SD VOYAGER Magazine Interview

SD VOYAGER Magazine Interview

Meet Sean Fogel of Display Geek in Miramar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sean.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.

It began with me trying to raise money on a crowdfunding site which was a very, very small amount of success. The good news was that it made me much more serious about the business after that. I quickly made a prototype and started going to local manufacturers to get some quotes. Once I found the right company, it was time to start taking Pre-Orders. I built a site from scratch and connected it to PayPal. I sold 8 units. Not a good start. Once inventory landed on my steps a few months after launch, I started seeing results on Amazon. I sold 50 units my first quarter. That may not seem like much, but that is MOTIVATION. I started to run ads in different places, started communicating in the Facebook groups more, and ultimately became known within the Funko community pretty rapidly. I sold 230 units that quarter. Since then I have more than quadrupled my sales and added MANY new products that have been very successful.

I started out in a small 5×5 Storage unit in Pacific Beach and I did most of the work out of my apartment. A few Months later, I needed more space so I upgraded to a 5×10. Then a 10×15 where I worked out of the unit on a daily basis. Then a 15×30. I quickly realized I needed to remove my personal stuff somewhere else so I got a small personal unit as well. Since then productivity has been at an all time high and I am barely keeping up. It is time to hire a work horse! I am very excited about the speed and growth since I started. Everyone thinks they come up with something and it will be a million dollar idea the second it gets out there, that is rarely the case. But considering I started this on a credit card with a SMALL amount of survivable debt, the future is bright for Display Geek.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

It is never a smooth road when starting a business. The biggest struggle we have is storage space. The products we sell are quite large so we are always upgrading to larger facilities. Shipping will always be a hurdle for us and with more sales comes discounts. We are growing, so most of these issues are common for a small business.

Please tell us about Display Geek.

We are known for selling displays to make collections stand out and maximize wall space for a low cost. Display Geek, Inc. is a company created by a nerd to save humanity from clutter, because “stop collecting” is NOT an option. It was created to fill a void in the hearts of all toy collectors.

My collection of action figures, vinyl toys & memorabilia from the 80’s & 90’s had created a large problem: “I am running out of room for all of this stuff!” In 2014, I decided that I would find a way to efficiently move things from bookshelves, entertainment centers, tables, cabinets & floors, up in the air and out of the way while still showing them off. The largest addiction was with vinyl collectibles and an obsession with a little blue guy with an arm cannon. I built myself a prototype and decided the rest of the world needed to see this simple creation.

I have been talking about starting my own thing for years! I got tired of working for other people and decided to run my own business. My advice is JUST DO IT! You may say, “but I am not knowledgeable when it comes to business, taxes, etc.” That is just you psyching yourself out and worrying. If you are motivated to run the business, you will pick up what you need when you need it, TRUST ME. My background is Graphic Design, Coding and Marketing, but I quickly learned that I can figure out the rest as I progress.

Our products are made to fit a very specific niche. We are collectors ourselves so we know exactly what people are missing and how to create it. We have flawless customer service results and our customers are extremely loyal to us, just check the reviews! We also show up at as many events as we can and interact with people as much as possible. I have acquired so many friends within this niche and partnered up with local retailers for events. You may see us at a San Diego Comic Con Panel in 2018 or 2019 to discuss this very subject.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?

Wow, that is a big question… Christmas mornings were always a HUGE memory from my childhood. It was the time of year where I knew I was going to get some of the action figures I had asked for. One of my other favorite memories from my youth was pretending I was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle on my front lawn. A friend of mine would come over and we would pick a character we would love to be and we would fake fight outside. The only reason that story is not embarrassing is because not only am I proficient in ninjutsu, but I can use the force, as well as summon giant zords to fight on my behalf.

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