What is the American Dream? Is it the ability to eat hamburgers and hot dogs on the Fourth of July with a beer in each hand? Is it the option of skiing, surfing, bull riding, and wine tasting all in the same great country? Or is it the beauty of being a melting pot of all races, cultures, ages, and waistlines?
Brian Wallos, founder of Bench Warmer Trading Cards, believes that the American Dream is being able to earn a living doing something you love. “I want to live the American Dream of having my own company, making money, and having fun while doing so,” explained Brian. A collector for most his life, Brian has a very unorthodox and interesting career path. “I sold $4 million worth of baseball cards right after high school and have been addicted to the process ever since.” Hitting it hot with the Beanie Baby craze of the 1990’s, Brian has been a collector’s item guru for many years, selling such popular products as Pogs, Pokémon cards, and much more. “My only real job was when I was 16 years old and worked at McDonald’s!” exclaimed Brian.
With his extensive experience in the collectibles industry, Brian dreams of creating his own hot craze. “Creating a collectible from scratch is next to impossible, yet I believe my Bench Warmer brand has what it takes to be the next big thing.” Deciding to merge the concepts of sports trading cards and beautiful women, Bench Warmer’s core product is baseball card-sized collectibles that feature working models and beauties in various outfits. “My goal is to reinvent the men’s lifestyle category with class and tastefulness. Bench Warmer cards are the symbol of an American business because it is the baseball card mixed with the pin-up model,” said Brian. Bench Warmer Trading Cards come in packs of 6 and the cards have different levels of collectability. With biographies and interesting facts on the cards about each girl, consumers can get to know these beauties and many have loyal fans and followers.
Brian’s key to creating value in his product is by deliberately producing less than what is demanded. Also, with over 600 girls having modeled for Bench Warmer, he even allows each model to edit her own pictures. “These cards do not exploit women because all photos are tasteful and these women come to us. We get about 10 to 15 submissions per week and we are such a close knit community that we resemble a sorority.” Whatever the formula, it seems to be working because some Bench Warmer cards now sell for over $1000 on eBay.
In addition to selling collectible items, Brian is also a huge advocate of philanthropic activities. For example, Bench Warmer is a huge contributor to Toys for Tots and Children of the Night, raising over $5,000 in donations.
Also in the works for Bench Warmer is a line of cards that includes bubblegum, hearkening back to the early days of sports trading cards. “This creates a nostalgic product that makes people smile,” remarked Brian. Brian is also in the process of crafting a reality TV show focused on the day to day operations of the company and other collectible items such as Bench Warmer lighters with pictures of the girls on them.