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Meet Sean Johnson of Brute Force Games in Point Loma

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sean Johnson.

Sean, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started the business as a side gig, buying collection of trading cards and selling the singles on eBay. I taught myself how to grade and catalog inventory as well as follow price trends of cards, which are very fluid like stocks. I learned the ins and outs of shipping and how to package orders, and ultimately failed countless times doing trial and error. Despite those failures, I worked through processes and eventually found my rhythm.

After a few years, I found myself stretched very thin, working a 9-5 job and moonlighting my side business which began to feel like a full-time job. Eventually I had to choose between the two, and I chose to quit my 9-5.

Fast forward, 5 years and we’re the largest provider of Magic the Gathering trading cards south of Los Angeles, and have had a successful brick-and-mortar store in San Diego for 3 years. While we started as an e-commerce, and that remains are largest source of income, we’ve been proud to serve the community for the last few years.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My road has been very bumpy. Haha. Most of what I learned was self-taught, through trial and error as well as observation. From setting up the organization and cataloging for thousands of cards (now millions), to bookkeeping, hiring staff, and setting up shipping logistics. Whatever I failed at, or failed to know at the time, was quickly learned and corrected.

Another challenge I’ve always faced was being self-funded. I started this with a collection of cards I paid $50 for, and it has snowballed since then. Some collections that were “too big” at the time, I would go after anyways often leading to the depletion of my savings account, and putting it all on the line.

Please tell us about Brute Force Games.
We specialize in a game called Magic: the Gathering and sponsor a team of 35 competitors in the San Diego area.

I’m most proud of the community that I’ve been a part of for the last 10 years, there are so many great friends I’ve met while not only growing the business but playing the game as well.

What sets us apart is our customer service and our prices. I worked at a customer service job for 8 years prior, so treating people like family, whether they shop with us locally, or online, has always been something I stress with staff.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I’m happy with the way everything turned out, so I don’t think I would change a thing.

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