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Breaker Interview | Brikis Breaks —> Poker Table to Breaker Table

We’d be kidding ourselves if said we weren’t intrigued by unique backgrounds. In fact, when I join new breakers, one of the first things I look at is the company/breaker background. I want to spend my time with someone who unique experiences. Josh from Brikis Breaks offers exactly what we are looking for… intrigue. He also prioritizes some of the core elements that we all look for… check out my interview with Josh below!

How has 2017 been treating you so far?
I certainly can’t complain. 2017 has been pretty awesome so far!
How did you get started into breaking?
My friend from Pittsburgh Mike Zack actually got me into it as a customer and it wasn’t long before I decided to turn a lifelong hobby into a serious business.
How do you view technology in regards to the success of your business?
I couldn’t possibly run this business without all the social media outlets available to reach out to current and future customers. Live streaming has brought the sports card industry back in a big way.
What did you find most appealing about the business?
I love interacting with my customers…who become friends. We can chat about sports and cards as a hobby and enjoy it together. I have collected cards and bought and sold cards my entire life at shows and on eBay etc and to me it’s just a lot of fun. To be able to pull friends/customers big cards and bring them the newest hottest products live is exciting and enjoyable.
How does the general attitude of ‘breaking’ compare to your poker background? 
There are so many similarities with poker and breaking. There’s math involved and there is action involved and it’s exciting…it has highs and lows.
Is this a Part-Time or Full-Time gig for you?
It is a full-time gig. Basically every second that I am not with my son Brayden I am doing something for the business. 
When did you make the shift to Full-Time? 
I just couldn’t travel anymore and play poker. I also haven’t enjoyed it for years. My son being born in 2012 really changed it all for me. I was looking for something to do outside of poker ever since he was born and there isn’t anything I would rather do than be involved in a hobby that I have been involved in my whole life. 
Outside of competition, what has you worried about the breaking marketplace?
A lot of customers are around for a month or two and splurge a large amount of money until they realize they can’t beat the system so to speak and make money as a customer. Maintaining that base of customers that enjoy it as a hobby is largely important and that is the only real worry for me.
How have card manufacturers made breaking easier for you? More difficult?
I think there needs to be a way to have a few less products. There is for sure too many. They also need to consider cutting allocations, if they want the industry to thrive it can’t be them giving benefits to certain customers or they make it very difficult for business’ to grow. 
In regards to your breaks, what are the rules that you absolutely WON’T compromise on?
I’m having a hard time thinking of any…I am pretty flexible and will work with my customers requests on just about anything…
How do you typically handle customer issues and/or breaks that don’t fill?
We find a way to eventually fill most breaks but there are some that just aren’t going to fill and typically we will move their spots into something else that they want to get in.
How about sorting? Do you hire others to sort or are you content with at piece of the business?
I sorted myself for the majority of breaks up until a few months ago where I got my cousin involved. He is a lifetime sports card collector and flea market/card show seller and he enjoys it.  And it gives me some extra time to grow the business in other ways by using time that I didn’t have before.

What makes you different than any other breaker?
I think first and foremost is my love and knowledge of the hobby and sports in general. Pronouncing names on cards seems so simple yet when you hear other breakers that have no clue about sports or cards…it’s quite annoying.  So, I think people respect and enjoy that I am knowledgeable. I also think they love how I talk to them as friends. I say hello to everyone who comes into the room. I make friends with them over time and now consider many of them to be good friends. I’m so close with some of them that we exchange texts regarding day to day things…not just cards. I have a serious poker background and many of my customers enjoy talking about my success in poker. There are probably some other things but these two stick out…
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time (not-breaking)?
There is nothing more enjoyable or rewarding to me than being a dad. I love hanging out with my son. We are together a lot and I love and cherish every minute of it. If I have time outside of that and working, I spend time with family and friends…I like sporting events, golf, concerts, and just hanging out and enjoying life. 
Do you PC any player/team?
I like the older stuff moreso than all the new auto and jerseys. I like baseball prospects though…but mostly older graded rookies and Hall of Famers. I also have a large Michael Jordan and Penny Hardaway collection and I am a big Pittsburgh guy!
What is your favorite product of the year?
Definitive and NT for Football and Bowman Chrome for Baseball. I don’t do much of the other sports but probably something Upper Deck for Hockey and for Basketball…I’m old school…I like 86-87 Fleer…93-94 Finest haha
Do you have any tricks to managing your time – whether with your break schedule or just daily life? (be specific to technology/tools/processes you are using)
I wish I did haha…Hang out w my son, work, and repeat…it feels like a round the clock 24/7 job and still feels like I should be doing more.
If you were advising a breaker that was just starting out, what is one piece of advice you’d give them? 
Do it the right way. Don’t be shady and try shady business tactics by going to other rooms and messaging customers or stealing customers some other way on social media. People aren’t stupid…you won’t last doing that. Be a legit real and honest business and treat it as such. 
What is one thing you’d do differently if you could start your breaking business over?
I don’t think I would do anything differently at the start, you live and learn in this business as in life and you adjust as you go. There are many things I do different now that I didn’t do 2 years ago but that doesn’t mean there is any one big thing that I would do different to start.
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