We stock about a gazillion different magazine titles as well as stationery across our 5 stores in Australia, New Zealand and online.

Frustrations

We are about to open our 6th store. Actually, given we have closed two mall stores in the past, this will be the 8th store that we have opened. You would hope by now that the process would be somewhat streamlined.

Well, it is from our side, yet it remains ridiculously bureaucratic to do something as simple as secure supply of magazines into our new Sydney store. With two of the three main suppliers, it is all plain sailing. We have long term relationships with them, they understand what it is we do, and when we open a store, we simply tell them to start stock piling mags for us so that when we open the doors, we start with a decent range. Our range obviously builds over the first few months as new titles come in, but at least we can showcase something impressive on day one.

However, with one of the three major Australian magazine suppliers, we have to apply for supply and fill in details more relevant to a newsagency. They then have a meeting at irregular intervals during which they decide on whether to approve all applications before them. Until this meeting takes place, there is no way that magazines from this particular supplier can be put aside in a stock pile for delivery prior to opening.

In practice, it means that we will open the doors to our first Sydney store (in King St, Newtown – near Missenden Rd) and be without some standard, mainstream magazines. The Sydney public does not know us as well as the Melbourne public, and our credibility as magazine specialists will be at risk when customers’ first impressions have them asking questions about where are some of our bread and butter titles.

I called this one supplier, but there is no way they will bend the rules and allow common sense to prevail. We are not a new, tiny mum and dad operator. They know us. We have history with them. They know our business model and appreciate what we are trying to achieve in reviving the magazine retailing industry. So why can’t they help us? Because bureaucracy gets in the way. Our application will be approved. They know what titles we want. But they cannot preemptively stockpile for us. We will open without putting our best foot forward in terms of our magazine range. We will get there in the end, but in the meanwhile, I am one very frustrated magazineologist.

3 Responses to “Frustrations”

  1. Mal Damkar says:

    Cant you ship some small quantities up from the melbourne store – just so you have some in store at least for the launch ?

  2. mag nation says:

    That is exactly what we are now doing. Problem is that if we don’t sell those magazines, we have to return them, but it is a real admin challenge to collate returns across two stores in two cities. Admin nightmare. Still, we are taking the cost hit and also the freight charges for sending it up because there is no way I am going to let the store open without at least a decent range.

    Even then, it still won’t be ideal. At least we know that heaps more stock will filter through over the coming weeks.

  3. Rita McCulloch says:

    Hi Guys,
    I went into the new Newtown store on Saturday and picked up myself a copy of Surface magazine.
    I was carrying my black papermag and a fellow melb fan acosted me in the street.
    i didn’t know you have such a following!
    Yes the shelves were a tad bare but nevertheless very impressed.
    I’m so excited by your concept and look forward to popping in again. I’m not familiar with magnation but look forward to exploring new titles esp in fashion and design. eg. lula.
    Great location as Arial’s mag area in their Paddington store has sadly diminished. And a trip to darlo newsagent on oxford st is such a headache.
    Look forward to investigating upstairs when I get some time.
    Thankx Ritz

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