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Are there too many Kendama companies?

Discussion in 'The Sesh' started by Cheech_Sander, Feb 27, 2017.

?

Are smaller kendama companies hurting kendama?

  1. Yes

  2. No

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Cheech_Sander

    Cheech_Sander Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I want to discuss the basic economic principle of supply and demand in this thread, as well as what are the responsibilities of a Kendama company.

    I feel like there may simply be too many Kendama companies to collectively achieve profitability and bring the sport forward. Now, I also trust that the market will be self-correcting as the companies that make bad kendamas or bad business choices will eventually cease to exist. But, the bigger companies, especially Krom, Sweets, KUSA, and even some medium companies like RWB or GLOKEN, have taken it upon themselves to give back to the community in important ways: Paying royalties to their team, sponsoring events, buying ads on downspike! and the like.

    Smaller companies might make a great kendama, but everyone is fighting over the piece of the same pie. The pie is not stagnant; we can expand that pie by getting more people into kendama, but I feel that the responsibility of expanding that pie is shouldered more by large companies than small companies, simply because they have the resources to do so.





    The theory of natural limits states: "Every product or service has a natural consumption level. We just don't know what it is until we launch it, distribute it, and promote it for a generation's time (20 years or more)."
    -Thomas G. Osenton, economist

    What is kendama's consumption level?
    How many people do you ever think will play kendama or buy a kendama in a single year? Difficult to say.



    These people are kendama companies trying to ride you, the customer.

    Anyway, curious to hear what everyone thinks, especially if you have your own smaller company. This is not a call-out. I just have been amazed at the dozens of tiny kendama makers that pop up on the DS instagram feed every day. I had no idea there were that many options.


    There are two related threads on the subject:
    Thoughts on smaller companies
    Is kendama profitable
     
    Feb 27, 2017
  2. Ben Lowe

    Ben Lowe Slayer

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Location:
    Port Angeles, WA
    I feel like there are only a very few amount of people who are actually qualified to intelligently answer this! No idea how the economics and scene are affected by the current state. But it seems to me that the market doesn't lie, and the market also doesn't care. If the big companies are making good stuff, they shouldn't worry. And if a smaller company makes something good or even better, then they deserve to succeed IMO. The market will take care of the rest.

    I know as a consumer right now it is good and bad. Good because it is very easy to find a kendama that is quality and plays well if you look around. Bad because it is sometimes hard to know where to start and you always want to try new or different companies that you haven't tried before. (But is that really bad?)
     
    Feb 27, 2017
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  3. Guy LaBorde

    Guy LaBorde Honed Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2016
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    I've been thinking about this recently, and to me, it seems like most smaller companies just try to hop on trendy ideas, and don't give much back to the community or the spread of kendama. Some even seem to sponsor people who are good players, just as a promotion to their business, and not actually care about who these players are as people.
    Of course, some smaller companies come up with central points to focus on (like REZ with aesthetics). These companies tend to rise in the attention of players and larger organizations because companies like these provide the community with something unique. I have great respect for these companies, as they are not as much focused on their own benefit, but on the progress of kendama itself.
     
    Feb 27, 2017
  4. amagad

    amagad Slayer

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2017
    It's good to have multiple brands out there, some will make it and many others will fail. One thing that I simply do not understand which is related to this thread, Ive seen sponsored pros that have their own kendama by X company and then they spin up their own business all while it appears that they still work together. Kudos to their successes, however.
     
    Feb 27, 2017
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  5. Guy LaBorde

    Guy LaBorde Honed Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2016
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    Bonz did this. I believe he just wanted to put his own ideas out there, as bonzai came before many newer companies. It might have even been before he was pro for Krom.

    If anyone has more info on this, it would be interesting to know why bonz created this company.
     
    Feb 27, 2017
  6. amagad

    amagad Slayer

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2017
    I see, boner kid summed it up on why there's some intertwining of individuals/businesses, they are all friends and all passionate about what they do.
     
