Over the past 4 months, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Joe from Jaspy’s Hobbyland. He’s been extremely helpful as we’ve tried to come up with new content and ideas for resources for the collector. I appreciate his approach and am excited for you to learn more about Joe (and Jaspy’s). Enjoy the interview.
How did you get started into breaking?
Joe: Short answer? Because I was laid off!
The foundation of Jaspy’s HobbyLand was set by Mike Jaspersen and his decades of experience in the hobby as the price guide editor at Beckett Publications and as Industry Specialist at The Topps Vault. He also owned and operated multiple brick-and-mortar hobby shops. He is a long-time veteran of the hobby and well-respected and well-known part of the hobby.
Mike and his son Nick had the foresight to recognize that live group case-breaks broadcast over a live stream on the Internet was a crucial part of the future of the hobby.
As for me, I have been a friend of the family for far longer than I’ve been in business with them and I always joked that I would work for Mike if I got laid off from my eCommerce job at the time.
Well, I got laid off. Haha. And I’m thankful that this opportunity was here for me because it suits me well.
What did you find most appealing about the business?
Joe: The sappy — but honest — answer is that I enjoy the thrill of opening cases and seeing what I can pull for people who join our group breaks. And, obviously, I want to see what’s inside the cases just as much as everyone else!
From a purely selfish perspective? I love entertaining and I love any excuse to talk about sports. I have always been a big fan of sports talk radio and my broadcasts pretty much fulfill the dream of hosting my own sports talk radio show.
Is this a Part-Time or Full-Time gig for you?
Joe: It’s a full-time gig for me. So it better work out! Haha.
How has growth (assuming Jaspy’s is growing) changed the way you provide breaks?
Joe: Thankfully Jaspy’s HobbyLand is growing! (Please note (again) that this is my full-time job! Haha).
Our growth has given us the ability to offer more promotions and giveaways and offer more products and what not but for the most part our growth has allowed us to continue building upon on our simple foundation: Offer a variety of fun and entertaining breaks, ship out cards safely and quickly, and provide quality customer service.
How has competition impacted the way you approach the business?
Joe: In general, I think competition is great for business.
But while we are quite aware of our competition, I think we just like to focus on our core business philosophy of just running a fun, family-friendly broadcast, building a community, offering a variety of products at various price points, shipping quickly and safely and having open communication with our audience if any issues occur.
Outside of competition, what has you worried about the breaking marketplace?
Frankly, I don’t have too many worries about the breaking marketplace. I think the audience is out there and it’s just a matter of introducing more and more people to this new way of collecting whether they are new to the hobby or veterans of the hobby.
There are some collectors that will suggest that this or that is “ruining” the hobby. But the hobby is still here.
The obituary for the hobby has been written many times over the decades but the hobby is still alive and well.
And it’s thriving! There are always new products, new ways to collect (i.e. case breaking), new prospects to collect, new rookies to collect, and plenty of future hall of famers and legends to collect!
How have card manufacturers made breaking easier for you? More difficult?
Joe: Y’know, I have never really thought about how card manufacturers have made breaking easier or more difficult for me. I guess we’re not really worried about things we can’t control.
If a team is under-represented in a product? Then they will priced lower in a Pick Your Team break or combined with another team in a Random Team break.
Is a release pushed back? Are there multiple high-end releases coming out in the same week? We’ll find a way to make it work as well.
One thing I do have to say is that I have had brief interactions with representatives of major card manufacturers and distributors and they are very much aware and interested in the group case break industry. And I think that’s a good sign going forward.
In regards to your breaks, what are the rules that you absolutely WON’T compromise on?
Joe: We go strictly by the checklist for each release and we won’t compromise on that.
How do you typically handle customer issues and/or breaks that don’t fill?
Joe: We’re big on quality customer service so we encourage any customer with an issue (no matter how big or small) to contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work with the customer to find a resolution.
As for breaks that don’t fill, we don’t really have a strict rule on that since most of our breaks will fill within a day or two. If a particular break seems to fill a bit more slowly than some others, we encourage the customer to give the break a few days or so to fill. Otherwise, the customer is welcome to request a refund. On the rare occasion a break is simply not filling, we will cancel the break and refund everyone who purchased spots in that particular break.
What makes you different than any other breaker?
Joe: Let’s be honest here, running a breaking operation isn’t rocket science: You buy cases, you sell cases, you open ‘em up live, you safely pack and ship the cards as quickly as possible. Done.
But it’s all the little things in between that separate the OK breakers from the good breakers; The good breakers from the great breakers; The great breakers from the best breakers.
We put a high priority on focusing on the little things like broadcasting a fun and family-friendly show, building a community that enjoys talking about the hobby and sports in general, offering a high level of customer service, displaying a knowledge and appreciation of the hobby.
Jaspy’s HobbyLand is also an actual brick-and-mortar card shop located in Redondo Beach, California. I think that also gives our audience a extra layer of confidence when they’re breaking with us.
Listen, I get that this all sounds kinda cheesy and that it sounds like trite business-speak but I truly believe it and it’s what sets us apart from many other breakers. I think if people give Jaspy’s HobbyLand a try, I think they’ll see our genuine love for the hobby, our genuine love for delivering a fun family-friendly sports-talk-radio style show and the quality of our operation overall.
We love what we do. And I hope that shows. And maybe that is what sets us apart from other breakers.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time (not-breaking)?
Joe: I think a couple things are clear when people watch my broadcasts: I love sports, I love music.
So, in my spare time I watch a lot of sports, play a lot of fantasy sports, listen to a lot of music.
Something that most people don’t know — because I don’t really talk about it on air — is that I have a journalism background and, therefore, I enjoy writing a lot. I am also a musician and enjoying playing guitar, singing and writing songs.
Also, I was a poli-sci major and religion minor in college. Two subjects I love. And two subjects that I’ll never talk about on air! Haha.
Do you PC any player/team?
Joe: These days I am a very casual collector but if I was more serious about it, I think I’d collect the legends of my favorite teams: Dodgers, Raiders, Lakers, Liverpool FC.
What is your favorite product of the year?
Joe: There are so many product releases that it’s hard to choose! I obviously love high-end releases like Flawless, National Treasures, Immaculate, Museum Collection, The Mint, Five Star, et cetera but I have a soft spot in my heart for quirky products like Allen & Ginter, Star Wars releases and stuff like Topps High Tek baseball that has a lot of weird patterns and variations to discover.
Awesome, thank you Joe for the time. We’ll dig more into these during our Podcast!
Joe: No problem, look forward to it!
More about Joe:
Joseph Lee – Host/breaker for JaspysHobbyLand.com. Avid sports fan, mediocre fantasy sports player, big music fan, pop-culture enthusiast.
Thank you for checking out the interview. More breakers are slated for interviews the next few months.