Welcome to Part 1, of a brand new series at the Sawx Sigs Blog. One of the best parts of running this business, is some of the stories that happen when no one else is around. Meeting 1-on-1 with players, agents, collectors, and fans leads to a lot of unique experiences that I wanted to share with everyone. With Part 1, I’m going to start at the beginning, because honestly starting in the middle would just be confusing, right?
One of the questions I get pretty often from friends, family, and fans of the site, is usually something along the lines of “How did you get into this business?”. The simple answer is that I started
like most of you; I was just a fan collecting Red Sox autographs. Unfortunately collecting quality autographs is expensive ($15 for official baseballs?!?), and I couldn’t afford to pour money into my new hobby without getting some money back. That led to the creation of BriansRedSoxAutographs.com. After coming up with SUCH a clever title, I used that site to not only to sell off a few extra signed cards and baseballs, but to display (i.e. show-off) my collection, put in a few stories about how I got each autograph, and keep a running count of how many autographs I could collect. Eventually I let the rights to the web domain lapse (why someone else bought them I will never know), and SoxSignatures.com was born. Originally Sox Signatures was just a continuation of Brian’s Red Sox Autographs, with pictures of my collection, a small store, etc. But in 2013, I decided to rid the site of my personal collection, and just open a full-on Red Sox memorabilia store. After building my own website off of a Zen Cart template, I stocked the virtual shelves with all kinds of autographed baseballs, photos, and cards. One of the unfortunate parts of being a small business, is that the budget is so tight that spending money on things like advertising and marketing were just not feasible. The good thing about social media is that it’s free! This meant the next step was to build a social media presence and Twitter and Facebook were the main platforms to tackle. Maybe I had to coerce some people into following me with a few giveaways and contests, but as far as dollars spent it rounded out to a perfect zero. The progress was slow, but Re-Tweet by Re-Tweet and Like by Like the word started to spread a little. As someone who never ran their own business before, even small increases in the customer base was extremely encouraging. Sales picked up slowly and I started to build relationships with other companies and “players” in the memorabilia world, but the only thing drawing people to my site were the low prices (Here’s a previous post on why those prices are so low). I got some great advice from another company out in St. Louis, that one of the important things they learned was that while cheap items seemed like a good idea to draw in customers, some of their best sellers were higher priced and unique items. Now the question became, how can I get these unique items? Did I have to go out and buy hats, bats and jerseys? Do people want autographs of a prospect on a Major League jersey? What if he gets traded? These were the questions I focused on when from out of the blue the answer landed on my lap thanks to a totally unexpected email.
Now, if you’ve ever browsed through the store, I think you can guess that the “unique items” I’m talking about are all in the Autographs->Signed Game Used section. The ironic part of that story, is that I didn’t reach out to get those game used items, I was contacted by an agent out of the blue to see if I wanted to work with one of his clients. But that’s a story for Part 2 of our “Behind the Scenes” series.
Thanks for stopping by!