HOBBY INTERVIEW: Thomas Fish, President of Blowout Cards

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Blowout Cards is one of the most popular online destinations for collectors to go when then feel that urge to bust open a box, learn about new products, or just want to see what other collectors are doing around The Hobby.  Recently I did an interview with Blowout Cards President, Thomas Fish to learn more about the company and his perspective on The Hobby right now.
  • What is the history behind Blowout Cards?

Blowout Cards was founded in 1998 by Chris Park.  It was a time when card shows were at their peak, Publications such as Beckett and Sports Collectors Digest were the dominant media source and card shops could be found on every corner street..(literally).  The marketplace for sports cards on the Internet was just starting to take off.  Blowout Cards began by specializing in breaking unopened cases and then sorting the singles into team Sets.  We had buyers lined up in each city waiting to purchase 500-1000 team sets of their team along with all the inserts associated with their home team.  Demand quickly overtook supply and Blowout Cards transitioned from selling single cards and team sets into wholesaling wax boxes & cases.

The turning point for Blowout Cards was in 2003 when Thomas Fish became involved.  Fish was already well established in the Collectibles & Gaming industry.  Soon after, Chris Park and Thomas Fish became partners in Blowout Cards Inc. and thats when the company began to expand to where it is today.

  • What would you say is the most difficult part of your job?

Keeping up with technology and innovation.  It’s amazing how quickly the marketplace can change.  You can’t sit back and hope that customers will find you.  We are constantly keeping up with technology.  Whether its our Blowout Cards Forum which currently offers tens of thousands of collectors a place to exchange ideas and product info.  Our Twitter profile updates daily which reaches thousands of collectors and informs them of spontaneous sales. YouTube sponsored box breaks is where collectors can get a discount on their boxes while breaking them on YouTube.  Blowout Blogs is where collectors can get some notoriety by posting original articles.  There are many other new features added this year alone such as:  Blowout Auction Tracker (B.A.T.) – tracks the highest dollar singles for new releases,  Blowout “Hot List”-tracks the hottest wax boxes on a DAILY basis, and Product Information Pages (PIP) offers collectors everything there is to know about upcoming products such as: checklists, sell sheets, videos, box breaks, and other collectors opinions.

  • Is there anything different you would like to see the major card manufacturers do with their products that would help attract new collectors to The Hobby?

A lot of what we would like to see are the same issues that collectors have. Solve these issues and collectors will buy more which in turn means distributors and wholesalers will order more from the manufacturers.

-Eliminate redemptions
-Stated print runs or print to order
-Additional content in products
-Better customer service.  Even simple tasks such as updated release dates, having employees who are knowledgeable about products, and updated web sites
-More social networking to keep collectors involved
-More accurate price points based on content
-Buyback program.  If the product does not sell or live up to its billing, offer to buy it back from distributors at direct cost.  Stand by your product.

This would be a start.

  • What do you think were some of the best products released in 2009 and why?

2009 football products from Panini immediately standout.  Almost every release provides collectors with bang for their buck, and prices have moved up steadily throughout the year.  Just look at Donruss Limited, Absolute, Rookie & Stars, Certified, ect…  2009 UFC from Topps was a huge hit.  Series 1 started off as a $50 box direct and trades for over $400 now.  The UFC has as much potential in the near future as any other sport.  Here’s a quick breakdown for the major sports:
– Baseball: 2009 Topps Triple Threads, 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter, 2009 Topps Unique, & 2009 UD Goodwin Champions
– Basketball: 2009/10 Topps & 2009/10 Panini Rookies & Stars
– Football: 2009 Topps Triple Threads, all the Panini football products, 2009 Topps Finest, 2009 Topps Chrome & 2009 Topps Magic

  • What future promotions can collectors look forward to in 2010?

We have a lot of promotions planned for 2010.  They will all have a common theme – giving back to our customers.   Some of our most successful promotions in 2009 centered around that core theme.  Our Columbus Day specials centered on boxes and cases as low as $14.92.  Our 09/09/09 promotion had boxes & cases as low as $9.99 and $99.  Collectors went nuts with over 60,000 hits.  Then came the most successful promotion in Blowout Cards History – BLACK FRIDAY 2009 – BE THERE.  It was a spin off of our 09/09/09 promotion but we decided to get other sites that we work with involved.  Beckett was a huge contributor offering many annual online subscriptions.  Pro-Mold donated supplies for orders shipped out.  We also had many of our partnership sites involved including COMC (Checkoutmycards.com), SCU (Sportscardsuncensored.com), SCF (Sportscardforum.com), and FCB (Freedoncardboard.com).  In the end, there were over 2 million page views that shattered all expectations.  So what do we have planned for 2010?  You will have to stay tuned to our Forums to find out….

  • If you went into your warehouse right now and busted a box, which product would it be?

Out of all the boxes we have had in our warehouse, my favorite one to watch being opened was the $2,500+ Razor Oval Office boxes.  Its the most expensive 5 second rip I’ve ever seen.  With only 99 boxes made, we sold out a while back, but was fortunate enough to see 2 boxes ripped.

Out of the current inventory, I would say 2006 Playoff National Treasures Football.  If you hit a rookie its a bonus, but this product was loaded with all the old school big hits that you can’t find anymore.

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