The Tommy’s War Collectors Club

An announcement for Tommy’s War Collectors Club members;

2019 will be the last year of the Collectors Club and it won’t be returning for 2020 and beyond. Although I’m sad to not extend the club the reasons aren’t bad or due to poor sales (indeed, quite the reverse);

The quick reason why (you can read the longer version below) is that the Collectors Club has grown a lot larger than I originally anticipated and I simply don’t have time to devote to the club to really give members the customers the experience they deserve.

However, there is some good news. All current members of the club for 2019 will continue to receive their 20% discount until the 31st December 2020 – this offer will also apply to anyone who joins the 2019 Collectors Club from now until 31st December 2019. I’ll also continue to produce and supply newsletters until the end of 2020 which members of the 2019 club will still receive.

There was a figure earmarked for the Collectors Club Edition 2020, this will now go into the regular series, I’ll provide an article with the release schedule for this year separately.

I’d like to thank everyone who supported the Collectors Club, the response has been absolutely fantastic and I’m genuinely sad to see it end.

The section below gives my reasons for stopping the club, but for clarity.

  • The 2019 Collectors Club will be available to purchase until midnight on 31st December 2019. Until that point any customer can purchase memberships and select any one of the four membership figures.
  • Customers can choose to purchase multiple memberships up to that point and select different figures (to complete the set of four if they wish)
  • At midnight on 31st December 2019 the four figures will be out of production.
  • Any customer who is a member of the Collectors Club 2019 will retain their 20% discount for the full period of 2020, ending 31st December 2020.
  • Collectors Club Specials will NOT be available for general purchase under any circumstances, we will not enter into correspondence regarding this matter.
  • I will continue to produce newsletters through 2020 so that we end on the full 16 promised, all current members of the 2019 Collectors Club will receive copies.

The long story

The section above is the short story, but if you’re interested in the longer view then please feel free to read below.

I started Tommy’s War in 2011 as a ‘hobby business’, it was never intended to grow to the business it is today with over 80 figures and multiple other accessories. I still work full-time in a marketing agency which is a demanding role with a lot of responsibility and I’ve always been clear that my priorities are always going to be 1. family, 2. career and 3. hobbies. Tommy’s War falls into the ‘hobbies’ category.

A question sometimes asked is “would you take-on Tommy’s War as your full-time job”. I’m afraid that’s not a realistic option. The business (Tommy’s War Limited) has a turnover of around £40,000 GBP per year, from that I have to pay sculptors, casters and box artists plus a myriad of other suppliers and services from accountants to web support. Add in costs for things like model shows (think not just hire of the table, but travel and hotels) and you can see that £40,000 soon descends into, well into a negative!

I’ve never made any money from Tommy’s War, and there certainly isn’t a salary in any form associated with the business. But it’s not all doom and I’m certainly not complaining, the business holds a lot of assets such as intellectual property, master figures and box art (plus a LOT of stock).

That’s the financial background and the reason why I have to run the business part-time around work. So I guess that leaves the question of why end the Collectors Club.

The Collectors Club was set-up in late 2015 following a reorganisation of the business. Issues in production meant I’d become overstocked which led to pressure on cashflow (cashflow, the biggest issue for many businesses). I restructured and moved away from selling to retailers to a direct-only model. The Collectors Club was in support of that strategy and I’m pleased to say it was successful. Initially, I’d targeted the Collectors Club to have around 100 members. I massively underestimated that and as you can see from the figures below (members who subscribed annually) not only have I exceeded that number but that the club grew year-on-year.

Memberships year on year
2016 127
2017 142
2018 160
2019 176*

This is clearly fantastic news, and I’m not pretending otherwise, so why not continue the club?

Well, it comes down to time. As I’ve explained I have to work and family is my most important thing, so that leaves hobbies as my third priority.

When it comes to hobbies (and that’s where Tommy’s War falls) I’ve got three main interests; Tommy’s War, sport (I’m a runner and have completed marathons and recently started triathlon training) and modelling (painting and tabletop gaming).

As you can imagine with family, work and such a wide selection of very time-consuming hobbies it’s a constant juggle to fit everything in and over the course of the last year it’s been Tommy’s War that’s dominated my time. Ultimately, in a demanding schedule I have to decide where I spend my time (and I’m sure of you reading this are in the same situation, so sorry for waffling!) and I’ve decided to ‘dial back’ Tommy’s War (that sounds like corporate speak!) to allow me more time for sport (because I love that and it’s good for me mentally and physically) and modelling (because I’ve really started to enjoy my painting and want to do a lot more).

The decision to stop the Collectors Club is part of this, it will free-up a lot of my time and allow me some breathing space.. Hopefully my very long explanation does give the reasoning behind this and if you’ve been a supporter of the club then my apologies it’s ending.

You might ask why I don’t just stop all my other hobbies and concentrate on Tommy’s War. It’s a fair question, and the answer is that it’s tough working full time and coming home to effectively put in another shift. Since September 2019 I’ve worked pretty much every evening and every night on Tommy’s War after work, I use a large part of my holiday allowance from work traveling and setting-up at shows, and to be frank it’s exhausting. If I’m honest, I just don’t have the will to effectively work 18 hours a day seven days a week, so I do need to cut the workload back quite significantly. It’s all about balance, and I’ve felt the balance of my free time outside work was over-skewed to Tommy’s War and I simply want to reduce that workload a little.

Tommy’s War isn’t a business in the traditional sense, in that it’s a hobby (rather than a career) that I try to do to the best of my abilities. There will be a number of changes to the business as I make it smaller and there will be consolidation of the product lines over the next 18 months with the aim that once I get to 2021 I have a very lean and efficient business that I can run efficiently. The new releases will continue and there will be six new figures out in the next couple of months and I’m already progressed on the 2020 calendar.

I’ll post more details of the changes soon (although they won’t come into force until the end of 2020), thank you all for your support over the last four years and I look forward to seeing you at shows in the future.

*The figure shown is the number of memberships on 06.07.2019, the Collectors Club for 2019 remains open until 31st December 2019.