Vanishing Inc. Magic: 2017 Annual Letter to Customers
By Andi Gladwin and Joshua Jay

Inspired by Warren Buffet’s legendary (and brutally honest) end-of-year letters, we started a tradition last year of sending all of our kind customers and friends a very candid assessment of what we got up to during the year. We think you’ll find we’re honest about the things we’re proud of, and the few instances where we fell short.

The letter also gives us an opportunity to do two extremely important things: share with you the exciting upcoming projects you’ll be most interested in learning about, and thanking you for changing our lives.

A Big Growth Year

We’re happy to report that, in line with every year since our founding eight years ago, we increased every sector of our business: we released more products, we sold substantially more than last year, and our conventions both grew by a healthy 15%.

But our biggest expansion, necessarily, is with our team.

Software company founder Scott Scherr once wrote that, "My father taught me this about running a successful business: make your people your number one priority, and the rest will follow." And we've always stood by that. Our team are our family, and if you see one of us at a convention you'll likely see some of our team with us. This year we have traveled around the world together, and we recgonise the importance of what our team do for us, and for you.

Over the past few months our team has doubled in size, with team members from six different countries. We'll introduce you to four new members (all magicians) currently making a big impact in the company:

Hansel: not only was his house was destroyed in the Puerto Rico disaster earlier this year, but so were the resort hotels he performed at. So we flew Hansel over to California and he's now a key part of our warehouse team.

Tu: if you email us outside of California office hours, you'll probably get a response from Tu. He resides in Vietnam, and his passion for magic makes him the perfect person to answer your product questions.

Steve: with several thousand magic products passing through our warehouse each week, we need a warehouse manager to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Steve heads up the warehouse, as well as organizing the dealers room at Magi-Fest.

Mike: we believe we’re the first and only magic company to bring on a full-time text editor. Mike has been very busy editing our books, and the product text for every product on our website.

Hit Products

Not every magic product we produce will be the industry-wide bestseller that we hope for in every product. But sometimes we’re pleasantly surprised.

The Other Brothers came up big for us this year. Ash Paper and their downloads all performed well, but Bare was just beautiful. You can cause any symbol or number or playing card to appear (in ash or sand or coffee grinds) on a spectator’s hand. This effect resonated with amateurs and pros alike: it’s easy to do and unequivocally improves on the classic “Ashes on Arm” effect because it happens on the spectator’s hand. We took the extra effort to manufacture it with Sharpie pens instead of some off-brand marker, and that was the right call. It continues to sell like crazy.

It’s too early to tell, but the holiday sales indicate that our latest releases, A Charming Chinese Challenge, and Real Ace Cutting, will be our two biggest sellers of the year. Both are in danger of zipping out of print after just a month.

Magic books are the most enjoyable part of our business, and although the sales on books are at an all-time low and going down every year, across all industries, we continue to produce books we believe in because, well, it’s the right thing to do. We are, basically, the last frequent magic book publisher, and we take the responsibility of carrying on the tradition of passing on secrets very seriously.

This year we published Card Devilry, Artful Deceptions, Secrets, Scripting Magic, Just for Fun, and several other titles, ALL to critical acclaim.

We also saw the wide release of Less is More by Benjamin Earl, which resonated particularly well with card magicians, and The Works, a trilogy of Jamy Ian Swiss’ exemplary writing on magic theory. Honestly, we’re beaming with pride on all of these books, and we believe every single one is a worthwhile investment, and underpriced.

Stopping Piracy

Last year we wrote about our efforts to battle piracy, and this year we took it as far as we could go ... 5,000 miles in fact. Andi traveled to China to talk to their government on why it is important for them to combat piracy in their own country, and even presented a business plan to help them achieve it. Our tact was the opposite to the traditional approach: he demonstrated how piracy in magic is hurting magic in China, and not just the rest of the world.

Will our efforts eradicate piracy altogether? Not at all. But we're proud to be doing something to make a difference and hope that other magic producers and shops will join us in the battle.

