Q: Waking up can be hard to do. What motivates you to get up and out of bed in the morning?
A: I can definitely relate to this since I’m more of a night owl than a morning person! But with that said, it’s much easier for me to get out of bed in the morning when I start the day with a thankful heart – for my family, community of friends, and for a growing small business.
Q: If you were given a $50,000 check right now – no strings attached – how do you think you’d spend it?
A: 10% local charities, 10% long-term savings, and I would invest the remainder into Baseball Seams Co. to improve processes, inventory purchases, and the America At The Seams branding/promotion.
Q: What does success look like to you?
A: I love numbers and financial analysis (#sorry, #notsorry), so with my accounting background, my knee-jerk response would be things like revenue growth, ROI, and keeping expenditures in-line with budget.
But, success is much more than just numbers. It’s the bear hugs I get at home from my two little girls and hearing ‘I love you, Daddy’ when tucking them in. It’s also measured more intangibly in how close Baseball Seams Co. stays to its mission and purpose with product development and how we treat our customers and vendors.
Q: Who’s your hero? Tell us about that person and your relationship with them.
A: My dad for modeling sacrificial love throughout my childhood with all the time and energy he spent playing catch with me in the backyard and instilling in me the love of baseball through the bond of a father/son. He also showed me the importance of following your passion/calling when he took a leap from his microbiologist career to become a pastor.
I’d also have to point to my mom for being the glue that held our house together growing up and to my wife for having supernatural patience with our crazy kids.
Q: What are your aspirations for your business in the next 2-5 years?
A: We’ve seen tremendous growth this year, so step one is determining what our new normal is going to look like with operations and order fulfillment. Beyond that, an America At The Seams podcast is on the radar, along with expanding Seams Co. product offerings to accommodate the fast-pitch softball market and other sports. We also want to have a brick-and-mortar presence with retail partners and boutiques in all 50 states.
Q: What are some challenges you face working in the small business, artisan industry? How do you overcome them?
A: As we continue to grow, finding sources for reliable and affordable materials is becoming increasingly important. Another challenge is how Amazon has influenced the buying public to expect purchases nearly on-demand and with short lead times. In response, we are attempting to build an inventory of a variety of handmade artwork offerings to accommodate these shoppers, but also very clearly express in our listings that original handmade artwork does take time to create in an effort to shape customer expectations.
Q: Being present in the moment is so important with the abundance of stimuli we deal with every day. Do you have anything that helps you stay HERE and GROUNDED?
A: For me, prayer is an extremely effective way that I stay grounded – being thankful for all the little things that God has blessed me with and approaching every day with open hands, intentionally looking for opportunities to make a difference. It’s also so important to surround yourself with a community of authentic people who are willing to be honest, constructively critical, and walk with you through the craziness of life.
Q: What would you tell someone who is scared of taking the plunge? Someone who is uneasy about trying and failing?
A: Some of the best life lessons come out of failure. I once made a decision to buy hundreds of custom iPhone 4/4s cases with a cool picture of used baseballs on the cover to incorporate into my product line.
Guess what? It was a terrible decision. I didn’t consult with anyone prior to solicit feedback. Apple changed the iPhone size, no one buys 4/4s cases anymore, and I lost more than $1,000 on that decision. I now have a team of people to bounce ideas off of, and the bad ideas get thrown in the trash. It was a great lesson to have learned.
Be sure to catch the full-length article on Nathan and The Baseball Seams Co. right here on our blog this Thursday!