collectible because its nice to play with....the kids like it when you take it out of the case and show them....its a reminder of your favorite film....something like that. I find the collectible market of cherished goods only for pure investment value a bit shallow ....c'mon admit love that thing and you just want to make yourself feel better for blowing your rent money.
  18. damon5973

    damon5973 Well-Known Member

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    I have heard several reasons on why pricing is so high on these products and that is the display case. If you look at what Phillip at RS is doing for cases for the Clone and vader helmets you will see that a clone helmet with a case would have been close to 250.00 more than what it was selling for. A case taht he has designed with less mirror that is similar to MRs is 199.00. So add the cost of the case and the helmet and what do you get? close to 500.00. Is a WHITE CLONE helmet worth 500.00??????? Now I am sure MR gets a price break for shear amount made but still a hefty increase of the price is due to the case. I have heard froma reliable source that the SS AT-AT would have been closer to 899.00 w/o a case instead of the 1400.00(?)

    The Fett blaster is 749.00(?) but I believe that a good chunk of that is the case. If MR were to offer props w/o cases it would be closer to 550.00 or thereabouts.

    There is also the fact that they(MR) has to buy the liscence to each item allowed by Lucasfilm and recreate with the best of their ability. Dies cast, mold made and so forth.
  19. DARKSIDE72

    DARKSIDE72 Sr Member

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    Actually the wholesale dealer price for the At-At was about $800, with the case.

    My only gripe with MR is the accuracy isssue. They have access to LFL and the archive, but they don't use it. The whole claim that "this is how LFL wanted it" is hogwash. For some reason (time,money) they cut a lot of corners, submit fan made pieces for aproval and run with it.

    All I'm saying is if you can do it right... why not do it right?
  20. damon5973

    damon5973 Well-Known Member

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    800.00 was the WHOLESALE....isnt it supposed to cost more for RETAIL?? Stores have taken a hit and are selling at or around 800 for the SE now. Like BD said, they up the prices, what was RETAIL for the AT-AT if wholesale was 800.00?

    have access and dont use it???? what are you talking about? They have taken thousands of pictures to produce the items. I mean there have been some discrepancies sure but with the new finds for the Han Blaster and the Obi saber that wasnt there fault. As for the Vader ANH, well I guess they did what they could do. When Steve D was with MR he told me that tehy took thousands of pictures to create the replicas.

    Accuracy can only be as good as what they have in their hands. The SS falcon will be dead on, it uses the same model pieces that were on the first one, and if they couldnt find the part they recreated it form pictures they had.
  21. Boba Debt

    Boba Debt Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    No, I got out a long time ago and was just recently able to get out of the hole I dug myself into.
  22. DARKSIDE72

    DARKSIDE72 Sr Member

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    You can thank Frank Cerney and Moe for the Falcon. It's their research. If it were not for them there wouldn't be a SS Falcon. The training remote, Frank again. The Y-wing, a group of builders to thank for that. They rely on fans more than they do LFL. It's a fact, and again the reason why nothing is exact.
    Another example: The trooper blaster. They used BobaDebts and my copyrighted photograph to pre-sell $300,000 worth of blasters... and it wasn't the first time they took from a fan to pre-sell a product. Steve D. was ultimatly responsible for this and is NO saint.
  23. racprops

    racprops Sr Member

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    I get the feeling MR ties, it seems to be the China builders, cheap and always wrong, EVERYONE has problems with them, the 50th Disney Nautilus had problems with fit and finish, some 200 where returned for replacements, and the Monorail HAD to have larger than scale rivets added.

    They do not respect us and will seemly do something to mess up a production run, I donÂ’t know of anyone getting back from China the same model/prototype they sent over. They always seem to tweak or cut a corner, or leave some detail off.

    I shudder to think that had I gotten a license I would have run into such nightmares if we had gone to China to do production, and it looked like that was the ONLY way to cut production costs so that one could repay a investor.

    So what are we to do?? Icons proved you can not do it with local workers, (at lease the prop building system of RTV Molds and so onÂ…) and MR more of less showed the pit falls of overseas production.

