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What happened to the Inkworks records
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Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of X
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by webjon:
I think a lot of the criticisms are based on unrealistic expectations, and that in general the Inkworks critics are much harsher on Inkworks for doing the same things that other manufacturers do/did.

quote:
Originally posted by X:
  • Why did they have SO much in inventory left over? There were THOUSANDS of autographs and pieceworks in the liquidation, enough to create an entire product (or two?) by Razor. Some cards are always needed for damage replacements but would the majority of cards not have been better served inserted in boxes of the original product? For both collectors and dealers? So many cards would have been more accessible for so many.



There are many valid reasons to have inventory -- many were already discussed, but also nearly every manufacturer who has gone out of business has had lots of excess inventory left over -- and -- it's not like all the sudden thousands of really rare cards popped up. Mostly it was mid range to average cards.

But where Inkworks differed was that in addition to cards needed for damages, as every manufacturer has, they also had lots that should have always been in the product in the first place.
Regarding rarity, the majority of cards in a set, and people's collections, are made up of "mid-range to average cards". Apart from the absolute rarest cards, everything else tanked in value. I can't spin that as a positive.


quote:
Originally posted by X:
  • They were great at fulfilling expired redemptions, the best in fact, but this positive image cultivated by Inkworks caught people with their pants down at the end. Particularly dealers sitting on unsold product. As has been mentioned in the thread, Inkworks kept their closure quiet up to the last moment... the cynic in me says to avoid conversations about refusing redemptions and thereby allowing them to keep hold of stock for liquidation, rather than for their original customers.


Isn't this how just about all businesses close? They've closed several chains around me in the last year, and none of them whispered to their customers that the end was near. . . just one day they announced they were closing. . . That's it. I think it is unreasonable that anyone expected more than that.

What average business can include something like redemptions for trading cards? It's not a fair comparison. People thought they had time for Inkworks to make good on the redemptions when they did not.

quote:
Originally posted by X:
[LIST]
  • They accepted redemptions far too easily as part of their business model, from start to finish. How much time and money was wasted on their end administrating redemptions over the years that could have been better spent surviving in the marketplace? No collectors want redemptions. Surely any card manufacturer would rather avoid them too?


  • Valid criticism, however I'm sure Inkworks would have preferred avoiding redemptions, and part of that was going to sticker autographs which some vocal people really screamed about. . . If you talk to any manufacturer about getting autographs and avoiding redemptions it's kind of a nightmare. There is a thread right now on Blowout where Marco from 258 has talked about no longer doing autographed cards because it takes 2 weeks to get cards printed and that 2 week window creates a big enough risk of celebs backing out that he'll no longer do them (which is a huge bummer). Brian Gray talks about stickers/redemptions on Twitter from time to time as well.

    What you're saying does not hold water. Two of their last sets, The Spirit and Supernatural Connections, both used sticker autos and ALL were via redemption. Plenty of other manufacturers avoid redemptions more deliberately and successfully.

    quote:
    Originally posted by X:
    • If a licensor mandates the destruction/non-distribution of cards due to end of contract, Inkworks should not have had certain cards available to liquidate. But they did, and lied about it, and that showed some shady business practice. Sorry, but it was. Just because a licensor didn't appear to go after them doesn't make it OK. Just because collectors got another shot at cheaper cards doesn't make it OK.



    There are assumptions here. I have no idea what the inner workings were, but it is entirely possible that Inkworks sold the assets prior to the license expiring. Perhaps Inkworks the company sold them to Caplan personally.

    That might not make it 'ok' in some people's mind, but from a license standpoint it is entirely possible that nothing shady happened.

    I understand that's not what he told you personally, and that you may personally feel slighted by that, but I also don't think the CEO of a manufacturing company owes collectors any sort of explanation and can understand why they might keep things from collectors.

    On a side note -- I've heard stories of Dino from Dart drilling holes through cards and cringe at that thought that a stack of Steve Irwin autographs was destroyed. Personally I'd rather see the cards hit the market that get destroyed, so I definitely have a bias on destroying cards . . .


    My "assumptions" are based upon what I was told. Straight from the horses mouth. Why are you even talking about the selling of assets to whomever in the example I gave? He said they had been destroyed so could not be in anyone's possession.

    I asked him a question once, and instead of being vague (as I would expect most business owners to be), he chose to offer information that was quite specific. What he said turned out to be a lie.

    Would I rather these cards were destroyed? No, actually I would not. You're missing my point: in my one personal interaction with him he was dishonest and that lack of integrity dented my impression of him/his company.

