Megalodon Supply Chain

Know where your teeth come from
Understand the megalodon tooth wholesale and retail supply chain
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The Megalodon Supply Chain

Many collectors purchase a megalodon shark tooth and assume the person who is selling it is the one who recovered it, or perhaps they purchased it from the person who discovered it.  In this article I will briefly describe the Megalodon Supply Chain and major components.

The graphic below gives a broad overview of what the majority of the megalodon supply chain looks like, there are obviously variations in markup %s, number of resellers, etc but it should give you a pretty good idea.  Below the graphic I will go into a bit more detail.
(Click To Enlarge)
Megalodon Supply Chain

Diver Megalodon Finder
Diver / Finder / Searcher
The megalodon supply chain starts with the person who finds the megalodon shark tooth.  If they find one and decide to sell it or if they find them professionally the chain starts with the person who discovers / collects / recovers the tooth.  The diver makes their money by selling the megalodon tooth to a variety of other buyers in the supply chain.  The diver will often have low expenses to sell their teeth however their recovery costs can be quite high.  See the  “Why Are Megalodon Teeth So Expensive?” article.

Wholesale Megalodon Buyer
Wholesale Buyer / Bulk Buyer / Volume Buyer
Often the second stop in the megalodon supply chain is a high volume wholesale buyer.  These buyers will buy large quantities of megalodon teeth from divers or people with a significant amount of megalodon teeth.  These wholesale buyers make their money by purchasing megalodon teeth from the divers in high volume and at low cost, then reselling at high volume after marking up the price of the teeth to make a profit.  Wholesale buyers have lower costs than many others in the supply chain however they are sometimes required to have a large amount of money tied up in inventory.

Megalodon Reseller
Reseller / Flipper
Resellers are similar to wholesale buyers, however they typically purchase fewer teeth at a time, will often purchase them from other resellers and wholesale buyers along with sometimes buying them from divers.  Because resellers typically sell in lower volume they will typically mark up their prices higher.  Resellers often sell to other resellers, retail outlets, and sometimes direct to consumers.   Resellers make their money by purchasing teeth at low prices and selling them at higher prices, typically at a higher margin but lower volume than Wholesale Buyers of megalodon teeth. Resellers have some of the lowest operating costs in the supply chain but like Wholesale Buyers sometimes have capital tied up in tooth inventory.

International Megalodon Broker
International Broker / Importer
International Brokers are very similar to Wholesale Buyers and Resellers with the main difference being that they deal with overseas transactions.  These International Brokers deal with customs forms, language barriers, and import duties when buying and reselling teeth.  The line between Wholesale Buyer, Reseller, and International Broker can sometimes get blurry but for the most part these individuals can be categorized in one area of the supply chain.  International Brokers make their money by dealing with the sometimes complicated customs and shipping that international customers may not want to deal with, for this they charge a significant markup.  International Brokers have fairly low operating expenses with the majority of their expenses being in shipping costs and inventory.

Online Megalodon Retailer
Online Retailer / Auction Site Lister / Online Marketplace Seller
The Online Retailer purchases teeth from various upstream parts of the supply chain mentioned above.  They typically sell directly to a consumer via website, online marketplace, or online auction site.  The Online Retailer makes their money by purchasing from somewhere upstream in the supply chain and then reselling to a collector or a Reseller at a higher price than they paid.  The overhead for this kind of business is low and is comprised mostly of shipping costs, listing fees, and money tied up in inventory.

Megalodon Store Retailer
Store Retailer / Shop Owner
One of the last stops in the supply chain is the brick and mortar store.  The Store Retailer will purchase teeth from an upper area of the supply chain and then resell it to a customer who comes into their store.  Store Retailers make money selling megalodon teeth to people who come into their stores and purchase megalodon teeth and other items.  Store Retailers have one of the higher costs in the supply chain as they have to pay for the retail space, utilities, staff, etc.  Store Retailers therefore need to have some of the highest markups in the industry to make a profit after expenses are covered.

Megalodon Tooth Collector
Collector / Enthusiast / Customer
At the end of the supply chain is the Collector, the person who wants to own a megalodon tooth.  There are all kinds of collectors from those that have a vast collection of megalodon teeth and have been collecting for years to those who are looking to purchase their first tooth.  For the collector there are a few important factors to consider.
Price - Which will vary greatly depending on where in the supply chain they purchased their tooth from
Service - This will depend on which seller they choose to purchase from
Authenticity - Getting an authentic, unrestored, unrepaired tooth requires trust between the Collector and the seller.  What can further muddy the waters is if the tooth has exchanged hands many times the Collector has to trust that the seller they are purchasing from AND all the other sellers in the supply chain above them have not fallen to the temptation of repairing, restoring, or enhancing the tooth.

Supply Chain Risk to Collector
Some supply chain risks for collectors are obvious.  Risks like credit card fraud, sellers not shipping items, items getting lost in the mail, and various other risks that are part of any other kind of transaction.  However one of the biggest risks hidden in the Megalodon Tooth Supply Chain is the Risk of Undisclosed Restoration, Repair, and Enhancement.  The collector must trust that every person in the supply chain did not fall to the temptation of repairing or enhancing a tooth to increase their profit margin, this is especially risky in the middle parts of the supply chain when someone is reselling a tooth to someone that is not the final customer so they have some insulation or distance.  Know who you are buying from and who they are buying from and you should be ok.
Megalodon Supply Chain Risks