Considering selling custom ceramics on the side. (1 Viewer)

playerOne

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I've been playing around with designing ceramic chips which I enjoy doing whenever I'm not busy. I received mostly positive feedback on several designs I have and I'm considering investing some savings to order about a thousand chips. I've been playing poker for about a decade but I'm fairly new to chips. PCF has been helpful so far, but I'd like to gather some more information and opinion before I proceed. Here are some questions I have in mind:
  1. Is it at all profitable to design customs, order from SunFly for example, and resell?
  2. I found some custom ceramic chips on Etsy and was wondering if someone on PCF does something similar? There are plenty of reviews on Etsy, but I'd like to know your opinion on demand.
  3. Do you think my designs are good enough or should be improved? One, two, and three. I'd appreciate both design suggestions or any general suggestions regarding the subject.
  4. Any suggestions on designing something besides ceramics? I assume ceramic chips are not the most desirable?
Just wanted to note that I'm a web developer and I used to work in a marketing company; I'm not as much concerned about creating a brand and a business. I'm primarily interested in figuring out if there's demand and if anyone would be interested in my designs. Graphic design has been an interest of mine for about a decade and I'd be happy to spend some time creating something people might like :)
 

moechar

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I don’t think reselling ceramics will be profitable because they’re not the most desired material chips on here. I think your best bet if you are interested in graphic design is becoming a designer for hire and designing peoples custom inlays! Or making certain inlays that you can sell the rights to use to multiple people how folks like @JeepologyOffroad have done before
 

Moxie Mike

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I've been playing around with designing ceramic chips which I enjoy doing whenever I'm not busy. I received mostly positive feedback on several designs I have and I'm considering investing some savings to order about a thousand chips. I've been playing poker for about a decade but I'm fairly new to chips. PCF has been helpful so far, but I'd like to gather some more information and opinion before I proceed. Here are some questions I have in mind:
  1. Is it at all profitable to design customs, order from SunFly for example, and resell?
  2. I found some custom ceramic chips on Etsy and was wondering if someone on PCF does something similar? There are plenty of reviews on Etsy, but I'd like to know your opinion on demand.
  3. Do you think my designs are good enough or should be improved? One, two, and three. I'd appreciate both design suggestions or any general suggestions regarding the subject.
  4. Any suggestions on designing something besides ceramics? I assume ceramic chips are not the most desirable?
Just wanted to note that I'm a web developer and I used to work in a marketing company; I'm not as much concerned about creating a brand and a business. I'm primarily interested in figuring out if there's demand and if anyone would be interested in my designs. Graphic design has been an interest of mine for about a decade and I'd be happy to spend some time creating something people might like :)
1) Probably not. You might be able to make it work if you cut out the middle men by purchasing an inventory of blanks and doing the printing yourself... but that's likely to be a sizable investment. BR Pro (@ABC Gifts and Awards) gets around ~$1 a chip for custom ceramics - so that's probably a good benchmark of where your price-point needs to be as a state-side manufacturer. The problem is most people around here are familiar with and/or have experience ordering from Chinese producers, which can be as low as $.32/chip landed*. You theoretically could order from them and apply a markup but it seems like a stretch to think that many people would pay more for something they could easily do themselves.

*Correct me if I'm mistaken.

2) I'm not aware of any PCFers selling on Etsy. I looked at Etsy briefly... ABC's designs are much better and basically the same price.

3) Design tastes are subjective so ask 20 people and you'll get 20 conflicting opinions. But since you asked for feedback: Design one: Too busy with all the random shapes and lines and such... and the denomination text is too small. Design two: Color combos are mostly good. The design is kind of mesmerizing and distracting, like those mind-warp-images you see floating around the web. Also would be better with a denomination. Design three: Elegant and pretty decent. The spade might be better to be replaced with a denomination - most people around here don't like non-denominated chips. Also a shaped 'inlay' like the Empress Joliet chips might be a nice feature.

4) Ceramics are popular because they're relatively inexpensive compared to custom clays from CPC. They're more comparable in price to murdering/milling existing chips and applying new inlays... but can be a preferable option since ceramics are 100% customizable and it's a lot less work for roughly the same money.

The trick to starting pretty much any business is that you need to either find an underserved segment of a marketplace - or figure out a way to serve the marketplace better than the current service providers. Since you really can't compete on price, what other competitive advantages can you offer? IMO, those areas might be superior customer service and offering awesome designs that are better than that of your competitors.
 
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Or just find buyers in other areas. Post local kijiji/Craigslist ads and you’ll likely reach people who are sick of googling and finding sites that charge jacked prices.

