All college athletes are faced with the rigors of maintaining their grades while also fulfilling their commitment to their team and performing to the best of their abilities. Josh Shapiro, who played for Farmingdale State College in 2016, had a unique circumstance that made his work-life balance even more difficult. As the founder of Baseball Lifestyle 101, he was tasked with building a company as a freshman in college. This company had enjoyed a tremendous growth during the same time that he was trying to get the Rams to win a Skyline Conference title. He wound up performing well on the field, batting .272 with a .337 OBP over 92 at bats, but ultimately decided that while his future involved baseball, it wouldn’t involve playing the game.
Below is an exclusive interview with the CEO of Baseball Lifestyle 101. You can visit their web page here.
Describe your experience playing for Farmingdale State and do you miss playing?
My experience playing at Farmingdale State College was something I wouldn’t trade in for the world. To be able to continue playing the game I love at a high level was all I wanted to do since I was 8 years old. I got the great opportunity of being an every day player. I got to learn a lot from my teammates about the culture of Farmingdale baseball and what it’s all about. From waking up at 4:30 am to run sprints or those 3 hour plus practices.
After my freshman year my company of Baseball Lifestyle 101 started to really bring in some serious money and also take up a ton of my time. It was becoming very hard to balance 5 classes, baseball and running a company. So after my freshman year I decided to pursue the business and end my college career at Farmingdale State. This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my life. Playing baseball has always been my life as well as my families. My dad was always at every game and attended every lesson. So leaving the game wouldn’t be easy is what I thought, but since then its been the best decision I ever made. My company has seen crazy growth and I’ve had experiences like non other. I have no regrets about walking away from the game that I love because I’m still able to be involved in an even closer way.
When did you start selling apparel? How have sales grown since you started?
I started selling my merchandise only in August of 2016 when I launched my e commerce site. I wanted to make sure I established a brand first and created a connection with my followers before I asked them to buy anything. Since August the sales and community has exploded. Each and every month I think that there’s no way I can top last month and we always do. It really took off last November during the holidays season and it blew away my expectations.
Is it a one-man operation? Have you considered selling any portion of the company to raise capital?
I couldn’t do what I’ve done without the people around me and who have supported me. I currently am the only one with the account access to Baseball Lifestyle 101 but I have a great team around me. There are currently 6 people who work on the brand with me in different ways. Melissa who is my marketing manager and also Softball Lifestyle 101 account manager helps me with my day to day. There’s Frank who is my fulfillment manger, he sends orders out each day as well as answers any customer emails. Josh helps me with account management and day to day as he runs another account Dinger Lifestyle 101 and attends events with me to gather content. Kyle and Connor are my video guys who make custom content videos for me as well edit my vlogs etc. Tristan runs my podcast for me and also goes to the tournaments where we set up to sell. Each one of these people really help take stress off me day to day and its amazing to work with some of my best friends.