Nick- A friend in Canada had that very same idea! I'm not sure if making it flat would work, because it's measured by weight for each mailing classification. But it wouldn't hurt to try. It's kind of funny- after spending all this time on packaging because it seemed like that's what people wanted, it might be easier and better in the long run to simply make it as flat as possible and maybe put a logo on top. Not as glamorous, but if it saves you money...
Looked into flattening the clay. The price is still $23.50, even if it's an A4 envelope...I selected "small Flat-Rate DVD box" after that, and... same deal. The shipping is based on weight, and whether it's a flat rate DVD box, A4 envelope, or small flat rate box, it's still $23.50 (online) for Flat Rate. The $38 Marc quoted is probably for larger orders. Neither of us want the shipping to be any higher than it has to be. We do not make any profit off of shipping. No idea where to go from here...Feeling pretty sunk.
Just got back from the post office. The guy said that there were restrictions, with regard to foldability of the packaging, etc. But he said that if I can get the clay into a thin envelope, it will cost about $16.00 for up to 1lb (454 grams). That would accommodate two packs. I'm working on 3-color multipacks, so that you can get more colors for the same amount of money. Each color is 1/3 of a full pack (approx. 2.3 oz with a volume of about 40% more than that).
Still costs more to ship than the clay itself, but getting better!
Don't feel too down, your main market would be in the US anyway.
I can think of one more business model - you have local agents in Canada, Europe, wherever, who make up the clay according to your formula, but are bound by a NDA to not reveal it, or steal it to make their own product. Orders and payment could still go through Marc's webstore, then the local agent gets paid with a cut taken out of it. But maybe it would work better to just bulk ship it to the agents in different regions, then they post it to buyers nearby.
There may not be a big enough market for this much hassle, there are only a few stop motion animators, and only a few of those are clay animators. And only some of the clay animators are not in the US. I'm not one but thought I'd like to give your puppet putty a try anyway.
Interesting idea there, Nick! I agree, it's lower than the previous quote, but still not quite there yet...Well, a big name in stop motion asked for a sample, so I sent that out yesterday, and the store where I buy some of the clay ingredients is promoting Marc's video review, figuring it would be a cool tie-in, as he could tell potential customers that one of his longtime customers made clay out of his products. He also said he was interested in making shelf space for it and working out a business deal. He's technically retail, so that would make the first brick and mortar store to ever carry Puppet Putty. He suggested I look into marketing it as an encaustic wax for painting. Might not even have to change the formula...So, there's one market I never even thought about. Painters...