Jack London once said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” The author, known for his tales about grit and perseverance knew a thing or two about ambition.
This principle applies as much to the business world as the writing world, and entrepreneurs must have the grit to go after inspiration with a club. That is exactly what Plate Crate’s founder, Josh Band did. Although, in his case it was more like a bat — a baseball bat, to be exact.
Band had been an independent baseball player in the Midwest in the early 2010’s. To make up for his small baseball salary, he spent his offseason doing other small jobs. The work was hard but the, and the pay was minimal.
He offered personal training services to high school baseball players and helped little leaguers with their batting game. He also had some other less baseball-related jobs such as shoveling snow in the middle of the night. During the day, he would train for his baseball career.
The lifestyle was not sustainable for a professional athlete — or professional anything. Not only was he struggling under the workload, but none of these jobs proved very lucrative. Band decided to put some of his hard work into something more worth his while. This led him to creating Plate Crate, a subscription-box company that specializes in all things baseball.
It Starts With Determination
Band decided to flex his entrepreneurial muscle and try something a little different. He researched online to see what might work as a business startup and found that subscription boxes were gaining momentum.
After realizing that the subscription-box route might be the best way to go, Band threw everything he had into it. He had $800 between his bank account and savings bonds, so he used what he had and bought an inventory. It was all or nothing now.
Filled a Need
Perhaps the single most important factor in starting a subscription-box business, or any business for that matter, is to offer a product that people want yet no one else is offering.
Though baseball is known as America’s pastime, no one else had a baseball subscription-box business. Band found that niche and capitalized on it when he started Plate Crate.
For the Love of the Game
Band was a baseball fanatic since he was a child. He achieved his dream at age 22 when he became an actual baseball player for a small Louisiana team.
However, the odd jobs he picked up in his off-season were not only lacking in pay but lacking in passion. These jobs were taking his focus and effort away from baseball — the very thing he needed to be focusing on for the upcoming season.
So, when he decided to try his hand at subscription boxes, he chose a product that would keep him right on focus. Baseball. This gave him an advantage because now he had knowledge of his product and passion to drive him.
Band knew he wanted to spend his life surrounded by baseball. He let that love for the game drive him to create a successful business. It was his determination to put whatever work was necessary into his dream that made Plate Crate a home-run business idea.
Band admitted that if he had not acted when he did, he probably would not have started Plate Crate at all. There is a lot that goes into a subscription business. Inventory, warehousing, shipping, and employees are just some of the factors that are important for an entrepreneur to consider when starting a business.
However, Band did not think about these; he just went for it. While walking into the business world naively may not be the best course of action, the principle here is in the fact that Band put aside all his fears and doubt and went after what he believed could be a successful business.
Quality Above All
Plate Crate had the advantage of being one of the only (if not the only) baseball subscription boxes when Band started it. However, it stayed successful because of its top-notch quality.
The products in the boxes are at a guaranteed value of at least twice the price of the subscription per month. Besides keeping baseball fans happy with what they receive in each box, Plate Crate’s quality packaging also gives them a satisfying unboxing experience.
Complete with quality customer service which includes the option to easily pause or cancel subscriptions, Plate Crate’s customers are kept happy — keeping the company ahead in the subscription-box game.
Hitting Some Strikes Isn’t So Bad
Plate Crate has grown to what it is today by trial and error. When Band started Plate Crate, he did not even know how to launch a business. He learned that he had to be resourceful.
Plate Crate now manufactures a lot of their own merchandise and even stadium snacks under the brand name Bandit Sports, but at the time, Band had to rely on wholesalers. Rather than ordering custom packaging which can be extremely expensive, Band settled for plain, white boxes which he stamped with the logo himself.
Band made do with what he had and came up with solutions. As orders rolled in, the business was able to grow, expanding until it reached where it is now with over $3.9 million in revenue.
Josh Band harnessed the grit and ambition he developed while playing baseball and used it to create a successful business. Plate Crate grew from a small business conducted out of a basement to a multimillion-dollar sports company with its own merchandise line.
It’s a prime example of a classic American underdog story.