New Projects

This is the most exciting part of this letter: where we can share just a TASTE of what’s in store for 2018. You may think it’s hyperbole, but keep track if you want: we currently have 86 projects in the works! That’s a number so large even we have a hard time wrapping our heads around it. We’ll give you a taste:

Astonishing Essays: our highly anticipated ten-part book series, in which each book is a long essay written by a magic luminary on an unexpected topic. Max Maven on the relationship between magic and wrestling, Steve Cohen on the creation of his fantastic New York show, Rob Zabrecky on creativity, and lots more.

Magic on Tap by Denis Behr: Denis Behr is one of our favorite magicians, and he has never released a DVD series…until now. We shot this in Germany over a week, and we can’t wait for you to see it.

Turn by Peter Pelikaan: If you love this guy’s work, you’re going to FLIP over what we feel is his best trick yet. It’s a packet trick, but trust us, it’s the absolute best packet trick we’ve ever encountered. In 60 seconds, it packs in some fantastic magic.

Real Deck Switches by Ben Earl: Everyone wants to learn Ben’s deck switches, and this will be the definitive resource to learn sleight-of-hand deck switching.

Card College Masterclass with Roberto Giobbi: You’ve studied the books. Now we bring card technique to video with the undisputed master. We positively love and revere Mr. Giobbi, and this year you will be able to embark on an adventure of card sleights in five volumes, all curated by the incomparable Roberto Giobbi.

iPhone Vanish by Tim Ellis: Stand-up performers rejoice! Imagine this: you borrow a phone and place it into a mesh bag, but the spectators cringe as they SEE the cell phone fall THROUGH the bag, out of a hole, and crash onto the floor, splintering the phone into three pieces and busting the screen. Well, Tim Ellis has created a gorgeous stage prop to allow you to do just this. The borrowed cell phone can be safely produced from anywhere. You’ll receive the bag and dummy break-away cell phone. This is a hilarious utility prop, and it’s coming soon.

Of Dice and Men: Tom Stone’s neo-classic trick in which a spectator selects the only “Hug” sign in an array of “Kill” signs, is coming in high quality. This has taken two years to get right, but it’s a beautiful plot that we’re excited to bring out with the most practical props possible.

ShareMagic: Giving Back

We renamed our charity ShareMagic this year and launched a site that details some of our charity efforts: We expanded the scope and hired Joe Diamond to help facilitate the many projects.

Through generous donations (that are entirely tax deductible, in case you are interested in donating), we are able to impact the magic world in a positive way. Thanks to an increase in donations and funding, we have been able to expand our efforts.

A new initiative launching later this year is a ShareMagic video series. This series will operate like TedTalks, where magic luminaries deliver fascinating talks. The talks will be available absolutely free to everyone. They are there solely to enrich magicians around the world. Our list of names reads like a who’s who of the industry.

We’re also continuing our affiliation with the College of Magic in Capetown. You’ll recall that we already funded and built a theater of magic for these impoverished young South African magicians, so they have a suitable place to perform and learn their craft. Now we embark on another renovation in their facility: the Magic Lab. We envisioned a room in which the kids can go to create magic. It’s a room fully-stocked with desks, crafts, gaffed cards, and materials to build or read about anything and everything in magic. We want kids to dream up new tricks and ideas, and make them come to life in the Magic Lab. Our budget to renovate this area is 8,000 dollars, and we haven’t entirely reached funding, but building has already begun. If you wish to help, please email us at We’d love your help in this endeavor.

The Young Magicians Program at Magi-Fest this year had a bit of a setback, which is unfortunate. We had grown the program to over 60 kids, who attend on scholarships of varying degrees. Some kids receive flight and accommodations, others receive help on meals throughout the convention, and a majority receive free registration for themselves and a guardian. Since its inception we asked applicants to simply write essays on what they hoped to learn at Magi-Fest if they were granted scholarships.

