331
8 min 57 sec

All-American Hits Home Run With Baseball Apparel Hustle

After first learning Adobe Photoshop to forge his report card, a Hawaiian baseball enthusiast creates an apparel line that goes on to earn millions of dollars.
High Profit Manufacturing Product Retail Sports

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What It's About

Three friends knock one out of the park with their baseball apparel company!

Business Model
Manufacturing
Skills Required
Design & Bootstrapping
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

Travis and his partners took a brilliant approach to determining which designs would end up making it onto a t-shirt and which would not—they'd let social media come up to bat!

If it did well there, they could pretty much guarantee that it would be a good seller. If a design didn't generate much interest, they'd pull it pretty quickly. They were always watching how products were responding with their market.

Fun Fact

As a nod to their history with baseball and passion for the sport, each of the partners for Baseballism has a picture of them from Little League on their business cards.

Notes from Chris

Episode 331
Hawaiian native Travis Chock has always loved baseball. He started playing when he was 5 and hasn’t stopped since. He even went on to make the club baseball team at the University of Oregon and transform himself into a two-time all American. Baseball wasn’t just a sport—it was his life.

With such a strong background in America’s favorite pastime, it comes as no surprise that Travis’ first job would be related to baseball.

Drawing on his sports experience, he sought out a job as a junior varsity coach at a nearby high school but discovered there just wasn’t a strong baseball culture in Eugene, Oregon.

Since the baseball community in Oregon was seriously lacking, he decided that he’d try and fill the void himself. He got together with some former teammates from his club baseball days, and they decided that the best way to do this was to put together youth baseball camps. So for each week that summer, Travis and the gang taught 24 kids between the ages of 7 and 12 everything they knew about the sport they loved.

They settled on the name Baseballism, because well, maybe it related to tribalism, but maybe it just sounded cool. As is typical with most baseball camps, there are free t-shirts given out to the camp goers, but instead of just dialing in the t-shirt design, Travis and his partners decided to design them themselves on high-quality shirts.

The camp ran successfully for two years over the summer, but eventually, the four friends went their separate ways and got “real jobs.” Travis ended up scoring a job as a physical education teacher and pretty much assumed that Baseballism had run its course. But little did he know, Baseballism wasn’t going to sit on the bench for long...

Travis continued to wear his camp t-shirts around town, and occasionally, he’d have people stop him on the street and ask him where he purchased his shirt. He casually brought it up one day with his old partners and discovered that this wasn’t an isolated trend—people were asking them where they got their shirts too! It seemed like an opportunity that was just too good to pass up, so they began to consider how they could transition their old business, Baseballism into an apparel company.

Travis became full-time CEO of Baseballism Inc in 2014, and Baseballism would go on to do 1.3 million in revenue in 2014, 2.7 million in 2015, and just under 7 million in 2016. They are poised to make anywhere between 10-20 million this year, with slightly under 20% going to their bottom line, and they now have 4 brick and mortar stores (Portland, Atlanta, Scottsdale, Cooperstown) with plans for 2 more next year. What had once started out as a passion project has taken off and turned into a thriving business.

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Baseballism: Slide your way over to Travis' homepage to check out his full baseball apparel line!
  • Photoshop & Illustrator: Two of the Adobe programs that Travis used to create the designs he used for his Baseballism apparel
  • Kickstarter | Baseballism: The Kickstarter campaign that started it all
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"You’ll never know if something will work unless you dive in head first."
—Travis Chock #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau