McMaster student goes above and beyond with sports memorabilia business
Jovan Popovic has shown that he’s serious about his business in an industry that has found itself growing quickly amid the pandemic.
More often than not, university students solely focus on their studies for the four years that they spend in their undergraduate programs. For many, the only vision that they have in mind is schoolwork and graduation and they avoid pursuing their dream career on the side for this reason. However, this isn’t always the case. There are students around who have their own business success stories and have translated their entrepreneurship into serious and impressive endeavours.
A third-year business student, Jovan Popovic, has developed his passion for sports memorabilia into a serious business. Also known as the Sports Editor of the Silhouette, Popovic has been running his paid private signings business, Pop Sports Memorabilia, for 3 years. His business first began as a card flipping venture, but later changed focus, implementing a strategy to target a niche with sports fans by offering private autograph signings.
The business is based on Popovic finding various popular players and arranging private autograph signings with them. The business student would then collect items from all interested clients, and meet with the player on a predetermined date to get them signed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Popovic found this unique opportunity to develop his business, and by taking advantage, his business gained much momentum.
In an interview, Popovic explained how autographs became a rarity during the pandemic as face to face meetings were limited and players avoided in-person physical contact, whether it be by choice or as a result of league protocol.
Since autographs became much less common, private signings took over. As business continued to grow, Popovic continued looking for more players to sign, having included as many as 12 players in a single wave of signings before.
When explaining his business model, Popovic described himself as the one who “connects” the two parties — players and fans.
“The way the business works, I would conduct research and find players that I believe are in high demand. I would reach out to them using my connections, or by contacting their agents. As soon as I get in touch with them, I’d negotiate a deal, and once it's set I would bring it to my customer base and start collecting items for the player,” explained Popovic.
Although Popovic is currently in contact with dozens of different baseball players, getting in contact with all of them was not easy. He explained that when he first broke into the business, he messaged 150 different players over Instagram, only to receive a reply from one.
Through his connections and his negotiations with sports agencies such as Apex Baseball and True Gravity, Popovic has managed to gather an impressive pool of talent from the baseball world. Among the players with whom he has done business are Daniel Nava (World Series champion, 2013), Reese McGuire (Blue Jays catcher), Kris Bubic (Royals starting pitcher) and Ross Stripling (Blue Jays starting pitcher and former All-Star).
Although players may be slowly returning to normal signing more often now than through a majority of the pandemic, Popovic has found himself able to maintain a high business volume. After having grown the business from scratch, Pop Sports Memorabilia has made a name for itself in the industry over the course of the year. To learn more about the business, or to get in touch with Popovic, you can message him through the business Instagram or visit his website.