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Meet William Peebles of Huntington Base Ball Co.

Today we’d like to introduce you to William Peebles.

William, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been a baseball fan since I was a kid. That was my favorite sport growing up, on the field and off. I’d play as much as I could and then I’d read even more. I’ve always had a fascination with history and how things were made. While studying Industrial Design at MassArt I heard about vintage baseball leagues popping up all around the country and how some would make their own equipment. It was all very fascinating and sounded like something I could do. Turns out it wasn’t so easy. I ended up trying to make a baseball while I was still in college and it was pretty bad. To the point that it always felt like a personal failure. I’d often look back on it and get mad at myself for not doing a better job. I kind of made it a personal mission to get it right someday. It just took ten years before I finally dove back in in 2009. My next attempts were more educated and the results were much better, but still not particularly good. Eventually I got the geometry sorted out and it all started to come together to form something I could be happy with. Fortunately, during a time when this was all very much make or break, and simply through word of mouth among friends – the baseballs I was giving away as gifts started to turn into orders. It all started to grow pretty quickly, and organically. Eventually expanding beyond the baseballs and into other areas that I thought would be fun for other fans to connect with on a more emotional level.

Has it been a smooth road?
It’s been a slow, steady climb, but definitely not smooth. I think every business has their bumps in the road as they figure things out. I’m definitely still learning every day. There are so many areas to trip up – from design, to execution, to fulfillment, and planning – all while trying remain focused on what makes the original idea so special. I make a premium product with a cool story – customizable, historically inspired baseball goods made in the USA. When you buy a baseball from me, I’m the guy who actually makes your baseball. It’s rare to know the person who makes just about anything that you buy, from any marketplace. There are struggles that go along with that. I’ve got good processes in place to handle the commonly ordered products, and some processes that could definitely be improved in some areas that I’d like to expand. For me, right now, it’s mostly about time, and properly managing and adapting it as the business grows. The second common hurdle for me is introducing the story and the idea to new people on a consistent basis. Everyone knows a baseball fan, so tell your friends!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Huntington Base Ball Co. story. Tell us more about the business.
Huntington Base Ball Co. was formed around the idea that baseball goods could be amazing products in their own right. They didn’t need to be ubiquitous, find-them-anywhere type of products. They don’t need to shout “I’m a fan of THIS team” when it’s perfectly acceptable to say “I love baseball, and I love well made things”. Our focus is on hand made quality, inside and out, from top to bottom. What I’m most proud of is that all of these details come through to even casual observers. Some may notice the letterpress box and the overall presentation, while others will run their fingers over a properly laid-down seam and feel inspired to tell us their baseball stories. Baseball speaks to people on many different levels and I’m delighted that we get to be a part of that experience and continue the conversation.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I jumped in with both feet as the maker movement really started to heat up after the recession. It’s been incredible watching the marketplace grow year after year. No one really knew what was around the corner, we just knew we felt a connection to what we were making. Those connections inspired so many people to make better things, and purchase better things, and have better experiences – in general, and across the board. I’m really excited to see that grow even bigger.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Huntington Base Ball Co.
White Point Imaging

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