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How can I bring down costs and increase revenue in a voodoo market?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Erebus, Jul 11, 2020.

  1. Erebus

    Erebus Minstrel

    I, Dalphine LaLaurie, am an alternative voodoo occultist entrepreneur from Louisiana and run an underground black market called Grimm Fairy artifacts Inc. Dubbed "The Bitch Queen" by lamestream liberals, I have been operating since the 1800s, offering my services to a wealthy clientele in the application of witchcraft. For all the whiny millennials with their Starbucks Frappucino and avocado toast, who insist that the American Dream is dead, I am a prime example of a self-made woman who has broken the glass ceiling.

    My business offers several services:

    1. Harvesting materials from slaves (fat, bones, skin, etc) to create magically imbued items and artifacts. These items are imbued with the Mana of the individual they are made of to create magical effects. These can include items used to ward off mystical creatures, to creating better weapons, to something mundane like a wallet that can hold unlimited amounts of things.

    2. Sacrificing individuals in occultic rituals. The Mana harnessed from these sacrifices are used to power spells. Alternatively, specific organs can be harvested for use as necessary ingredients for other rituals.

    3. Voodoo rituals that affect targets have a backlash on the user. These individuals are used as proxies to absorb the negative energies resulting from the backlash, absorbing the negative effects, ranging from serious injuries to death.
    My ultimate goal is to become the Walmart of the black market, a one-stop shop for magical items or services for rich clientele. Of course, this will be a massive operation involving many parts:

    1. paying slave-nappers to obtain targets from third-world countries and failed states
    2. transporting them to various locations around the country.
    3. housing and storing them until an order is placed.
    4. Killing and breaking down of parts to use in rituals when needed

    My organization has been hampered by the abolition of slavery. As a result, keeping the business running has become quite expensive with a low margin of return. I need to update my business practices to fit a 21st century model of cutting costs to maximize profit. How can I streamline this process effectively to make it cheap and profitable?
  2. Run it like you would any other business. Outsource labour heavy stuff to cheaper labour countries, automate as much of the process as makes sense, cut back on the quality of materials (as long as it doesn't affect the quality of the finished product much), go for scale. Get shareholders to get the capital needed to expand rapidly, advertise. Sell cheap but popular commercial stuff at a premium (like love potions).

    For instance, say you need to sacrifice an individual for some ritual. Can 1 sacrifice power only 1 ritual or could it power several? And does it need to be a human sacrifice or can you get away with an animal (which would be a lot cheaper)? You could even offer some of these at a premium price "real human used", "solo-ritual sacrifice", that sort of thing (compared to "mouse used as sacrifice").
  3. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

    There's a couple of ways you could take this...

    1: outsource production. If you manufactured the items overseas, you could pay less money to laborers, and save costs. Captured individuals only being used for parts don't travel as far, don't present as much of a risk of being exposed, and don't require as many resources to keep around. Also I'd imagine that it would be much easier to smuggle pieces of people, rather than whole groups of intact people.

    2: mass production. Think factory farms, that should basically tell you everything you need to know about this idea.

    3. know your target demographic. Those millenials with their avocado spread might be something you turn your nose at, but they are also part of a growing movement away from Christianity and to more alternative beliefs. You know how organic foods and locally sourced products got popular in that crowd? Take that concept and apply it to your merchandise.
  4. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

    Replace slaves with just the unnoticed people....people no one will look for if they go missing. No need them to pay for their upkeep, just harvest them as needed, or pay someone else to collect them when needed.

    I would think this would do better as a criminal enterprise, where the kingpin sits on top, and others take the risks. You don't need a store front, you just need to organize others in clandestine activities. Use the dark web ;) Good luck.
  5. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    Ew. Ewwwwwwwwwwww. Rather than any advice that character needs a swift bullet to the brain. Preferably one enchanted to get around any death defying shenanigans.

    Anyways, now that I've gotten that out of me- ....Nope, wait, still not out. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww.


    Anyways, if the focus is to become the Walmart of black magic then all.... that... should really be secondary compared to having connections and building up a stock of magical items and artifacts from all around. The thing about Walmart is convenience, ya know? Not everything can be made from dead bodies. Maybe a customer needs a bullet fired during the deadliest battle in human history as part of a ritual to summon and bind a Valkyrie or something?
    skip.knox likes this.
  6. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

    I will also note that I thought wallmart was a poor example, because wallmart is not specialized. They sell everything, so they can attract any type of shopper. This will never really be a walmart, but....Who cares really...
  7. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I saw "wallmart" and immediately pictured a store than only sells walls.
  8. Eduardo Letavia

    Eduardo Letavia Dreamer

    Since the nature of your business is illegal at best (and horrendously criminal at worst), you should also pay attention on how other criminal groups do their thing. Particularly I would focus on mexican cartels, maras, and mafias (italian, russian and east european). Those are really mean people, ruthless in their hunt for absolute profit, and a really good example of adaptation to new circumstances (use of bitcoin and the dark net for instance). But your first problem is where and how to get your "human resources", right? And in the most discreet manner possible, of course. I'll assume that your business is settled in USA or, at least, in north america. That gives you a big advantage because you have plenty of such resources coming up right to your door from the south. For instance, you could strike a deal with a mexican cartel in the vein of "I'll lend you my vodoo, and you bring me the materials I need", which I think you should find mutually benefitial (the cartel gets money from the migrant for the trip, and your vodoo -and the disposal of bodies- from your deal). I could speculate further, but I'd prefer to keep my evilness in check. For now.
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