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Piotr Armatys





Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sun 12 Dec, 2004 12:53 am    Post subject: Setting up a Shop in Malta.....feasibility?         Reply with quote

I have recently got an idea for a small buisness, but would like some opinions on the feasibilty of this, being close to ignorant on the subject.

I live in Malta, which for those who might not know, is a island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea (Population 380,000) that had been the home of the Knights of the Order of St John from 1530 up to 1798. The historical wealth left behind by the Knights of Malta is staggering, and in addition Malta (always at the heart of all conflicts) has a rich history spanning from early Prehistory (the oldest standing stone structures in the world, the Ggantija Temples are just minutes away from my home) through Romans, Arabs, France all the way to the British Empire.

The various buildings of the Knights, including the collection at the Armoury, are all very popular tourist attractions. While in Prague this summer, the thing I most enjoyed in the Prague Castle was the 'armoury' shop of K-K Art found in the castle walls. Therefore, i thought to myself: why hasn't anyone done this in Malta?

I imagine that I would be able to set up a shop in close proximity to the Armour of the Knights in Valletta (Malta's Baroque capital city built entirely by the Order) from which (I imagine) I would sell an assortment of weapons and armours. The main pieces would be replicas of the Order's weapons and armours, but I think i could go into the weapons of other peoples and periods too.

I was also thinking, that perhaps, I could get the Order involved in some way. Perhaps issuing certificates of Order approved replicas in return for a charitable donation of part of the proceeds for the Order's present endeavours. I know the Order's present local Resident Knight through some friends, so I think I'd be able to at least approach them about the idea.

Now, the questions lie here: I am an architect by profession and know nothing of sword and armour production. Also, I haven't looked into this, but knowing this tiny country pretty well, I can assume that there is no one here who could produce quality replica products. Therefore, I think, that the best solution is to find a foreign (European, I guess) company that would produce the replicas for me.

How good/bad of an idea is this? Am I just dreaming and being naive? Would the cost of having swords and armour made specifically for my shop be exessively high? Do you think I'd be able to sell the products (we get something like 1.5million tourists a year)?

Any advice, or personal experiences are welcome.
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Gabriel Lebec
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: NY, NY
Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Reading list: 32 books

Posts: 419

PostPosted: Sun 12 Dec, 2004 3:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Heh - it's me again. Happy

The idea sounds very nice but I think it will involve much more than you realize, and that it depends on your intentions.

If you simply want to produce nice "replica" pieces for tourists to use to decorate their homes with, have fun, I'm quite sure you could secure a market and have that done. It's proven doable all over the world, and I'm sure it would be enjoyable so long as you made it clear you were creating decorative non-functional replica pieces. If that is your intent, I wish you good luck and hope it works out.

If you want to produce quality swords, by which I mean actual, real, functional, safe (i.e. strong and properly constructed), beautiful, and accurate swords, then you should know that the field is *vastly* more complex than may appear at first glance. Real swords were developed very intensely over millenia. They are surprisingly complex in their engineering and restraints. People study for many years with advanced bladesmiths to learn how to forge a good sword. So that's not something you can simply launch as a side to your business - it's something you'd have to dedicate yourself to and learn from someone else. And then setting up a mass-production business model to produce real swords, instead of individual custom work, is another beast *entirely.* THAT would take logistics and time and capital and research that I can't even begin to imagine. [EDIT: and the market for good swords is limited - I *highly doubt* that you could get window-shoppers and tourists to pay for a $300+ sword, let alone a $3000+ sword. ]

Hope that this helps in your decision.

-GLL
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Piotr Armatys





Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sun 12 Dec, 2004 4:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks again.
i was definately looking at the souvenir / wallhanger type of sword. Like you said, you cannot expect a tourist to want to but a 'real' sword.
What I'd like would be to sell moderately priced honest replicas. Not functional perhaps, but at least historically honest. And tied to the history of Malta and the Knights of St John.
Do you think I'd be able to find a manufacturer of such decorative pieces that would be willing to create some Maltese replicas for me on order? How feasible financially do you guess thi swould be?
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Gabriel Lebec
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: NY, NY
Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Reading list: 32 books

Posts: 419

PostPosted: Sun 12 Dec, 2004 5:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alright, I see where you're going, and I think it makes sense. However, although I feel confident that it could be done, I'm completely unqualified to judge how feasible it is from a business model perspective and have no real leads to give you with regards to manufacturers, etc.

Good luck in your research. Happy
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