Ali baba adventure – a dice cup order

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ramchop
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Ali baba adventure – a dice cup order

Post by ramchop »

This will be long but I thought it might be useful for future reference, as these forums seem to be immortal

“I want a dice cup”. This is a request you see now and again on forums, facebook, chat… but how do you get one? Often there’ll be a friendly response and the chain of generosity kicks into action.

A similar request recently on the NZ BB Facebook page prompted me to look into getting some made. Where to start? Hopefully this post will give you some pointers if you wish to embark on a similar adventure.

I was going into this fairly blind. I had done a run of coasters (dice mats) for ATC III, but that was really straight forward. There are no “do it yourself online” options for dice cups.

There are tens of Chinese factories that advertise dice cups on Ali Baba. Personally, I was more in favour of the all leather NAF style cups over the plastic faux leather wrapped option like the Sandgroper ones. But options here were limited. A facebook page in Spain does amazing ones, but they are really really expensive. One factory in China had an all leather option, but wouldn’t budge on the minimum run of 500. A factory in Pakistan also offered an all leather option, but no customised logos. So, I went for the Sandgroper-style option (which I was assured looked amazing), with a Kiwi logo.

First step was getting artist approval. Christian Schwager (http://www.solitudo.com) who did the awesome NZBBN design graciously obliged.

Next step was finding a factory. There are loads! A lot were culled from the list as minimum orders were set too high, 500, 1,000, even 10,000 cup runs. There were some offering 10 cup minimum, so I signed up to Ali Baba and started firing off messages. A few came back with bigger minimums (10 cup minimums were for existing logo products, not custom designs). 100 was the smallest run size I could get from a few factories. Even this was more than what I was after. What to do? How to offload the excess?

Next year there is a World Cup. Probably there’ll be a kiwi contingent. 6 player teams x 9 rounds = 54 cups. Good idea for a gift for those Euros? Spread the good will at a fantastic event. General feeling on NZ BB Facebook was positive, so I went ahead and fired off a few more messages to Ali Baba. Total cost was going to be over $500. That seemed like a big risk to carry alone. So, I aimed for a pre-order pre-payment of 30 cups from 30 people, spread the burden. Of course, although this meant less financial risk for me personally, I didn’t want to let anyone down. Quality was important.

I had a good conversation going with “Sally” from one factory, and thanks to a tip from Dazedmw (who had been down the first steps of this route before), a second thread began with “Ailsa”. Ailsa was cheaper. I told Sally this, and she matched the price, but said that it would be with a lower quality PU leather than she had initially quoted for. This rang alarm bells, but Sally did assure me it would still be a quality product. Shipping with Ailsa was cheaper, again Sally matched it. Two identical offerings, how to choose?

Flexibility? I tried to get half the cups with a different colour velvet inner lining. Neither would budge on this. I tried to get a sample made for a “likely” follow-up run. Yeah, I wanted the DIBBL logo on a cup. Both had sample cups offerings of over US$50, a bit too pricey for my sample.

So, more investigation into quality. These factories had pages and pages of dice cup listings. Clicked through them all trying to judge quality. I noticed Ailsa’s factory had a few photos which looked to have imperfections. Asked both factories for photos from different angles of a black leather cup. Both obliged, and again I felt more comfortable with Sally’s pics.

Official quote received, order made. Sally asked that we by-pass the Ali Baba trade assured option, as for such a small order it would penalise them financially. I couldn’t be bothered arguing the point on this and offered to wear the 3% extra. No way was I going to risk paying outside the protection offered by Ali Baba. I also insisted on a 30% deposit instead of full upfront (Ailsa had offered this), with the balance after I saw photos of the final product. All good. And 13 days later
tiny chinese hand.jpg
I hoped this was tiny Chinese hand making it look a bit bigger than expected. I asked for more photo angles, all looked good. I asked for some samples of pieces of the higher quality PU leather to be sent with the product, as well as some genuine leather, in case we ever go through this again. And 21 days after the order was placed (today) a big box arrived
beautiful kiwi hand.jpg
Very happy with these cups. Three are being muled to Cancon for their debut. Guaranteed POWs every roll.
functional.jpg
Notes:
- I’ve deliberately left off a lot of the specifics regarding costs. If you are interested, PM me.
- Shipping was a lot more expensive than I expected. I guess I’m accustomed to getting small things from China from ebay with free postage
- Customer service was great. Very quick responses from everyone I sent messages to. Even for such a "small order".
- Tax! I was concerned about getting hit with import duty or GST. The box slipped through customs without getting hammered. I would advise having room in your budget in case you do get hit with this.
- I probably should have gone with a 150 cup run (with 50 in a different colour lining). I expect to sell out fairly quickly, and it won’t be long until we see a “I want a dice cup” again.
- Leather samples. I couldn’t honestly see any difference in the higher quality PU leather sample strip. The genuine leather was better, but more textured I don’t know how well the logo would print on it. It’s a balancing act between price, quality and quantity. A smaller run on a higher quality product would be great, but was simply not an option (100 cup minimum).
- The group pre-order thing was fun. Lots of excitement and silly posts on the group messenger

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Dazedmw
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Re: Ali baba adventure – a dice cup order

Post by Dazedmw »

Looks like a job well done!

I haven't read this in detail and life has kept me busy over the last couple of months but once I get Cancon out of the way I'll look forward to revisiting this post and seeing if I can pick up an order for MBBL.
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Re: Ali baba adventure – a dice cup order

Post by Nubs11 »

Dazedmw wrote:Looks like a job well done!

I haven't read this in detail and life has kept me busy over the last couple of months but once I get Cancon out of the way I'll look forward to revisiting this post and seeing if I can pick up an order for MBBL.
Keep me updated on this
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Re: Ali baba adventure – a dice cup order

Post by Olaf_the_Stout »

Keep me in the loop as well please Matt.
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