    In having to clarify, and in some cases repeat myself, I am being forced to focus on the negative. This is not an Inkworks or 'Uncle' Allan bash-fest.
    Even if the Inkworks die-hards won't hear it, some were unhappy about how things went down at the end. But why is that, when so many other card companies have closed down operations without criticism?

    This message has been edited. Last edited by: X,
     
    Posts: 3068 | Location: England | Registered: June 23, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Gold Card Talk Member
    posted Hide Post
    I've already addressed all the other points made, I believe, and as I said initially nothing I say is going to change anyone's mind.

    So agree to disagree across the board.

    Except I don't think I've explicitly addressed this comment:

    quote:
    Originally posted by X:

    What average business can include something like redemptions for trading cards? It's not a fair comparison. People thought they had time for Inkworks to make good on the redemptions when they did not.



    I don't see Inkworks closing as any different than any other business.

    I have gift cards for companies that are no longer in business.

    I've had warranties cut short for products from manufacturers who went out of business. . .

    I thought I had more time to use those things too. . .
     
    Posts: 4777 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Diamond Card Talk Member
    Picture of hammer
    posted Hide Post
    quote:
    Originally posted by webjon:
    I feel like I'm trying to have a rational conversation with a conspiracy theorist.


    Lol - yes
     
    Posts: 11922 | Location: England | Registered: September 16, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Contest Czar
    Picture of barobehere
    posted Hide Post
    This thread just shows how much an impact Inkworks had. 12 years later and we are still all passionate about this company. Do we talk about Artbox? Dart? Skybox? with such vivaciousness? Inkworks supporters minds and Inkworks detractors minds are not going to be changed at this point no matter what is said.

    With that being said if anyone feels so negatively about Inkworks still, I will give you my mailing address and you can send all of your Inkworks products to me! (This sentence is a joke-I am pulling a wolfie here)
     
    Posts: 5712 | Location: Meridian, Mississippi | Registered: November 23, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Titanium Card Talk Member
    Picture of wolfie
    posted Hide Post
    I think reading through the posts on this that we all agree that for 95% of the Inkworks existence the company was great and Allen and all his staff were great and i'm sure we all thank them for that.

    I think over the years i have said all i need to say about the other 5%, it is of no use to anyone to keep going on about it, what is done is done.

    ____________________
    Come, it is time for you to keep your appointment with The Wicker Man.
     
    Posts: 28421 | Location: wolverhampton staffs uk | Registered: July 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Silver Card Talk Member
    Picture of steve j
    posted Hide Post
    I personally loved Inkworks, they made collecting fun, and you were able to complete and move on to the next - there was closure. I liked that.

    They also made people more aware of promos, Collecting Inkworks promos were also fun. They had internet promos, general release promos, uk promos, show promos etc. I don't collect promos anymore. It really finished when Inkworks finished, although Ed Webb and Mhoponhop have done well to try and keep that part of the hobby alive. Buying promos from dealers seems to be part of the hobby today and I hate that.

    I have no opinion about the end days of Inkworks, it was just sad. Maybe Allen didn't have any control over the excess product and just needed to sell to razor to eat. I have good memories of Inkworks.

    They gave me master sets of Serenity, Firefly, Golden Compass and Animated Hellboy. I will always be thankful to them for that..
     
    Posts: 1767 | Location: Wales, UK | Registered: June 10, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Platinum Card Talk Member
    Picture of Raven
    posted Hide Post
    If you have been collecting non-sport cards for awhile, you have seen quite a few card companies come and go. Some of them were favorites and a few of them were trailblazers in the industry. Newer card collectors may not have known about all of them. For that reason I think it's good to bring them up from time to time and discuss it. Not for the people who know, but for the people who don't know.

    While many would say that Inkworks was the gold standard, and I am not disagreeing with them, my own personal favorite was Breygent because I loved the quality of their cards. Their autograph cards and relics were second to none and I really miss that. Like all stories, there were two sides to it, good and bad. And just like Inkworks, the good far outweighed the bad. It's all in the history of this hobby and yeah, that is my opinion. Big Grin
     
    Posts: 8376 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Gold Card Talk Member
    Picture of mykdude
    posted Hide Post
    quote:
    Originally posted by Raven:
    While many would say that Inkworks was the gold standard, and I am not disagreeing with them, my own personal favorite was Breygent because I loved the quality of their cards. Their autograph cards and relics were second to none and I really miss that. Like all stories, there were two sides to it, good and bad. And just like Inkworks, the good far outweighed the bad. It's all in the history of this hobby and yeah, that is my opinion. Big Grin


    I think I agree, Inkworks used cheaper and thinner card stock. Seems that Breygent spent more time in the design phase and their costume and convention cards are pretty awesome. Surprised that titles such as AHS and Bates Motel weren't more popular.
     
