How it works: how’s the comic shop

Co-owners of comic book store “Chuck and Geek” Vasily Shevchenko (left) and Ivan Cherniavsky

Graduates of RSUH Vasily Shevchenko and Ivan Cherniavsky were never fans of the comics, but loved them. In 2010 Shevchenko, who has worked four years as an editor in the publishing house “Comic book”, decided to change activity. “I’m just tired, like Vanya, tired from working in the record label (music Studio) “bullfinches” — says in an interview with RBC Shevchenko. During a joint trip to India the boys formed the idea to open her bookstore. “Some 18 years I dream to open a bar, but we dreamed of having my own bookshop,” explains Shevchenko.

Two rack at the start

The pre-opening took two months. The former employer Shevchenko managed to get a substantial discount on a batch of comics that were acquired on loan from friends of 30 thousand rubles. the shop decided to open on the territory of the gallery “Replica” in the Big Palashevsky lane. “This is a very old gift gallery, which has long been felt, which takes a little more room than he wants, — explains Shevchenko. To us, they sold foreign books in the store “Pangloss”. So this place is always been sympathetic to the living book project”. For a start, the gallery has offered to budding entrepreneurs two rack and three free weeks of rent: since the opening on 8 December 2010 and before the new year.

Meaningless name of the shop “Chuk and the Geek”, admits Shevchenko, born in communicating with friends: “It has provoked the most emotion and controversy”. At the opening of the store came the friends of friends who learned about the store from social networks. A tiny note about a new book appeared in Time Out and on some specialized sites. Shevchenko admits that at the start of the project, the partners used their full acquaintance.

Figures “Chuck and Geek”

30 thousand roubles — the initial investment in the first bench

1.5 thousand of comics presented in the stores network

From 100 pages — volume modern comics

3.5 million rbl. in a month or two of revenue stalls “Chuck and Geek”

800-900 rubles — the average check

About 5 thousand purchases a month is performed in two shops

Source: company data

In December, sales amounted to 60 thousand rubles, which allowed to repay the debt taken at the start. In January, “Chuck and the Geek” was already three shelves in March — four, and by the summer she took a separate room of 20 sq m, to which is now added a warehouse of 50 sq. m. “the Comics then mainly traded in bookstores, making a fantastic mark-up and us at the normal discount and the lack of insane greed has been able to set prices well below book”, explains the rapid growth of sales of Shevchenko. The first three months of the boys themselves stood behind the counter, but then hired the seller. “I still remember how in the spring of 2011 received a nominal salary of 5 thousand rubles in his shop — says Shevchenko. — All earned we invested in the expansion of the range, living on what he earned as freelance journalists. I was saved by the fact that I love three things: yogurt, buckwheat and sea cabbage”.

The economy shop of comics

Growing interest of the Metropolitan audience for the comic book inspired Shevchenko and Chernyavsky for the opening of the second point. “The opening of the first shop next to the gallery has enabled us to avoid many mistakes that we committed, creating a new “PAAs and the Geek,” says Shevchenko. A search of the premises for the new shops were engaged in a new partner “Chuck and Geek” Maxim Andrianov. “The requirements were simple: the location in the center, plenty of space, adequate rent,” — says Shevchenko. The premises of 80 sq m is found in Clement lane near the metro station “Novokuznetskaya”.

Investment in launching the second point was about 1.2 million rubles., of which 300 thousand rubles. was spent on repairs, 350 thousand — on purchase of furniture and commercial equipment, and 550 thousand in lease payments before opening. “We were offered bookcases from 350 thousand to 2 million roubles, — tells Shevchenko. — The difference I did not understand, but we learned that money in a project you can invest forever.” About 1.1 million rubles needed to purchase the first batch of goods. On the third month of the new point reached breakeven point. This is largely due to the fact that a large area of the second “Chuck and the Geek” are sold not only comics, but books in the genre of science fiction, fantasy, children’s books, related products, such as constructors and trinkets.

Now both shops are about 3.5 million rubles of profit per month. Average check in the store in the gallery “Replica” — 900 rbl., in Novokuznetsk — 800 rubles Total number of checks is about 5 thousand a month, of which 15% gives online store opened in 2012. The backbone of the audience “Chuck and Geek” — young people aged 14 to 25 years (60%). “Boys slightly more than girls,’ says Shevchenko. — There are superstrange characters, but cool — one came two big, bearded man in costume kangaroo”.

Co-owners of comic book store "PAA and the Geek" Vasily Shevchenko (top) and Ivan Cherniavsky.
Photo: Vlad Shatilo for RBC

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Co-owners of comic book store “Chuck and Geek” Vasily Shevchenko (top) and Ivan Cherniavsky. Photo: Vlad Shatilo for RBC

“Chuck and Geek” a lot of regular visitors, which Shevchenko knows the face and name. “I’ve always admired the family business in Europe, where the buyer knows the seller. Yes, we are small shopkeepers, but I’m not ashamed of it”, smiles Shevchenko. A good personal relationship with the customer and within the team, in his words, more businesses than advertising and various incentive programs.

“Chuck and the Geek” — the oldest comic book store in Moscow and the most hospitable, — said Artyom Gabrelyanov of RBC, co-owner and chief editor of the publishing house Bubble — the largest Russian manufacturer of original comics. — They are very common to see a situation where the owners bake a cake for their loyal customers or treated to hot coffee in the cold of winter. “Chuck and Geek” more than just a store. For many fans of comic books, he has become a second home”.

The average mark-up in “Chuck and the Geek” is 50% versus 100% in the regular book, says Shevchenko: “Now we buy comics directly from publishers who ask us not to dump. We can supply price 880 RUB., but the publisher requests 920 rbl.”. The business operates as a PI Ivan Cherniavsky and pays tax under the simplified tax system (15% of the difference between incomes and expenses).

Procurement of goods takes an average of 2.2 million rubles per month. Comics in the store are bought every week, at least once a month is a large delivery. Unlike the book market, where the payment is in fact sales, the publishers of the comics asked to prepay 100%. “We usually try to have a reserve of 500 thousand rubles, to be able to buy something suddenly,” says Shevchenko. Rent takes about 320 thousand rubles. per month, to pay four sellers, accountant — 200 thousand rubles On advertising is spent about 30 thousand rubles. Taxes and the sales tax, up to 90 thousand rubles a month. Average profit of 500 thousand rubles Shevchenko and Cherniavsky half a second and invest in business development.

<p>the Interior of a comic book store &rsquo;s and PAA&nbsp;Geek&quot;.</p>
Photo: Vlad Shatilo for RBC

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The interior of the comic book store “Chuck and Geek.”

Not only sales

In 2014 to 35% range “Chuk and the Geek” was a comic book in foreign languages. But due to the devaluation, the price has more than doubled, so now the range is almost 100% composed of domestic production (including conversion). At the end of 2015, the co-owners of “Chuck and Geek” became partners and investors for the new publisher of comics, Jellyfish Jam, organized by a former employee “Chuck and Geek” Beata Kotelevska. “While it employs only three people: me and Beata as editors and translators and technical Director,” says Shevchenko. The main advantage of the new publishing house is a partnership with Marvel. “We managed to grab some good licenses,” boasts Shevchenko, without understanding how he did it. According to him, in 2015 Jellyfish Jam released several comic books “ant-Man”, “the Fear of the galaxy” — with a total circulation of 50 thousand copies, of which 30 thousand have already been sold. Investments in the launch of the project Shevchenko, estimated at 1.5 million rubles.

“The tandem shop and the publisher gives greater independence and stability: sometimes the publisher feed store, sometimes the store is feeding the publishing house, says RBC Mikhail Bogdanov, the Director of the St Petersburg publishing house of comics “comme Il faut” and the shop “Twenty-eighth”. — Some projects edition comics require so many investments that have to take loans, until the project is implemented — the store becomes the only source of income that helps the company to stay afloat”.