It's week two of our Sponsor Appreciation features. There's also a contest tied in with
all this, with tons of great prizes. You can find the contest
here, but take the time to check out the features as well!
week I talked with Michael Becker of Aisle
Sniper, one of the very first sponsors of Michael's Review of the
Week. Here's what he had to say!
MWC - How long have you been in the action figure/collectibles business?
- We brought AisleSniper.com to life about 3-4 years ago. I personally have been in the industry since I was about 18.
MWC - Do you have a brick and mortar store as well, or only an on-line store? How does having only one or both effect your business?
- Our online store is the main shopping portal. Our warehouse doubles as a brick and mortar location.
MWC - How did you get started?
- After graduating college with a degree in web design and illustration, I did a lot of freelance work for companies that sold action figures and collectibles. A year or so later I accepted a full-time position at a large internet company. After realizing that the corporate world was not for me, I decided it was time to create my own online toy store. From that day forward it became my goal to set new standards in the industry of e-commerce toy stores.
MWC - Do you collect as well? How does having a store effect your own collecting?
- I've been collecting toys seriously since I was 18. I remember the day I started. Spawn was my favorite comic book at the time, and I remember reading in one of the issues that Todd planned on releasing Spawn Series 1 Ultra Action Figures. During my lunch breaks I'd head over to Toys R Us hoping to find them. While I was scouring the aisles, I started finding all these other cool toys, and it snowballed from that day on. I now have a huge collection of toys spanning from the late 70s to the present.
Having a store affects a few aspects of collecting. The thrill of the chase is gone...but compensation comes in the form of peace of mind. You don't have to worry about chasing something down or paying secondary market prices.
- What are your feelings on the current action figure and collectible market, and the forces at work in retail?
- I feel strongly about the current market. The only reason it's afloat is due to companies like McFarlane, Palisades, Mezco, and Sideshow, constantly pushing the boundaries of creativity. We are seeing many more higher-end collectibles being offered (busts, statues, and replicas), which are well-received by collectors. They represent a more mature way to collect; they are more of investment and double as a work of art.
- What do you feel sets you apart from other on-line retailers?
- We have been setting new standards in the world of online e-commerce toy stores since inception. In addition to unparalleled customer service and retail prices on all of our inventory, we now offer FREE SHIPPING on most in-stock items. We work hard daily to continue to improve the AisleSniper.com shopping experience and won't let up until we are the ultimate one-stop shop.
What trend did you completely misjudge? What really surprised you?
- I would have to say this new phenomena of busts and statues is quite shocking. They are expensive and it's harder for collectors to complete sets. Also, if you drop an action figure, chances are it won't break. If you drop a bust or statue, it's all over.
MWC - What's coming up in 2004 that you think will be exceptionally cool?
- I am personally excited about the Alien vs. Predator movie and the products McFarlane and Palisades will be releasing. Hopefully we won't be sick of either of these properties by year's end. I am also looking forward to the Kill Bill series from NECA, along with the Hellboy collectibles being produced by Sideshow.
As a retailer, what's your biggest challenge?
Mike - Ebay.
MWC - Anything else you'd like to comment on?
- Make sure you check out our Exclusive Pewter Alien Special Edition bust, limited to only 500 pieces. It's the one piece that will define every collector's collection. Shipping the week of April 12. Don't miss out!
Next week I'll
have another sponsor interview - until then, make sure you enter the contest!