    Posts: 3485 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: March 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Gold Card Talk Member
    posted Hide Post
    quote:
    Originally posted by barobehere:
    This thread just shows how much an impact Inkworks had. 12 years later and we are still all passionate about this company. Do we talk about Artbox? Dart? Skybox? with such vivaciousness? Inkworks supporters minds and Inkworks detractors minds are not going to be changed at this point no matter what is said.


    I personally think the reason that some people are still passionate about Inkworks -- regardless of being pro or con -- is that Allan Caplan was so accessible. Many people in the hobby interacted with him personally, he was at conventions, he was on the boards, etc. I can't name the CEOs of most card companies, and I certainly haven't met that many in person. . . I doubt I'm alone in that.

    I think that accessibility leads some people to be more critical of Inkworks as they felt that 'Uncle Allan' owed them more than he did -- they feel like Inkworks broke their trust when they closed their doors.

    There are certainly tons of valid criticisms of Inkworks (and any other company). I personally thought they should have taken more risks with set content -- the inserts sets and insertion ratios got very predictable even as the market changed.

    Ultimately I don't know of any other company that tried as hard as Inkworks did to spread the word about entertainment cards outside of our hobby. Sadly it seems like outside of guys like Ed Webb very few people or companies are trying to spread the word any more.
     
    Posts: 4777 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Gold Card Talk Member
    posted Hide Post
    quote:
    Originally posted by mykdude:
    quote:
    Originally posted by Raven:
    While many would say that Inkworks was the gold standard, and I am not disagreeing with them, my own personal favorite was Breygent because I loved the quality of their cards. Their autograph cards and relics were second to none and I really miss that. Like all stories, there were two sides to it, good and bad. And just like Inkworks, the good far outweighed the bad. It's all in the history of this hobby and yeah, that is my opinion. Big Grin


    I think I agree, Inkworks used cheaper and thinner card stock. Seems that Breygent spent more time in the design phase and their costume and convention cards are pretty awesome. Surprised that titles such as AHS and Bates Motel weren't more popular.


    Breygent was awesome. I probably have more Breygent cards in my collection than any other manufacturer.

    Their designs are awesome -- I love the later AHS costume/relic card designs. I loved that they produced many different formats of cards from regular boxes to set boxes to premium packs to mega-set boxes. Their Red Sonja set boxes to this day are one of my top sets ever produced.

    I don't know why the AHS and other sets they made didn't resonate with collectors. The sets are VERY well made. . . I think it just goes to show how difficult it is to pick a license that is going to connect with collectors.
     
    Posts: 4777 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Platinum Card Talk Member
    Picture of Raven
    posted Hide Post
    quote:
    Originally posted by webjon:
    I don't know why the AHS and other sets they made didn't resonate with collectors. The sets are VERY well made. . . I think it just goes to show how difficult it is to pick a license that is going to connect with collectors.


    Part of the problem resided in that "bad" side of Breygent. For whatever the reason, they just couldn't produce the sets on time. The hot properties grew cold by the time they got to release date and they were always a few seasons behind. Then the shows cancelled or wrapped up and card collectors were after newer titles.

    But let's not start that conversation, unless we open a new thread. Breygent definitely contributed as much to new innovations in card making as did Inkworks, but Inkworks had more mainstream titles and a larger footprint over all. Inkworks' boxes were also easier to find and had bigger print runs. Yes, I enjoy just looking at the Breygent cards in my collection more than any I have from other manufacturers too. Smile
     
    Posts: 8376 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



    Silver Card Talk Member
    posted Hide Post
    I also really miss Artbox - between the Harry Potter sets, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a few others. I love their autograph designs and their wide variety of prop cards (who could forget their grass cards from "Charlie"). Too bad they didn't stick around.
     
    Posts: 2073 | Location: Pennsylvania | Registered: September 14, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Silver Card Talk Member
    posted Hide Post
    No matter how well a set is put together, the customer has to know and like/love the subject. AHS and Bates Motel were on cable networks that don't get the viewership of others though Bates Motel (A&E) lasted a few seasons and AHS (FX) is still going. Neither of them had or has had a season that got caught fire and compelled a much larger audience to watch the other ones.

    And yeah, it's tough to pick what reasonably-priced license of a low-mid profile property is going to be "trading card gold." Companies have gambled on "Warehouse 13" and "Supernatural," scoring big with "Outlander" but choose poorly once and you're in trouble. Choose poorly twice and the company is on the brink.

    I thought "The Strain" (also FX) was fantastic but it never got much of a promotional push and no card set at all.

    Jess


    quote:
    Originally posted by webjon:
    quote:
    Originally posted by mykdude:
    quote:
    Originally posted by Raven:
    While many would say that Inkworks was the gold standard, and I am not disagreeing with them, my own personal favorite was Breygent because I loved the quality of their cards. Their autograph cards and relics were second to none and I really miss that. Like all stories, there were two sides to it, good and bad. And just like Inkworks, the good far outweighed the bad. It's all in the history of this hobby and yeah, that is my opinion. Big Grin


    I think I agree, Inkworks used cheaper and thinner card stock. Seems that Breygent spent more time in the design phase and their costume and convention cards are pretty awesome. Surprised that titles such as AHS and Bates Motel weren't more popular.


    Breygent was awesome. I probably have more Breygent cards in my collection than any other manufacturer.

    Their designs are awesome -- I love the later AHS costume/relic card designs. I loved that they produced many different formats of cards from regular boxes to set boxes to premium packs to mega-set boxes. Their Red Sonja set boxes to this day are one of my top sets ever produced.

    I don't know why the AHS and other sets they made didn't resonate with collectors. The sets are VERY well made. . . I think it just goes to show how difficult it is to pick a license that is going to connect with collectors.
     
    Posts: 1997 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Platinum Card Talk Member
    Picture of Raven
    posted Hide Post
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by catskilleagle:
    No matter how well a set is put together, the customer has to know and like/love the subject.

    Jess

    Yes, that's something that all card makers have to watch out for. You want to keep doing what works and sells, but by the same token, if your licenses have no diversity, you are putting yourself in a box.

    Between AHS, Dexter and Bates Motel, all you had was creeps and serial killers. If card collectors didn't watch those shows, or worse, hated the subject matter, then they just have no interest in the cards except from some few of the autographs on eBay.

    Falling back to Inkworks, the Golden Compass is a very nice looking set. The movie bombed, the set had no chance and didn't even have autographs as a lure.
     
    Posts: 8376 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Gold Card Talk Member
    posted Hide Post
    quote:
    Originally posted by catskilleagle:
    No matter how well a set is put together, the customer has to know and like/love the subject. AHS and Bates Motel were on cable networks that don't get the viewership of others though Bates Motel (A&E) lasted a few seasons and AHS (FX) is still going. Neither of them had or has had a season that got caught fire and compelled a much larger audience to watch the other ones.

    And yeah, it's tough to pick what reasonably-priced license of a low-mid profile property is going to be "trading card gold." Companies have gambled on "Warehouse 13" and "Supernatural," scoring big with "Outlander" but choose poorly once and you're in trouble. Choose poorly twice and the company is on the brink.


    Why did Outlander do well with collectors? I've never seen the show. . .

    Like AHS it is on a cable network.

    AHS Season 1 had 2.5-3 million viewers per episode. Outlander had less than 1 million.

    Whatever it was, Outlander fans were compelled to collect the cards.

    Figuring out the card collecting market is tough. Rick and Morty Season 1 cards were a smash success, season 2 cards did so poorly that season 3 cards were kind of scraped. I think the quality of the sets is consistent. . . for some reason the collectors changed.

    Orphan Black seemed like a fantastic license for a trading card set. The set they did was very well done, but sold poorly.
     
    Posts: 4777 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Platinum Card Talk Member
    Picture of Raven
    posted Hide Post
    quote:
    Originally posted by webjon:
    Why did Outlander do well with collectors? I've never seen the show. . .


    Me neither and I don't collect the cards, but there are a couple of reasons I can think of that might have made Outlander cards more attractive than some other more expected titles.

    Outlander is sourced from a series of books, so some people may be readers. Its a romance based on historical fiction and that always has fans. It is set in Scotland for the time traveler. I have noticed that a lot of the Outlander card collectors who post here are from the UK and in fact many of the actors are better recognized in Europe than in the US. Not saying that most support is international, but it does seem to have a strong following in different countries.

    As for the card sets, like everything else, repeat autograph cards are getting less special and the premium price of the last product was probably a bad idea. So I'm not sure that they aren't trying to ring too much out of it now, even with loyal viewers.
     