    Feb 27, 2017
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  7. cbwalsh24

    cbwalsh24 Honed Member

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    Oct 12, 2016
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Feb 27, 2017
  8. PMC

    PMC n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2017
    Location:
    Yukon
    Competition is good for everyone. Plus it seems like a lot of new companies are meeting diffrent demographics. I personally have a hard time buying a kendama over $50. I do own a slaydawg but that was pushing the limit. So, companies like grain theory aren't for me. I appreciate the craftsmanship I love the look and what they are doing but I'm not their demographic. I'm just to hard on kendamas at this stage of my progression to justify it. Also it is to expensive for me to buy one just to look at.

    The new sweets prime? That's calling my name.
     
    Feb 28, 2017
  9. Jenny Cho

    Jenny Cho Slayer

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2016
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    I feel like everyone has a right to start their own business venture and I can see the appeal of doing it in dama if that's what you're passionate about. However, I have seen an oversaturation trend in this market since kendama is easy and cheap to manufacture, and it had a short boom in the US. And has it affected some of the larger companies? Most likely so, as interest and hype of dama has gone down in recent times but places to get your kendamas from has increased dramatically.

    The dama scene won't die as it decreases since those who are really passionate about it will continue buying and playing dama. But it's left us with lots of companies - and no offense to the smaller companies - but lots of smaller companies that have less differentiation between them and lots of companies that tried to cash in on when dama was super hype.

    That's why I try and collect from many sources but only the companies that I've seen work to contribute back to the community or have some differences in their products to bring something new to the table.

    Its a free market! I don't think it's wrong to start your own company and it's not necessarily wrong to want to earn profit - but since dama is a smaller and niche market I do think the companies involved in it should feel some sense of responsibility back towards the people who support them. I guess the consumers who are like minded as me and consumers who want the best product will automatically help weed and strain out the market anyway. But definitely I agree that if you're gonna do something with kendama and selling kendama, you should look beyond making a quick buck - it won't succeed and it just hurts the people who've worked hard to make dama the success and community it is today.
     
    Feb 28, 2017
  10. Cheech_Sander

    Cheech_Sander Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm a fan.
     
    Feb 28, 2017
  11. htimSxelA

    htimSxelA Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2016
    Location:
    Vancouver
    For me it just comes back to what each company can contribute in terms of original products, and community building.

    I don't think we've yet hit the peak of the consumption level, but there certainly have been booms and busts along the way, as different cities/scenes have a craze, and then die off. There are still a lot of people out there that are yet to be exposed to kendama.

    In this way I think new companies that start up with the goal of promoting kendamas to their friends and others locally are great, they can help grow the pie itself, not just call up chinese factory and order kendama #2 in green with white stripes and hope they get a piece of the pie others have helped bake.
     
    Feb 28, 2017
  12. CodyGriz

    CodyGriz Slayer

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2016
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    There are over 150 Kendama Brands out there.
    Think about that.
    What other market has that much competition?

    I would say less than half actually put back into the community at all,
    And less than half of that are active in sponsoring players and competitions.

    Just one of those things to consider. And this doesn't even fully count in China Direct to Consumer 'Brands'

    Just for an example of a small kendama company doing it right (in my opinion) Pineapple. Sponsored the MKO at a high level, active in other events, sponsors Liam who could have won MKO and did win BatB, is working to grow without shoving anything down anyone's face. Not to say that everyone else is doing it wrong. But this is just my 2 cents.

    I would much rather see more Clubs, Teams, Squads, than Brands.
    There are enough resources and love in the Medium to Big brands, that you could have some (Insert Kendama Team) swagged out damas to rep and sell without having to make a whole brand. Lets be honest, a custom Mash tama with your Club or Team will look and sell better than a basic chinadama

    Think about how KROM worked with Chari & Co to make those dank NYC damas. Those would not be as tight if they were't KROM.
     
    Feb 28, 2017
  13. Guy LaBorde

    Guy LaBorde Honed Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2016
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    Much agreed.
     
    Feb 28, 2017
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  14. Vlats

    Vlats Honed Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2016
    Location:
    Zagreb, Croatia
    No.

    The more companies the lower the prices. They compete with each other with quality and price.
    And they push the scene.
     
    Feb 28, 2017
  15. goenKendama

    goenKendama Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Location:
    Metro Manila, Philippines
    Are there too many kendama companies? Yes and No.

