[quote style=”boxed”]I constantly look for new ways to get my product seen. I am not afraid to cold call any company to try to get my product placed to be seen. Whether that means contacting Oprah magazine or someone else, you never know who is going to say yes.[/quote]
Emily M. Wolfson is the owner and artist of the Unforgettaball! baseball line. Unforgettaballs! represents the finest collection of artwork printed on baseballs in the world. These beautiful, decorative baseball designs began as paintings by Wolfson. There are many different designs available on the company’s website, and they range from 35 different baseball stadiums to holiday and special occasion themes. In 20 years, Wolfson has sold more than 850,000 baseballs, which have been on television, in high-end retail stores, and owned by astronauts and presidents.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I am working on painting Comerica Park. With so many new parks being built all the time, I am constantly playing catch up!
Where did the idea for Unforgettaball! Baseball come from?
Almost 20 years ago now (wow, can’t believe it’s been 20 years!) allbaseballs were white. I was an artist and architect who loved miniatures. I saw a picture that had a solid blue-colored baseball and thought, “What a great place to paint!’ I went down to the toy store, bought a baseball, and started painting an intricate design on it. I loved creating a little world on the ball. Sometimes the best art is found in the most unlikely places.
What does your typical day look like?
I spend days either painting new baseballs or talking to companies about sales and business. I also spend a lot of time on the internet seeing what’s new in terms of sales and marketing.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I spend a lot of time researching my designs, especially the ballparks. My customers are very concerned with accuracy and I am too. I don’t stick a tree anywhere unless there is one actually growing there in real life!
I begin by painting a baseball in the round; this takes about 60 hours. Then I repaint the artwork out flat to make the print that goes on the ball.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I love the trend of businesses becoming much more personal and human. This works so well for entrepreneurs.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I ever had was stapling and collating papers for a professional duplicating company. I am still not sure what I learned from it–maybe humility.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I changed jobs many times and took a while to figure out that I am an entrepreneur at heart, but I needed to take the journey to get here.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I constantly look for new ways to get my product seen. I am not afraid to cold call any company to try to get my product placed to be seen. Whether that means contacting Oprah magazine or someone else, you never know who is going to say yes.
What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I do not have a business background or a business plan (any iterations of plans that were in my head just got revised as I went along). Because of my lack of business knowledge, I was willing to try anything and read books on new marketing approaches (as well as old). I am always learning and on the hunt for a better way to do things.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
If you can get a sales rep to go in and make the sale for you, do it. They will do it better and more successfully than you will. This is how I get on QVC and into high-end retail stores to sell my product. Don’t try to do this yourself. Save yourself for making PR calls!
Tell us a secret.
I am really a football fan at heart, but they’re too big to paint!
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
- Constant Contact. It’s a great way to be in touch with your customers and archive your customer email list.
- Ebay. Get a store up with minimum effort.
- Google Analytics. I love to go in and see where my online sales are coming from.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I really enjoyed Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin. He talks a lot about new media marketing and figuring out what works best for your product.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Reading “tweets from my dog.” That is a very clever idea, and that dog cracks me up.
Who is your hero?
Bruce Springsteen. He’s living the American dream and is soulful. I love him.
Why is it so hard for artists to succeed as entrepreneurs?
I think succeeding as an artist is as much about being creative in business as it is in art. You have to be willing to spend 1/4 of your time on art and 3/4 of your time on your business.
Unforgettaball! on Twitter: !/unforgettaballs
Unforgettaball! on Facebook: !/Unforgettaballs
Unforgettaball!’s website: www.unforgettaballs.com
Email: [email protected]
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.