Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.
In 1999 Seth Hiatt walked into Deseret Industries and purchased a 1978 Mattell hand-held football game for the princely sum of $2. After displaying it for a few weeks at his KPMG office where he worked as a certified public accountant, Seth decided to auction it on Ebay. Did it sell? Oh yes, it sold — for a whopping $78 plus shipping! Wow!
Seth didn't realize selling on Ebay was so easy or profitable, and he wondered if he could do it again. He found more marketable items and sold them quickly, with a big markup. While finishing his MBA at Utah State, Seth critically analyzed this new venture as part of his master's thesis. He began to realize this hobby had potential to become a career!
After focusing his strategy and a couple of years of aggressive expansion, he became a licensed distributor with several DVD and CD manufacturers, including one supplier of "Japanamation." These DVDs, which feature "Manga" or "comics" in Japan, are the most popular media in that country. Seth sells the DVDs that are either dubbed or sub-titled in English. He also distributes for Time-Life, a manufacturer that sells CDs and DVDs that feature a variety of titles and subjects.
Seth really enjoys marketing classic Disney products on Ebay. I saw a set of the original Mickey Mouse cartoons from the 30s and 40s. These were purchased for less than $30, but due to Disney's moratorium-based marketing strategy, they are now worth upwards of $100 each. These and other products now account for the more than 25,000 items that Hiatt Enterprises has shipped this year alone.
Well, that $2-football game from Deseret Industries has turned into a remarkable, profitable and fun business. The company now markets on its own Web site, as well as several other channels in addition to Ebay. Currently, a new 8,000-square-foot facility is being built in Syracuse to accommodate the more than 100 percent growth the company is experiencing each year.
For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.