Poker chip lounge is one of the first that comes up when you google and their prices are


  • Buy 100 for $1.37 each and save 54%
  • Buy 200 for $1.19 each and save 60%
  • Buy 300 for $1.08 each and save 64%
  • Buy 500 for $0.81 each and save 73%
  • Buy 1000 for $0.79 each and save 74%
  • Buy 1500 for $0.77 each and save 74%
  • Buy 2000 for $0.74 each and save 75%
  • Buy 2500 for $0.72 each and save 76%
  • Buy 5000 for $0.68 each and save 77%
  • Buy 10000 for $0.66 each and save 78%
 

tabletalker7

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I've been playing around with designing ceramic chips which I enjoy doing whenever I'm not busy. I received mostly positive feedback on several designs I have and I'm considering investing some savings to order about a thousand chips. I've been playing poker for about a decade but I'm fairly new to chips. PCF has been helpful so far, but I'd like to gather some more information and opinion before I proceed. Here are some questions I have in mind:
  1. Is it at all profitable to design customs, order from SunFly for example, and resell?
  2. I found some custom ceramic chips on Etsy and was wondering if someone on PCF does something similar? There are plenty of reviews on Etsy, but I'd like to know your opinion on demand.
  3. Do you think my designs are good enough or should be improved? One, two, and three. I'd appreciate both design suggestions or any general suggestions regarding the subject.
  4. Any suggestions on designing something besides ceramics? I assume ceramic chips are not the most desirable?
Just wanted to note that I'm a web developer and I used to work in a marketing company; I'm not as much concerned about creating a brand and a business. I'm primarily interested in figuring out if there's demand and if anyone would be interested in my designs. Graphic design has been an interest of mine for about a decade and I'd be happy to spend some time creating something people might like :)
Honest answer ........ I think this is bad. Really bad. Either you need a HUGE investment for equipment and supplies to make blanks, print the dye sublimation designs, and heat transfer to make the chips, or you need to sub contract out the work of making the chips. In option one, your artwork gets you sales, but to compete in the market you have to keep prices down and it will take FOREVER to recoup that massive initial investment. Option 2, again only your artwork gets you the sale, and again to compete in the market you have to cut prices down and then are responsible for the work to your customers when something comes out shotty or you have spinners, which you have no control over. In both scenarios only your artwork gets you income. Why not just sell your artwork to people and let those who bought your artwork deal with the chip manufacturer instead of you?
 

CrazyEddie

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If you have all of the following:
  • Confidence in the appeal of your artwork to at least a modest portion of the public
  • Time and energy to learn how to manage an Amazon storefront and an overseas supply chain
  • Enough capital to place a large order with an overseas ceramic chip manufacturer
  • The willingness to risk losing that capital if your chips don't sell as well as you'd planned
  • An entrepreneurial spirit
.. then by all means I think you should go into business for yourself selling your poker chips to the general public on Amazon.

There are people out there buying a ton of metal-slugged and low-quality ceramic chips on Amazon and it sure isn't anyone on this forum. So if you want to make some money, count on selling to that audience, not this audience. Give them a decent quality ceramic chip with a cool-looking design and a reasonable price and see how many units you can move.

Set up an Amazon storefront, find a manufacturer on Alibaba that you think you can trust, have them ship the finished product directly to Amazon, and let Amazon handle order fulfillment. Maybe invest in some marketing (not sure how and where you'd market, though... maybe buy web ads?) or just hope you get a share of Amazon searches for "poker chips" and hope that your attractive design captures some attention.

Then wait for the checks to roll in.

Start small. Make a small order. Risk a small amount of capital. See how the market reacts. If they sell well, put your revenue back into a bigger order, which should get you a better price break from your supplier and a larger per-unit profit.

Good luck!

This Is Not Financial Advice. Or any kind of advice at all, honestly. Just an idea.
 

DrBill

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You’ll definitely see more but in buy offering to design labels and ceramic sets based on others requests and ideas. If you’re looking to sell your own, you’ll probably get more buy in as well if you at least add denominations. Cash (.25, $1, $5, $25, $100) and tournament (25, 100, 500, 1000, 5000).
 

CdnBeerLover

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I'm not a business person, so I can't comment on the viability of producing chips. From the design perspective, I agree with @Moxie Mike . One comment I will make is on the use of both a purple and a blue. I'm partially red/green colour blind, and in looking at your designs, I could not tell the blue and purple chips apart initially. I had to stare at them for a bit (5-10 seconds) to figure out which was which. There needs to be more separation between them.
 

DeusEx

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Maybe I'm missing something, or maybe I'm Capt'n Obvious; Why not become a vendor here for chip design? Before you go out and buy the equipment, perhaps come up with a design for chips, buy in bulk and then resell from a vendor that sells them now?
 

Kakeesh

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Your designs are good and will sell and you can charge more for custom work. I would figure out how to incorporate denominations and keep your aesthetic in case it's requested.

Like others suggested I would focus on selling your designs and not enter the chip manufacturing or resale business unless you truly and honestly have a deep desire for understanding the manufacturing process for poker chips. It sounds to me like your desire is to design. Plenty of places to do that, and PCF is only one of them.
 
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