“I like to keep creating always” Vic Powers from Loot52.com said, as he sat next to me at the table. It was Tuesday in Los Angeles and I was able to steal him for 20 minutes via Skype. Los Angeles is his city as he vibes well in L.A.’s creative and development soul, his playground.
Vic spent his years as a system information manager, UX designer, interface design and has done work for Cisco, Coca Cola, MLB, NFL, HBO, BMW, Sony, Upperdeck and other freelance companies. His love is design and function ans always looking for a new challenge. Our conversations have been edited and condensed.
You have reoriented yourself from a technical to a web and product designer in recent years it seems.
My happiness used to be building computers, setting up networks, now it’s art and design, truthfully it’s always been art. There’s art in everything I suppose but graphic design and traditional art has always been the center of heart.
Were you always creative as a kid?
Let’s just say I always smelled like pencil shavings as a boy.
Sportcards is a bit different from what you are used to, were you always into that?
Actually, I used to design card for major company here in Southern California, I learned so much and met so many people in the industry so it not that much different now, kind of a full circle thing. I moved on from that because of it’s repetitive nature, but the design and print aspect of the business was fascinating.
After Matt and I dug into old Topps card we had laying around, it brought back fond memories of growing up, we knew there and then we would create a website showing some of the best designed cards in the market.
The only sportcards I remember collecting were those Topps with the wooden frame.
Ah yes, 1987 Topps. God, seems like a lifetime ago opening those packs. Not much value in most of those cards unless they grade a 10, but decades later they have that nostalgia “cool” factor baked in.
What makes LOOT52 different from all the other sportcard websites?
We didn’t go out and try to be different, we just wanted to create a website that had all the cool cards we remembered growing up in addition to cards nobody has ever seen with custom and modded works, we then added wax boxes and other collectibles.
So are these your own personal cards on LOOT52?
Maybe like 10 cards? Turns out the card collecting community wanted to send their cards to our platform so most of the cards on the website are user submitted, we only accept cards that have some cool factor or interesting back story.
Does price of the card play a factor?
No, with all my heart. We had a user submit sport card napkin art and had them custom art slabbed and they all sold out in less than 3 days. I think they were priced at $10 each.
Seems to me that your not really looking for profit, and you’re basically having fun similar to breaking open packs as a kid, but this time it’s showing cards on a website.
It’s similar with the fact that when I was opened packs back then, I didn’t care about making money, I just wanted to collect. I remember yelling “that’s cool”..I get the same high seeing of some the these cards pass though LOOT52.
We also donate product to kids in need, that gives me more satisfaction that seeing a finished card product. Alright here’s the deal, I made my money years ago, this whole Loot52 is a fun project for me. The money that the website makes (selling individual cards) goes back to the original seller, even then we don’t take a percentage. So essentially we make no money except a small margin of Hobby Boxes and wax. We make enough to pay for our hosting, lol!
What has been the most challenging aspect of being part of your job?
Sitting. I did just buy a full frame camera so I’ll be taking mini vacations with the wife and taking in some fresh air soon enough. I get smell the fireplace from the Big Bear cabin already.
What’e the future of Loot52.com?
Matt and I discussed this the other day. Apart from showcasing and selling product, we want LOOT52 to become a museum of art cards. Matt wants to give away the website template so other can sell cards online but I told him that that carries alot of responsibilities of technical support, setting up, troubleshooting, etc. Not really what I’m in it for.
What are your best selling cards?
It’s always about Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant so we have dedicated sections for them on our website. We can’t keep the customs in stock and everyone tends to just ignore the common cards. Lewis Hamilton tends to be a big seller as well. Me personally, I’m into vintage Marvel cards.
I love cards with relics, patches on them, are you a fan of those too?
Oh totally, I once saw an EAZY-E result card come through the site, it was from the album (It’s on (Dr.Dre) 187um Killa) and it had a Olde English 700 patch, it was the craziest card I have ever seen. I didn’t buy it myself because I don’t buy cards that come in via submission, just doesn’t seem fair, but I do regret not making a play for it, never seen it since and the artist only made one offs.
Any advice for people wanting to sell sportcards online?
Don’t start, lol, kidding. Don’t do it primarily for financial gain, do it for the love of cardboard, do it for ther love of art and creativity, do it if it puts a smile on your face. Fee’s can be a killer, so pick a platfrom where you have the most control, ideally you want your own platform. You can turn the love of sportcard collecting to a chore so be careful.
Anything you want me to ask?
Ask me if I want Chipotle, I’m starving. Come down around my area, I’ll treat ya, I’ll even get you that guac gold.
That would be amazing! Last Question, What other websites do you admire that take creativity to the next level.
That’s easy, Trap Toys. They make these bootleg toys that are insanely creative. I’d like to learn how to mold and create toys myself, I love challenging myself, I have an endless list of projects I want to start, really drives me crazy sometimes, lol.
Vic, it was a pleasure talking to you.
Thank you for calling, think I’ll take the rest of the day off and get some of that Chipotle we were talking about earlier, adios!