The problem started when the quality of essays went precipitously downhill. We had kids writing three or four rushed sentences, taking comfort in the fact that they knew we accepted more or less all applicants. Honestly, we felt that the good intentions of the scholarship were being abused.

So, we changed the requirement. We asked all applicants to perform a show for charity. ANY show for a nursing home, school, church, or orphanage would suffice. Just walking around a hospital for a few minutes showing packet tricks would be enough. It would take an hour to complete, for any child and parent. We loved this idea because applicants were sharing magic around the community AND earning their place at the Magi-Fest convention, all in one go. A win-win.

Well, things didn’t go as planned. A month ago we had just 14 applicants. It appears that either most kids didn’t want to bother with a charity show, or this was somehow too difficult a task, or kids were too shy to perform.

Fortunately, Joe Diamond helped rescue the program by encouraging past applicants to take the extra step. So, our Youth Program right now is hovering right around 30. That’s a huge drop-off from last year, but quite honestly, we’d rather have 30 enthusiastic, ambitious young magicians there, than a bunch of youngsters who don’t take magic seriously.

Live Events

We operate two magic conventions annually, The Magi-Fest (in Columbus, Ohio) and The Session (in London). Both are poised for strong years. We have over invested in performers and tech improvements for both conventions and need to raise registrations to cover it. Right now registrations are above last year, and we are engaged in an even bigger marketing push to help raise attendance. The Magi-Fest has a robust 800 attendees annually, and The Session has more than doubled in size since becoming a Vanishing Inc. venture.

Black Friday Sale

This year's Black Friday sale was such a success with our customers that it pretty much sent us into meltdown. For the two weeks that it took us to catch up, we filled three to five mail trucks per day with magic, and Andi and George even flew from the UK to California to help out. But we recognize that we let down many customers during this time because we didn't always meet our 24-hour turnaround promise. We take problems like this to heart, and have already made plans for next year's Black Friday sale to ensure that we can handle the additional orders. It involves extra staff, faster systems, and bi-hourly pickups from the mailman! Bring it on, November 2018! :)


Several years ago we did a very wise thing: we found a third partner for a new kids magic venture: Danny Orleans. You see, we identified that the majority of magicians in the US and around the world are kids performers, yet this is the one genre WITHOUT a really excellent online magic presence. Kids magicians are forced to piece together their props from various lecturers and retailers because there is no quality one-stop shop. So we founded AmazeKids. But because we (Andi and Josh) are not kids performers, we needed someone with expertise in that area. We knew Danny Orleans was a knowledgeable kids entertainer. We didn’t know he would be such a hard worker, and such a perfect partner.

Three years in, and Danny continues to scour the horizon for the best talent and products to release under our kids show brand. We’ve had solid successes with magic by Eric Leclerc, and this year our book release, Just for Fun, went extremely well. Even if you’re not a kids performer, Just for Fun (about the magic of Christopher Barnes) is a HIGHLY entertaining read full of practical material for parlor performance.

We have big things slated for 2018 with AmazeKids.

A Heartfelt Thanks

How can we say it in a way that rings true? We’ve said it before, but it’s worth reiterating. We (Andi and Josh) started Vanishing Inc. eight years ago because we wanted to run a magic company the way we would have liked: fair to creators, fair to customers, and advancing the art of magic.

The only reason we’ve been able to do this is because of the unflinching, loyal support from all of you. It’s NOT an overstatement to say you’ve changed our lives. It’s also, we think, fair to say that your support of Vanishing Inc. is changing magic. We believe the magic we offer and produce is of the “great” variety, and the only way to impact magic positively is to put good magic into the world. We put it out, and you spread it around. And around and around we go.

We’ll keep doing our best to please you, and leave the magic world a little better than we found it, and we would be honored if you would continue to support us.

If you have a comment, feel free to email us at One or both of us will reply right away.

Until next year, we remain,

Joshua Jay and Andi Gladwin
Vanishing Inc. Magic