I’ve always maintained that the webcomic business model will have successfully matured when it outgrows the do-it-yourself business stage that it’s currently in and support industries are able to move in and allow artists to do focus on being artists and businessmen take care of business. There are several such businesses that have cropped up, so I see it as an encouraging direction. The Fleen Guy Gary Tyrrell has an interesting interview with Holly Post, VP of Special Projects at TopatoCo (who he describes as “the world’s largest webcomics merchandise company, and probably at least in the top 20 of the hemisphere’s best internet e-stores in general”) about “her company’s recent growth, plans for the future”
Fleen: A recent press release listed Dave Kellett and Kris Straub as your 43rd and 44th clients, respectively. How big are you planning on growing TopatoCo? Or maybe the question should be, how big can it grow and still be TopatoCo?
Post: We’re on kind of a moratorium right now, because we’ve grown so quickly over the past year and we don’t want to fail to serve our existing clients they way we should. But we’re not dumb, so if we get an email from somebody that makes us go “Wow, I can’t believe ____ emailed us!”, we’re finding a way to work them in. We’re looking to partner with the right clients, which might not necessarily be individual creators. With the right employees, we could grow to maybe 75? 100 clients? Beyond that, it wouldn’t feel like us anymore, and there’d be so much on our website that it’d be tough to find anything.