One of my favorite parts of running this site is the opportunity to meet some of awesome people in our hobby. Our hobby is filled with a LOT of unique and very enjoyable folks…and they guys/gals at 702 Breaker$ are no exception. We had one of the more honest interviews a few months back and I’m excited to share the notes.
A few things I want you to pay attention to:
- Breakers are GOING TO MAKE MISTAKES. This a part of running a business. It’s how you own up and respond to those mishaps that really define your business.
- Finding your platform and niche is extremely important. Define who you are and jump all-in.
- If you are a breaker, go buy yourself a DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo — it saved 5-10 hours a week!!
There is a LOT of great insight for any aspiring breaker and/or new break customer. This is an awesome hobby but some of your beloved breakers pour a LOT into their craft. I hope you enjoy the interview!
INTERVIEW with 702 BREAKER$
Breaker Page HERE
Find their eBay Breaks are HERE
How was the last 12-months for you guys?
2017 was a very up & down year for us.. there were definitely some very extreme high points & gaining a bunch of amazing new customers, but I believe all breakers felt the impact. The typical September – November lull this year a LOT more than we have seen in the past couple years of breaking. Our amazing customers really came through for us each & every breaking night & have boosted us into a flourishing end to December. The best part is that the momentum carried over into 2018 as well.
One of our highlights last tear was attending the Rookie Premiere in California thanks to our amazing distributor GTS!! They also picked us last year to experience the Spring Training event in Arizona last year which was another AMAZING experience that we truly loved! Unfortunately we did not get to attend the National Sports Collector Convention last year, we did in 2016 & that is definitely an outstanding experience as Panini always puts on an absolutely AMAZING VIP party!! We look forward to getting back to the Convention this year in our dad’s home town of Cleveland, OH!!
How did you get started into breaking?
Actually we got into breaking by watching & buying into breaks ourselves!! We used to jump into a ton of Cards Infinity breaks as well as the guys at Bombers Breaks!! Both do an absolutely outstanding job….we also bought tons of retail which kept us in the game. Ultimately we have just grown up around the hobby as our dad has an absolutely vast collection dating all the way back to the T206 set!! So just growing up around the hobby & seeing the rise in the breaking community we decided to jump into the business ourselves & give it a shot! We both worked previously at the same company, Andrew as the lead customer service representative, and Toby worked as the shipping assistant manager (which actually has helped quite a bit in quickly figuring out how to get product to international customers, when to insure packages, etc.). The company ended up having a massive layoff which seemed like the perfect opportunity to come together & get our breaking company going!!
What did you find most appealing about the business?
Honestly for me the absolute most appealing aspect is to be able to be home & around my kids. The ability to use my job as a way to teach them all about the hobby is an amazing perk. Being able to be there each & every day when my 3 kids come home from school & helping them with homework & such…. And of course, I am working a job I ABSOLUTELY LOVE AS WELL! We have an absolutely amazing customer base which keeps me excited every day. And relationships have helped us experience amazing opportunities within the hobby…such as breaking alongside some awesome professional athletes. These are really one-of-a-kind experiences that we will hold onto as we continue to grow in this business! We hope those experiences just keep on piling up and allow us to stay focused on opening all of these cases / boxes of cards for our customers & pulling out THAT HUGE HIT!! It is just an absolute rush to pull out those HUGE cards & to know how ecstatic it will make our customer as they see it!!
Is this a Part-Time or Full-Time gig for both of you?
We run breaks just about every single Tuesday – Sunday the only day we do not break is on Mondays which allows us to really bust through a ton of shipping on Mondays! This is beyond a full-time job for both of us… I would say it takes at least 70 hours or more a week from each one of us & my wife actually helps out. This is a life saver as she does all of our listings for our eBay breaks & she does half of all of our sorting as well!! We also have our dad (whom got us truly into the hobby in the first place) help out from time to time as well… running a breaking company that breaks as often as ours is not easy & does take a lot of time, devotion, and a love for this company & this hobby!
Outside of competition, what has you worried about the breaking marketplace?
At this point, I would not say we have any specific worries about the sports card marketplace. But I guess our biggest concern is always the quality of products being released due to the fact that just about every sport has exclusives now with Panini, Topps, or Upper Deck. We definitely feel that competition allows for the marketplace to thrive more even if it is just two manufacturers competing. But since they still have competition out there, it allows those companies to be striving to make the best product possible. Obviously lots of little qualms with products, checklists, manufacturing, etc…but definitely nothing that keeps me up at night.
How have card manufacturers made breaking easier for you? More difficult?
