Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An evening with Steiner Sports

Last night, I had the opportunity to sit in on a speech by Brandon Steiner, Founder and CEO of Steiner Sports Memorabilia. You've probably come across some of the autographed baseballs, photos, and dirt that his company specializes in.

The speech was the Lubin House in NYC, which is a house that Syracuse owns and operates and offers these types of events to students and alum. Steiner graduated from Syracuse in 1981.

It’s the third or fourth time I’ve seen him speak. He’s very engaging and his stories and experiences resonate well with me. He has a great vision and eye for sports memorabilia and creating what’s next. I’ll highlight a few points that I found particularly interesting.

  1. Him and his team constantly have to decide how to make “just not enough" of a product. For example, they issued 3,000 commemorative bats for Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit. They sold out in a matter of hours. While it was tempting to produce and sell more, it was important for them to keep a demand and a scarcity. While not everyone would be able to buy one of these, they’ll remember it for next time and know that they have to act quickly for whatever the hot item is.
  2. He likes to refer to himself as the “guy who sells dirt.” He didn’t invent the idea of selling stadium dirt. He was actually at a Marlins game and they were selling it in the team shop in bottles. He was interested in the idea and started thinking of how to make it better and as part of a collectible, as opposed to just a generic bottle of it.
  3. The dirt also gave him something less expensive to sell during tough economic times. While many of items are expensive (he admits it), the stadium dirt is available in key chains, coasters and other small items. It helped boost his sales during tougher times.
  4. He got dirt from every stadium in baseball, and created a piece specially for Brian Cashman. The framed collectible had team logos with a small capsule of dirt underneath, and he sent a note with it that said, "Brian, you now have a little dirt on every team."
  5. He said one of the biggest deals he ever lost money on is Curt Schilling. He signed him following the 2004 World Series, figuring that he would be considered an icon in Boston the way Orr or Russell is. He said he still can’t believe that despite what Schilling did, he still isn’t overly liked in Boston. This made me happy.
  6. In any business, there are three key components – price, quality and service. He said it’s impossible to have all three, so he focuses on quality and service.
There was a lot more, but those are some of my key takeaways. They then did a random raffle drawing for a signed Jeter Sports Illustrated cover. I didn’t win.

1 comment:

  1. you;re right, dude. this post did deserve to be read more.
    now i want a key-fob or some kinda crap with dodgers dirt.