    Yes: There are too many small companies that are just different outlets for the kendama factory's standard models. Some of the “me-too” companies have no easy way to distinguish themselves from the competition by innovating the physical kendama itself, changes to standard factory offerings cost extra, so they may feel to make a name for themselves at first they should cut their prices. Without the resources to innovate they may also clone colorways or other design features of the big guys who have already blazed the way and taken on the financial obligations and risk. The smaller company piggybacks on the larger company’s efforts to try and make their own company viable, in doing so they have thin margins and make it harder for the big guys to justify their own kendama that were cloned. (example: Why pay $$ for a kendama that’s the same as this one that looks the same but is $?) This makes it harder for the bigger companies who have to continually “innovate or die.”

    In an ideal world straight up cloning the products of other companies wouldn’t be done out of respect for the efforts of others and integrity of their own business but unfortunately that’s not the way it works especially with only a few factories churning out kendama for so many kendama brands. Additionally there are so many kendama out there now that it’s actually pretty hard to come up with something that isn’t the same or a close variation of other products. It happens even if the original products have never been seen; parallel development for example.

    No: That same small company that may go the price-cut route could also be meeting the needs of a market that the big guys can’t touch because of the financial obligations that go with being big; make lots, sell lots and at a higher price because of the overhead. There are players and potential players out there for whom the industry standard entry level kendama is just too much cash. Those players could never afford the prices of the big guys but want to feel like they are part of the world kendama scene by having something similar to their internet heroes. For example: several years ago there was one instance in particular that really drove home how different markets can be. We were at an event and had TK16s for sale at roughly the same price as back in Japan. Three kids came up to our booth and were so excited after we taught them how to play that they did a collective “pocket dump” and pooled their coins to buy one kendama. In Japan and elsewhere the price was near the bottom of the going rate for kendama and yet it was still too high for these new players.

    By pushing the big guys to “innovate or die” usually the customers, the big company, and the kendama community benefit in the end. For the big companies, if there’s no motivation to change why do it, it’s expensive, time consuming, and risky. The smaller companies can help drive the industry and support different markets, even those companies that don’t end up succeeding as a business in the end.
     
    Feb 28, 2017
  16. Loudama

    Loudama n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2016
    @PMC I agree with what you are saying like I like how the Kendamas look and play but they are just way to expensive if they were made at a more resonible price maybe then I would buy them for an example is I really like sweets and kusa and krom because they make really nice Kendamas and try out new things for cheaper so they are easier to buy and they may have higher end products but not every body can afford them and they may be a dream for some players but that is ok because as long as you can spread the kendama give back to your community and support players around the world it doesn't matter if there is a million different kendama brands to me.
     
    Feb 28, 2017
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  17. cbwalsh24

    cbwalsh24 Honed Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2016
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    upload_2017-3-1_16-42-3.png

    I can see the pro's and con's.
     
    Feb 28, 2017
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  18. PMC

    PMC n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2017
    Location:
    Yukon
    @Loudama I 100% agree.

    Realistically $100 for a hobby isn't that bad of an entry. (Look at paintball it's stupid expensive to get into and even play.)

    Higher end always has its place though. It's marketing 101. Most companies have a "halo" product. (Sweets HG, Kaizen craft) these high end kendama make the pros look boss but I bet most people buy tributes and primes. Just like cars. I love Porsche but I'll stick to my moped.
     
    Mar 1, 2017
  19. Sol Kendamas

    Sol Kendamas n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2016
    Location:
    Lexington, KY
    Personal opinion:

    It's a double edged sword. It depends. If the question is "are smaller kendama companies hurting kendama?" then I'd say it's contingent upon one thing: are they developing or at least supporting the ecosystem? If a new kendama company comes into existence and does not adopt the culture of giving, then yes, they are hurting kendama. It's a leech on the ecosystem. If a new kendama company comes into existence and brings with them a new scene, new players, or more exposure, I'd say they earn their right to exist within the scene.

    - Shelton
     
    Mar 1, 2017
  20. JoJo_hudson1253

    JoJo_hudson1253 Honed Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2016
    Location:
    Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
    talk about bringing down (hack hack Kaleb kendama) lol I actually have one of theirs
     
    Mar 1, 2017
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