Monday, July 22, 2002
Dot-to-dot turns profit from naught
By Staff Writer ENID ARBELO
David Kalvitis recalls the days when he used to doodle endlessly as a child. Years later, Kalvitis is still having fun drawing and now is trying to make a living at it as owner of Monkeying Around, a dot-to-dot book publishing company.
"I can remember when my parents would say 'Will you cut out that monkeying around.' Litle did they know that when I grew up I would still be monkeying around," Kalvitis said.
Kalvitis thought a more advanced dot-to-dot book, one that would be for all ages, would be fun and appealling to consumers.
DANESE KENON staff photographer
David Kalvitis, the owner of Monkeying Around, holds three dot-to-dot books including the newest (book3), which will be released in August. He runs the business part time from his Rochester home.
"It's something different and it's something no one else has done," he said.
In spring 2000, Monkeying Around officially started business when Kalvitis self-published its first book. Yhe first book took seven years to finish because he was unable to work on it full time. Kalvitis had to divide his time between working on the book and working in sales or bookkeeping to keep a steady income.
Two years later, Kalvitis has tow more books - now spending most of his time with Monkeying Around.
"I'm slowly building the line one book a year," he said.
Kalvitis says he's been able to be more creative by using different variations of dot-to-dot puzzles, detailed images and even symbols used in place of dots.
Right now, Kalvitis performs all job duties from design to distribution, but sales are going so well that he "can barely keep up."
He has sold about 8,800 of his first two books, which are priced at $6.95 apiece. Kalvitis anticipates promising sales for the third book, which is currently being printed.
The books can be found in bookstores, gift shops and toy stores such as Media Play, Barnes & Noble and Borders Books and Music. The Unique Toy Shop in Canandaigua, Little Red Wagon Toy Shop in Pittsford, Piccadilly's Toy Shop in Penfield and Parkleigh on Park Avenue also carry the books.
Books stores in more than 30 other states also have the books in stock. He also sells them on Web sites such as Amazon.com.
Media Play in Henrietta has consistently sold out of the book.
"We always put them right up front. They're great sellers," said Lisa Didas, who runs the book department for Media Play.
Parkleigh hopes to carry the book for quite a while, said Daniel Mejak, operations manager for the store.
The book is doing well, the managers said, because it is geared toward all ages and based in Rochester.
Kalvitis said he is presently focused on estblishing his current products and focusing on the sales of the third book. However, he would like to make the business he runs out of his Rochester home a full-time venture.
Kalvitis plans to hire employees to spur business growth and eventually broaden the company's market. He is currently working on a smaller version of the puzzles to sell to newspapers.
"I'm at the point where I need to bring it to another level," he said.
Reprinted with permission from the Democrat & Chronicle