Well, as for difficulties I would refer to the exclusives on entire sports as being the biggest challenge forcing breakers to break only Panini (football & basketball) or Topps (baseball). Especially if your customers are overly concerned with licensed products. Nevertheless, I would definitely say that manufacturers have been making things easier in products such as Panini’s Contenders Draft Picks Football only having 6 packs each containing an autograph in it rather than 20 packs which have the 6 autographs in them. This allows for breakers to do more breaks in a given night by reducing down the amount base cards coming out from each product.
In regards to your breaks, what are the rules that you absolutely WON’T compromise on?
One rule we have established is majority rules on all cards… so if a card is a triple autograph & their is a customer owning 2 of the 3 teams they win the card out by default. We laid this rule down a long while ago & will never change it because we had pulled some VERY high end cards where the majority owner ended up losing that card & a person with the single team ends up winning the card. We just didn’t feel right about it and decided we needed to tweak our rule.
Another rule that we never compromise on is…respect in the room at all times…. for one another as well as for us.
We have those rare occasions where customers just expect to get a big autograph or hit just by buying into the break & that is simply not the case since we have absolutely no control at all what comes out of any pack of cards we break. We also have had occasions where customers get into spats with other customers because we allow for our customers to select which boxes we are breaking in our breaks for fresh cases & we are breaking half, 5, etc… Then one customer does not hit & throws blame onto those who voted for those boxes to be broken & again those customers have no clue what is going to be coming out… so we just do not tolerate that type of negativity in our room & usually give warnings out if it persists we are then forced to ban that person from the room & future breaks as well.
How do you typically handle customer issues and/or breaks that don’t fill?
Being that we are one of the top eBay breakers we do not really have the break not filling up issue arise because regardless on eBay those spots will sell for whatever amount.. even at losses at times.. and we will still continue with the break every time! This allows for customers to always know that no matter what our eBay breaks are happening that night & there is no need to be worried that it may not.. we have had some rare occasions (maybe once every 2 or 3 months) where an issue arises from UPS not being able to deliver the product to us & it pushes the breaks back one day. Those are just things that arise that we would have absolutely no control over. Customer issues we typically handle through the eBay resolution center & always work our best to resolve the issues before it having to be escalated to eBay to resolve.
How about sorting? Do you hire others to sort or are you content with that piece of the business?
Sorting for me, Toby, Andre, my wife sorts works out to about 90% of all of the breaks… On some night my dad jumps in to help specifically when there are any extremely large sorts or we get to any point of being backed up with more sorts than we could handle alone. Neither of us mind the sorting aspect of the business at all, there are just so many other aspects to handle from shipping to breaking to creating the list of breaks, to customer service.
What makes you different than any other breaker?
I would say that one thing is we run all of our breaks through eBay so that guarantees our breaks to take place on the night that break is sold off on eBay (unless they are presales for breaks taking place earlier on release day morning!!) & that can provide customers that assurance that at least they will always get to watch their breaks the night it ends on eBay! Also the various price points can be very beneficial to customers & we run giveaways at least 3 or 4 times a week giving back to our customers with autographed memorablia & sealed product being sent out to them!!
Another big difference is that we are west coast so that allows us to run later night breaks than most other breakers provide because most of the big breakers are on the east coast, granted there are some that are constantly breaking & just swapping out breakers so those are options we do compete with. But being on the eBay platform also protects our sellers with how many safeguards that eBay has in place to protect those customers & to ensure we stick to the highest standards in a timely shipping process & getting the product to the customers safely! With eBay offering so much protections for our buyers it really can provide a superior experience & we are one of the only eBay breakers out there offering up free shipping on everything shipping domestically. Also the eBay platform allows us to sell internationally & protects all of our international customers in the same ways as well!!
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time (not-breaking)?
For me, the most enjoyable thing to do in my spare time is playing video games or board games with my kids, or getting to go outside with them & just throw the football around. Other than that we play video games, watch movies, and of course since living in Las Vegas we head down to the casinos from time to time when our schedules allow. We also LOVE getting to go to any country concerts that take place here, we were very blessed to not be attending the Route 91 festival last year, as we usually attend that festival. We didn’t have the time to attend last year & our hearts & prayers go out to everyone that was there… we had many friends there in attendance & again God blessed us by not having any of them become the victims.. that was a HUGE blow to our city, but we are definitely healing & feel like our whole city has come together even stronger now! #VEGASSTRONG !!
Do you PC any player/team?