    I think it leaves only a large scale production run with a local production company, the old fashion way, mass production within the US with US tooling and production. Problem is that also costs too much, such a production run would have a hard time with the China produced products, like with nearly everything we now buy, when is the last thing you bought that is all American MadeÂ…
    Think again I bet many parts are not made hereÂ…

    I remember how Zenith clamed to be made within the USA, and have parts from China, Japan and Mexico.

    My 2 cents worth.

  24. damon5973

    damon5973 Well-Known Member

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    i never said he this isnt about is about cost and what MR does to its prices and why people pay what they do for props.

    I guess it all comes down to basic economics..guns and butter...

    What will people pay for what....
  25. DARKSIDE72

    DARKSIDE72 Sr Member

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    Well the root of the problem lies with the ecomomy and how there is no longer INDUSTRY within the US any more. We've sold it all off to China,Taiwan,Korea,Malaysia,Mexico etc etc. The days of "Made In The USA" are long gone. You can thank the large corporations and the Government for that.

    "They do not respect us and will seemly do something to mess up a production run, I donÂ’t know of anyone getting back from China the same model/prototype they sent over. They always seem to tweak or cut a corner, or leave some detail off. "

    This is poor quality control. Someone has to approve the product. I would think that a team would submit a prototype right? Well that team should follow up on production to be sure the product mirrors the final prototype. They need people in China making sure things are done correctly.


    I was simply pointing out that aside from their prices, they in many ways deceive the collector.
  26. racprops

    racprops Sr Member

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    This is poor quality control. Someone has to approve the product. I would think that a team would submit a prototype right? Well that team should follow up on production to be sure the product mirrors the final prototype. They need people in China making sure things are done correctly.

    I don't think it is that easy, they seem to fight and fight and it is like quicksand, sooner or later you can no longer fight and have to get it to market so you take the best you have won and go with it, after all it happens again and again, and to other companies other than MR, so it seems to be a system wide policy over there.

    And I have talked with others whom have done bussness over there and it is the same, only a few really get what they wanted.

    My 2 cents worth.

  27. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Actually my last two buys were both handmade in America. ;)
  28. DARKSIDE72

    DARKSIDE72 Sr Member

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    Yea but beautifully made unlicenced props are a different story... ;)
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
  29. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    One was licensed. :p
  30. vaderfanforever

    vaderfanforever Active Member

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    There sure seems to be quite a few MR threads lately, eh? I just wonder if this Boba Fett rifle is a good thing for MR to announce now. If I recall, they STILL have not fully delt with the ROTS Vader helmet and the Clone helmets issues, correct? I think they should deal with the problems at hand BEFORE announcing something else altogether.

    It just doesn't make sense. Is MR trying to distract their customers with something "cool" so they forget about the helmet fiasco? That is what is looks like to me.

    And if the Fett balster is $600, I can't imagine with the Falcon is going to cost :confused :confused Get ready to take out a second and third mortgage on your house to pay for it ;)

    Elijah - VaderFanForEver
  31. PantheraGem

    PantheraGem Sr Member

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    With all of the problems they've had in the last year or so, I have my doubts we'll even see the Falcon. It's beginning to seem they can't even ship out the final# plaques for the ROTS sabers.

    Judging from MR's pricing thus far, wouldn't the Falcon cost at least somewhere in the $3,000 to $3,500 area anyway? Is there even a market for something that expensive?
  32. rmschneider104

    rmschneider104 Sr Member

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    Good question asking about a $3K+ Falcon. I'm sure that there are some big rollers in our midst who will have the funds. But I've gotta really think about THAT much. I've gotta really want/need something for that kind of dough. Heck, that's a nice down payment on an automobile.
  33. MikeyX

    MikeyX Well-Known Member

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    Yes they definitely have some open issues with quite a number of collectors over the helmets - however from a business perspective they probably still need to keep rolling out the products that have been in development to recoup some of those development costs. The longer they wait, the higher the price might have to have been to cover costs.

    Is it a good time to release this from a customer satisfaction point of view? I'd say no it isn't, but they might not have a choice.

    My prediction for the Falcon is that if they haven't resurrected the payment plan by the time this is released, then they will have arranged one for it specifically. This has the potential to cost scary money, and I'm just beginning to prepare myself for dissappointment over this one as I'm in the UK and I forsee a truly mammoth shipping/tax levy on this one.

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