I’ve always really enjoyed reading other Game/Comic/Hobby store owners blogs. Two of my favorite ones are Quest for Fun by Gary Ray and Desert Sky Games Backstage Pass by Michael Bahr. I view both blogs as helpful tools of the trade that give me plenty of information to learn and reflect on. No matter what line of business you are in, you should have people that you respect, look up to and learn from.
In Gary’s most recent post he talks about defining success. Everyone defines success differently and within their own way. Is it financial? Is it growth? It is new chairs?
I look at CategoryOneGames and I am very proud of the business, from where it started to where it is today. Since switching website platforms in 2012, defining success for the business has been much easier to define.
I started selling on eBay in 1998 while in high school. I didn’t keep track of numbers, it was a way to sell off extra Reflections foils and comic book runs that I had read and no longer was interested in keeping. In 2003 I started taking selling on eBay seriously and started a store. I was heavily getting into selling Star Wars cards when I found a mentor in Michael Bahr who was getting out of selling Star Wars. He had an eBay store called Outer Rim Trading Company that he ran while going through law school. As he was nearing graduation, he started liquidating inventory and providing me a wealth of information, tips, tricks and strategy. Since this time, I’ve become really good friends with Bahr and still pick his brain and bounce ideas off of him.
I continued to run with eBay through 2005 when I started to realize that I was actually making money at this and needed to take it more seriously and tracking sales and purchases. I also realized that I needed a larger platform than just eBay. I started looking at either starting my own website or buying one.
CategoryOneGames started in November 2004 when a school teacher had some free time during the summer and started coding. He started selling at the end of November 2004. The original owner was big into Lord of the Rings and WARS which were both being produced at the time. He then move the site into FullMetal Alchemist and Star Wars. You can see some early versions of the site on the WayBackMachine website.
In March 2006 I purchased the site from the original owner, you can see what it looked like at the time. The website had limitations, it needed to be coded and sales statics were not provided. Around mid 2008 the site needed to be upgraded. It was moved to a new site which it stayed on until January 1st, 2012 where it switched to it’s current platform. The current platform provides statistics, sales tracking and figures that none of the other sites offered. I’m also able to add on new games at any time and am not limited by a lack of coding knowledge.
The site has grown incredibly since it first started. Just looking at sales figures from last year, the site has 11 games that are selling that were not even on the site this time last year. This number will only continue to grow as current games on the site receive support and new games are added. 2014 was the best year overall for the site and this year is already on pace to beat that number.
Just in the past three months, Aliens vs Predator, Terminator, HorrorClix, OverPower, Board Games, and Living Card Games categories have all been added and have seen sales in each category. Games like Aliens Vs Predator and OverPower are selling much better than ever expected.
A game like Doomtown has become a mainstay on the site with a large following and great customer base just within the past year.
How do you define success? I look at CategoryOneGames and we wouldn’t have this success if not for our great customers that have stuck with us for years. It’s the great communities that we have been part of over the years. I view our growth as a sign of the success that we have had and we only have our great customers to thank.