Thursday, December 28, 2017


Although tempting, I am not biting on the Warehouse clearance sale, especially since some of the best deals are on items I just purchased for the Customer Appreciation Offer!

It is kind of fascinating to look at the overstocks and see what Glossies could have been: the Icelandic, Chocolate Chip Kisses, Brunello, Smokin Doubledutch, Welsh Cob, Highland Pony, Irish Draught, the Traditional Foal and Blanket Sets, the Black Adios Fonzie Merit?

Any of those would have been fine by me. (Glossy Solid Black Adios? Yes, please!)

The local Ollie’s had at least a dozen of those Rocky foals – in Matte, of course, and at a better price – and if it wasn’t for the credit card bill I’d be seriously tempted to get one. I have a bit of a soft spot for the homely little Standing Stock Horse Foal; he’s another one of those later Hess sculpts I think could really shine with just a modest amount of cleanup and customizing.

There has been quite a bit of misinformation floating around in the hobby about the nature of inventory and overstock, and it’s been bugging me, a lot. That’s because these are things I happen to be intimately familiar with on a day-to-day basis at work.

So let me provide a little illumination.

Overstocks aren’t always or even necessarily the result of bad business decisions or factors within anyone’s direct control. Production issues, mathematical errors in sales calculations, shipping problems, communication issues, seasonal variables like weather or natural disasters, or sudden changes in taste or fashion: all of these things can lead to overstock.

The other problem is as old as retailing itself: no matter how carefully you plan, there will always be leftovers.

Legitimate, boneheaded mistakes do get made, but true mistakes are far fewer of than most of us might realize, and the decisions that led to them being made often seemed quite logical at the time.

I think the original Blue and Gold Decorators of the 1960s were a case in point. A significant chunk of Breyers, even in the 1960s, were purchased strictly as home decorating accents, and Breyer had had modest success marketing their Woodgrains as such.

So it did not seem too outrageous an idea to expand upon that with other less realistic and more decorative colors, especially ones that would have been easier to paint than Woodgrains.

Things did not go as planned, obviously.

If they had debuted a few years later, that idea might have even succeeded, but that’s another lengthy discussion in and of itself.

Breyer has always had overstock issues, though things were definitely different in the Chicago era. They could get away with having items sit in backstock for a while because production runs were measured in years or even decades back then: if they felt they were a little overstocked on something, they could just cease production for a while and sell down whatever they had sitting in the warehouse.

What didn’t sell after a certain period of time could – and would! – get shuttled off to mail-order companies like Horses International and Bentley Sales. And if there were items they still couldn’t pawn off on them (like, the original Decorators) they could repaint them or Chalk them up, and move them out as a new or better-selling release – or even a Special Run!

A big chunk of those Black Family Arabian Special Runs in the late 1970s appears to be overpainted backstock of Family Arabians in all the colors discontinued in the early 1970s.

Because the product life cycle is so abbreviated now – it’s rare for a Regular Run Traditional to make it to its second year of production, nowadays – Reeves does not have the luxury of time: overstock can’t sit in the warehouse for months or years to sell down, because they need room in the warehouse for new product now.

The easiest way to do that is to contract with retailers that deal with overstocks (like Tuesday Mornings and Ollie’s) to make room on an as-needed basis.

So it is difficult to say or judge how well Breyer is doing as a brand (or Reeves, as a company) based solely on what we see in the stores. It’s a little more complicated than that.

Regardless of what is going on behind the scenes (I don’t know all that much more than you guys, and sometimes even less) all I can say is that I hope the “Glossy Customer Appreciation Promotion” becomes a regular holiday offering.


Truson said...

I would buy a LOT more from the site for glossy specials like this!

Yvonne said...

If they just offered the overstock as glossies they would make A LOT more money from me! I would buy anything and everything if they slapped a coat of gloss on it! But by the time they come out with the end-of-year purchase I already own all the RR models I wanted, so I'm spending $125 to get duplicates for one glossy, where I'd probably spend $300 or more to get a bunch of horses they couldn't sell in matte as glossy!