- Since 2012 I have consistently lost suppliers as they withdrew from the increasingly unprofitable 15/18 mm wargames market. The list is a long one: Acies Edizioni, Venexia and Corvus Belli to name but a few.
- The rise of the Kickstarter. There have been a number of such projects featuring 15/18 mm ancient or medieval ranges. Given that customers' disposable income is finite, these projects have diverted money away from conventional channels like Vexillia.
- The ever increasing cost of airmail delivery. Royal mail have been increasing their prices annually for the last five years. Shipping to Europe or elsewhere is now very expensive and a real disincentive to buy from the UK.
- In Feb 2018 my sixteen year association with Mirliton ended. The new commercial terms offered by Mirliton were simply unacceptable.
The effect of the first three factors have been apparent for a number of years, slowly chipping away at my turnover and profitability. I have dealt with this by reducing my costs wherever I can. The last factor obviously happened rather quickly but its effect was lessened as I held a considerable stock of Mirliton miniatures.
Nonetheless I have decided to begin the process of simplifying the business even further by clearing all of my retail stock over the next 6-9 months and by selling the two 15/18 mm ranges I own. This will leave me with various books, games and flag sheets. When I reach this stage I will decide whether to close altogether or operate as a very minimal web store. I expect the whole process to take about a year and a half.
The final decision will depend purely on the financial arithmetic: can I turnover enough money to make a profit after I've paid for things like the shopping cart, web hosting, accountant's fees etc. Sadly, it's all too easy to see a situation in which I would not make anything at all. I will not trade at a loss.
On the positive side there will be lots of bargains to be had but my advice is don't delay. Some ranges are still selling well at full price and when I do reduce stock the popular items are selling very quickly.