    Posts: 8376 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Bronze Card Talk Member
    posted Hide Post
    thanks you all for your thoughts on the Inkworks closedown and about their records etc .
    It seems that there is quiet a difference of opinion even after 12 years.
    I know how you feel the same thing happened here about 1998.
    There was a company called Card Crazy who later changed their name to Dynamic Sports and Non Sports cards who set up a Club were you could buy unreleased items etc they pumped this for about two months A lot of people sent in for items including me .
    No reply after a few weeks worried people started to ask were their money and articles were.
    They received back a letter from the Liquidator that the company had gone into receivership and get in line nothing more was heard form them again.
    Later on as the Company had printed on their card packs Points numbers you could send tour points to a certain address and you could get something .I wrote to the address and the sent me a list of cards etc that were available and how many points that they wanted for each item.
    I had a swag of empty packets that were in a box so I sorted them out and received some good items from them I dont know who had these items but it lessened the hurt of being ripped off
    But as far as I know nobody has ever run down that company
    But that was in the early days when I had to do everything by mail as I never had a Computer.
     
    Posts: 556 | Location: New Zealand | Registered: November 22, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Silver Card Talk Member
    posted Hide Post
    I saw "The Golden Compass" and thought it was a good movie. It ended as if another one was on the way. It had that "Disney/Wizard of Oz/The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" kind of set-up and story but it just didn't get enough people to check it out nor generate any vocal hardcore fans. I noticed even The Chronicles of Narnia got only three movies in out of seven, though admittedly, the first book is easily the most widely-recognized. I assume today's kids aren't reading those like we did in the 70's.

    Jess


    quote:
    Originally posted by Raven:
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by catskilleagle:
    No matter how well a set is put together, the customer has to know and like/love the subject.

    Jess

    Yes, that's something that all card makers have to watch out for. You want to keep doing what works and sells, but by the same token, if your licenses have no diversity, you are putting yourself in a box.

    Between AHS, Dexter and Bates Motel, all you had was creeps and serial killers. If card collectors didn't watch those shows, or worse, hated the subject matter, then they just have no interest in the cards except from some few of the autographs on eBay.

    Falling back to Inkworks, the Golden Compass is a very nice looking set. The movie bombed, the set had no chance and didn't even have autographs as a lure.
     
    Posts: 1997 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Silver Card Talk Member
    posted Hide Post
    I've just seen the commercials for "Outlander" on the Starz network. It looks like the kind of thing my mom would like but she hasn't read the novels nor watched the show...yet. I guess having a big readership and viewership helps and it might not hurt that there isn't a lot of other "Outlander" merchandise out there so fans are buying what's available. At least I don't see some noticeable standee or other display with various stuff at Target nor Wal-Mart. Fans certainly paid up to go on a short cruise with a few of the actors. I would not have gambled on printing and packaging cards for "Outlander" over something like "Archer" and yet it's Outlander that has been a big hit with collectors.

    Jess


    quote:
    Originally posted by Raven:
    quote:
    Originally posted by webjon:
    Why did Outlander do well with collectors? I've never seen the show. . .


    Me neither and I don't collect the cards, but there are a couple of reasons I can think of that might have made Outlander cards more attractive than some other more expected titles.

    Outlander is sourced from a series of books, so some people may be readers. Its a romance based on historical fiction and that always has fans. It is set in Scotland for the time traveler. I have noticed that a lot of the Outlander card collectors who post here are from the UK and in fact many of the actors are better recognized in Europe than in the US. Not saying that most support is international, but it does seem to have a strong following in different countries.

    As for the card sets, like everything else, repeat autograph cards are getting less special and the premium price of the last product was probably a bad idea. So I'm not sure that they aren't trying to ring too much out of it now, even with loyal viewers.
     
    Posts: 1997 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Silver Card Talk Member
    posted Hide Post
    I think the problem for Inkworks was that they guessed wrong on which licenses would be most profitable, and didn't hit on one that became a "cash cow" like Lost and Sopranos or the early, then-cheap, long-lasting license Artbox acquired for Harry Potter.

    I don't remember the details, but I recall that at the time of the Inkworks bankruptcy, the judge did not give any freedom of action. "Liquidate everything in the building immediately" and put a lid on communications with former customers. Yes, there are rumors that some items had already left the building, but there have always been bonus incentives from cardmakers to their most loyal customers. But the way the bankruptcy went down had been very disturbing to him.

    I ran into Allan at Comic Con a couple of times later and he had been working on some other collectible licenses, but I don't see products from Caplan Consulting LLC.

    Twelve minutes ago he posted on LinkedIn that "Arizona is fantastic." So Ed, the "warmer climes" include your neighborhood!
     
    Posts: 2423 | Location: North Augusta, SC, USA | Registered: November 28, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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