The Chicago-based company which created the popular parlor game “Cards Against Humanity” is starting a new business. Blackbox is a shipping-fulfillment service for independent artists.
Co-founder Max Temkin explained that Cards Against Humanity had already created the software and infrastructure to ship the game to customers in an efficient and affordable way. “Eventually that system got so good that word got out. Our friends started asking to use it.”
Temkin has a brand new political board game, “Secret Hitler” which required a massive shipping effort just last week. With a budget of $1.5 million raised on Kickstarter, “Secret Hitler” was sent by FedEx via Blackbox from its warehouses in Illinois, New Jersey and California to about 34,000 customers.
Blackbox works on a similar principal to a co-operative business, says Temkin. “The idea is that if every indie producer buys their own postage, warehouse space and packing materials, no one creator will ever have the scale and leverage of a big company like Amazon,” he says. “But if we all pool our resources; we get the best rates on everything. That lets Blackbox pass pretty huge cost savings on to the creators.”
Artists and product creators using Blackbox get a “buy” button for their websites. Temkin’s Blackbox then steps in and handles the checkout, sales tax, credit card processing, shipping and customer service. If you check out Blackbox’s website, you will see that the company has “warehouses all around the world and we figure out where to put things on a case-by-case basis.”
The cost of shipping using Blackbox is $5 per item plus 5% of the retail price to ship one item weighing one pound. That price includes everything, as well as customer service.
“Nobody has to pay upfront to use Blackbox,” Temkin says. “We handle payment processing for sales, so our fees and commission comes right out of that in real time.”