Hobby Musings: Wirth of FatPacks fame ready for a new hobby challenge – Former Beckett employee and FatPacks podcast co-host Paul Wirth recently decided to take a new direction with his role in the hobby. Staying with cards at the root, he started his own group breaking company. He was kind enough to take some time out to speak about why he made the change.
KS: Paul, what made you decide to start your own breaking company?
PW: I decide to go out on my own with 24/7 Breaking for a few reasons. Some of them were financial and some of them were family-oriented. I had been running an auction on Facebook, 24/7 Auctions, for about 18 months and had meet a ton of great people on Facebook. The Facebook community has a strong presence in the hobby. I was currently working at Beckett and doing box busters for them as well as the FatPacks Podcast.
I really enjoyed both of those things. I love opening packs. I mean who doesn’t right? I also loved having a platform from which to be able to talk about cards. Again a dream come true! So when the wife and I had to make some financial and family decisions, it just made sense to go out on my own. Starting, and well, talking about cards all the time!
KS: For novices who may not know, what does online box breaking entail?
PW: So online breaking is a crazy process to say the least! Everyone thinks it is awesome to be on Facebook Live or YouTube and just open cards for a living! But none of that moment is possible without a lot of hard work before and after those videos. Being able to establish yourself in the hobby community as reputable and honest is the first step. You have to be able to have a little more than just a friend status on Facebook. You need to know a little something about them so when they get a big hit in a break, you can talk directly to them and make them feel like a person and not just a number. Then you have to be able to secure a constant influx of product to keep up with demands. Then you have to post your break and then fill it.
There are so many ways now to do breaks, prolly 10 different! Easiest example is take a case of cards that you need to sell at $1500 / by however many teams are in that sport (30) and that creates your spot price of $50 a team. Then you need to post your break and sell your 30 spots! Once filled, collect your payments and run the randoms! Randoms are done by a third party service online to determine who will receive each team. The customer names are randomed, and then the team names randomed, and then you match together your customers to the team they will have in the break!!
Then it’s break time!!! Go live in your platform and break the case of cards!!! Talk to everyone in the room and go through the cards thoroughly as you open them!! Do a recap at the end of the break highlighting all the big hits for the break and tag or name the people who got them!!
Now the fun part. Video is done and before you is a huge stack of cards. The next step is sorting them out by teams and then matching them up with each person who had a team. Then comes the card sleeving and packaging them up for shipment! Print labels and head to the post office. So that 20-30 minute video of glory comes with a few hours of work before and after!
KS: What would you say have been the challenges of trying to start a breaking company in what is a fairly crowded market?
PW: The biggest challenge has just been educating people. My auction guys are all fantastic. We truly are a 24/7 family, and I refer to them that way often. A lot of them are new to breaking and the concepts. So just spending time with them so that they understand it. There are also normal challenges just like any business. Others are gonna hate when the new guy jumps on the scene, but once you get past those little roadblocks, the rest is golden.
KS: How are you trying to making your company stand apart from other breakers?
PW: Being different in this industry is what makes it great. You can have the same people doing the same thing, but everyone has a twist to it!! What I love about my 24/7 family is there are multiple groups for everyone to be a part of, including:
24/7 Auctions (all Sports auctions -original group)
24/7 Non Sports Auctions – 24/7 Buy It Now (for those impatient to wait in auctions)
24/7 Breaking – Case Breaks
24/7 Beckett Submissions (opening this week for bulk discounted grading orders submitted to me)
All of these allow me to offer a one-stop shopping experience. As my business grows, I can see more and more items being added to all these sites. For example, someone buys into a break and hits an Ohtani auto. I can take it for them and get it graded without it being shipped! Once graded, I can sell it for them as well on my buy it now page. So someone can get a big hit/have it graded/and sold all with in a short amount of time – with the customer doing absolutely no extra work!
KS: How do you feel working at Beckett in the past has affected what you’re doing with your breaking now?
PW: I think working at Beckett really helped give me the confidence to go live on a social media platform and do well. I have always been a very outgoing person never scared to get up in front of people and talk or perform or whatever. But I was very taken aback at first about being on videos and a podcast that was going to be seen around the world. Those fears quickly went away and now I love it!! I will take any and every opportunity now to go live and open cards or just talk to people.
KS: We’re currently in a pretty hot time in the hobby with multiple sports drawing interest. Overall though, which sports and products are you seeing the most demand for in breaks?
PW: We are in a crazy time right now for sports cards. The manufacturers have done a great job with creating products that are easy for breakers to break and rewarding for most who buy into them.
The hottest stuff right now in 2018 to break is almost everyone!!! Let me explain! Baseball right now has the Ohtani craze, which is bigger than the Judge/Bellinger craze we just had. Football just had Barkley and five top QBs taken in the first round of the draft. Football will be amazing this year as well. In basketball, there are probably 10 rookies this year and Ben Simmons, who made a huge impact on their teams and have all held good value and allow for more people to get big hits! Hockey is probably my least favorite of all sports, but you have superstars like Matthews and McDavid and now this Vegas team who in in the Stanley Cup Final in the first year as a team!
This year in sports has been super exciting and I see no drop-off from that! Which means the cards produced this year are going to continue to be amazing!
KS: Looking to the future, what are you hoping for with your breaking site?
PW: I do have a few goals for the 24/7 groups. I would love for there to be a brick and mortar site one day to be able to do live and in-person breaks at a shop. Other goals (Panini are you listening LOL) is to reach a point where I able to travel a little with Panini and break with some of the athletes at their major events! But the biggest goal is to keep it fun – fun for me and my family (as my sons get older) and for my 24/7 family. This has been a labor of love and I have had a lot of help along the way. It has been an awesome ride and I don’t want to get off it!!
KS: If you had to give a hobby traditionalist like me one good reason for trying online box breaks, what would that reason be?
PW: So if you have never tried a break before – think of it this way. It is a way to be a part of a box break or case break from your own sofa. And if the break is done right you should be able to walk away with having a good time during the break and gaining some knowledge about the product.
It is the breaker’s responsibility to educate people on what they got, what they are looking for and other info about the product. Anyone can order a case of cards of eBay, Amazon or wherever to have it delivered to their house and open it, but then have no idea what they got at all.
Breaking is a service and a privilege and should be treated that way by the breaker.
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