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Alakazam Magic Interview

How many conventions do Alakazam appear at each year?

Alakazam Magic: Alakazam’s aim is to attend as many of the conventions in the UK that we can, however with so many new conventions appearing this is not always the case. On average we attend around 7-8 conventions a year and a lot of magic club dealer demonstrations in between. We are regular attendees at the Blackpool convention every year as well as the Magic Circle Dealers Day.

In the run up to a convention when does your preparation start?

Alakazam Magic: This can vary from convention to convention. Blackpool is the biggest convention we attend and the planning for this often starts weeks, if not months in advance. This convention is a good opportunity for us to release our latest and greatest effects upon the magic community. As our business is constantly growing and expanding, we are never without a new release, either produced by ourselves or new to the market, that we can showcase at conventions. For the most part, with the exclusion of Blackpool, preparation for a convention is done a week to two weeks in advance.

Do you still get to enjoy the convention?

Alakazam Magic: Oh yeah! Obviously our main reason for attending the convention is to sell magic and make some money, but I still get a lot of enjoyment from attending the conventions. It gives me a chance to catch up with people I may not have seen for quite a while and also network with other dealers and customers.

Alakazam magic have had a US shop for a while now. Do you intend on visting US conventions in the future to demonstrate your magic?

Alakazam Magic:It is always something that is a consideration. We did attend Mindvention in 2004 and hope to attend later this year too. Its is difficult to sometimes find the time to attend conventions abroad, especially the US, as I am always constantly involved in new projects and ideas. It would be nice to be able to attend some more conventions worldwide, it just depends on where the business is at at that particular moment and what project we are currently working on.

At every convention there are obviously a wide range of magicians present representing many different levels and interests. Do you find that one particular type of magic sells better than others mindreading, card magic, kids magic etc?

Alakazam Magic:All magic sells in it’s own right. We specialise in mainly close-up magic and mentalism and a lot of the effects we release reflect this, however we do provide for magicians at both ends of the spectrum, from children’s entertainers to hardcore mentalists. Obviously if we are at the convention and our new releases are popular then the type of magic we are selling will be reflected.

You spend hours demming magic all day, does this affect your enjoyment of magic?

Alakazam Magic: Not at all. There are so many great tricks out there, that you could never get bored and you also get to meet and talk to so many great people whom you can share thoughts and ideas with. Sometimes it is difficult when the effect you are performing for a customer is not something that you would use personally, yet on the other hand it allows you to give a realistic opinion to that customer when you are asked. We often forget that what may not suit you as a magician, does quite often fit others. I am always rediscovering tricks and effects that we have in shop that I had forgot are as powerful as they are. That’s one of the great benefits of having a large stock range, there are always new toys to play with!!

Many people will be familiar with your name but they may not be too familiar with Andy. What is Andy’s role at Alakazam and what do you get up to these days?

Alakazam Magic: I am very much at the heart of the business, even when the business is changing at the rapid rate at which it is. Andy is our Retail Manager and is responsible for the general running and management of the shop and the online store. He is responsible for making sure that the services and products we offer our customers are up to the standard that is expected. Although I am always in the shop, I can now spend a lot more time working on new products and ventures now that Andy has taken on this role. As the business expands so do my staffs roles within the company. Their thoughts and ideas are a valued part of the business.

These days competition is fierce at magic conventions for business. What do you do try and set yourself apart from the other magic dealers?

Alakazam Magic: There are so many people out there that are trying to make a living as a magic dealer nowadays that offering something that others do not can be a daunting task sometimes. We are fortunate that the name Alakazam is well known in the magic community, something I have made a priority since the business was formed. One of the things that sets us apart from other magic dealers is our ability to dissect and analyses any new effect from conception to production to make sure that the finished product is of the high quality our customers would come to expect. We have a team of professional magicians, designers and printers continually working together to ensure the finished product is the best that it can be. We also listen to the feedback we receive from customers relating to both products and services we have to offer. This feedback is important to us and is always helpful, whether it be positive or negative. We also encourage more business by sending out regular e-mails containing special offers and details of new releases as well as a weekly blog featuring news and gossip.

There also appears to be endless derivative magic coming out. How important is creating original magic at Alakazam?

Alakazam Magic: We are constantly working on new material for release. The difficulty is in coming up with something that is totally original. Past experience has shown that a lot of the time there is always someone out there that has ‘the work’ on material you thought would be original. There is obviously a process you go through when this happens, and fortunately all of the material we release is original in it’s own right, and credits are always given when we are aware of them. The team I have working with me have a vast amount of experience and knowledge regarding magic and related topics and we come with new ideas all the time. As I explained earlier, these ideas are worked on and played with until we feel we have something that can be used, then we start the process of marketing that product etc. The process is very in depth, but worth it in the end.

If a magician had an idea for a product that they wished to release what advice would you give them?

Alakazam Magic: Firstly, find out as much about the effect as you can. By that I mean do your research, make sure the effect has not been done before, and if it has do you have enough of a difference in either the method or presentation to warrant it being marketed? Once you have done your research, look in to the cost, if any, of getting it produced. If you are going to approach a magic dealer then this will be one of the the first things they would want to know. You can then discuss with them about maybe taking the production on themselves. We have a lot of people who approach us with ideas, and we look at ALL of them. Once we taken a look and had a play around with the item, we would then advise the inventor of our findings. We do not take on board everything we are sent, but we are fair and honest with our extensive findings.

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About Alakazam
Unlike some other on-line shops Alakazam Magic is not just a magic business, it was started and is still run by professional magician and magic inventor Peter Nardi. Peter Nardi along with his in-house team of magicians can provide advice that may be hard to find at other online shops.
www.alakazam.co.uk