Yes of course! Do not think you could be in this hobby breaking day after day without being a collector of some sort yourself! Andrew collects any Ohio State Buckeye players, Cleveland Indians, and Cleveland Cavaliers. Toby collects any Seattle Seahawks or Seattle Mariners & Serena (Toby’s wife) that helps out a ton with sorting & does all of our listings collects Denver Broncos & New York Mets. Then if we open any products ourselves our dad whom got us into this hobby & assists with sorting as well is a die hard Cleveland collector of all types & we will typically give him all Browns & then any duplicates that Andrew already has. We have even gotten our little boys collecting, my oldest collects Seattle much like me, and my youngest son collects Arizona Cardinals & Pokemon!! Our youngest daughter does not share much interest in the collecting world, she has a small Pokemon collection & some My Little Pony cards as well!
What is your favorite product of the year?
Of 2017 by far the most impressive products would have to be a tie between the new release from Panini XR Football, I think they absolutely hit that product right on the money with a solid mix of veterans, rookies, and hall of fame players!
The other would be the release of 2017 Bowman’s Best from Topps is always a very solid release & this year yet again they just delivered it perfectly blending prospect, rookies, and veterans all on card autographs all in one product!! Then aside from those Leaf Trinity Baseball & Football is always just an amazing product.. the patches that Leaf delivers in that product are some of the most unique we get to see year after year & they are by far the best when it comes to handling their redemptions in getting them back to customers in an extremely timely manner!
Do you have any tricks to managing your time – whether with your break schedule or just daily life?
Breaking for a living definitely does put a twist on any schedule as we do have to live where we work. As mentioned we also have to put in quite a few more hours than you would in any normal full-time job. Family time definitely comes first to us, time with the kids playing games, doing homework etc. & Andrew & I alternating our breaking nights allows for some good quality time for the family while maintaining our almost daily breaking schedule. So we always prioritize the family time first & then comes work which there have been many late nights while the kiddos are sleeping we have worked away until around 5 AM PST just sorting & shipping to maintain a steady pace of getting breaks out!
What is one app, piece of software, or website you can’t live without?
Well for us that would have to be eBay as that has launched us into the whole breaking business, we are blessed to be one of the top breakers on their platform!! Of course also YouTube for our live streaming purposes & the ODB streaming software that allows for us to go on air!! Also for our company all social media Instagram, being our primary social media outlet, our Facebook group, & our Twitter account as well!! We do out best to keep up with all 3 as best we can, but between all of the other aspects of the company that one does drop to the wayside at times, but again we do all we can to maintain our presence ESPECIALLY on Instagram!!
If you were advising a breaker that was just starting out, what is one piece of advice you’d give them?
Anyone getting into the breaking as a full-time business I would first advise them on how much of a large part of your life it will consume… the time it takes to run a full-time breaking operation like ours will suck up close to 70 hours a week on average just dedicated to work. So I would say that you have to have an absolute true love for the hobby & plenty of time management in order to squeeze in that much work every single week. I would also advise to get in touch with a well established distributor rather than buying from the retail outlets like Blowout or Steel City, nothing at all against them, but going through top distribution chains are a much better route & most offer some benefits from free giveaways to being invited to various events like the rookie premiere, we typically stick to 2 that we hold in very high regard which are GTS Distribution & Peach State Sports !! Amazing customer service & just an all around better experience getting products in for your breaks overall!!
What is one thing you’d do differently if you could start your breaking business over?
The one MAJOR thing would be to buy a DYMO label printer (DYMO 450 Turbo) a LOT sooner!! We were literally printing & cutting out labels for about our whole first year of breaking… & that would literally add on 5 to 10 hours of work per week!!
Another MAJOR thing we would change is there were some issues that arose with 2 or 3 customers that we should have handled better and more professionally. But we learned and have improved ourselves because of it.
Of course we right any wrongs we have ever made because we love this business, the hobby, and always want to do better by our customers. We want to really leave them with that feeling of “702 Breakers are my go to breakers” but we have made some mistakes on our end in the past but have worked hard to make them right. We will continue to make sure to take care of all of our customers & give them the best breaking experience they can have!!
We love our customers, we love this hobby & getting the chance to work in it is such a blessing given to us we always make sure to thank our customers every night, without them we could not keep on going, and we give all the glory & praise that we have been able to keep the “702 Brew Crew” breaking train rolling to God, He has truly blessed us with an amazing opportunity & we hope that anyone out there reading through our interview with you guys will give us a try & we are always receptive on ways to improve, never be afraid to make suggestions!
Also a huge thank you over to BreakerCulture in providing the service & site allowing for customers to rate breakers & give reviews & such on a neutral platform rather than one run by a breaker themselves which are all that have existed up until this point!!
Fin 702 Breaker$ on their Breaker Page HERE
Find their eBay Breaks are HERE