Boardroom caught up with Josh Luber of Fanatics Collectibles and zerocool to discuss the latest Jackass release, the MINT Collective, and the future of zerocool.
Zerocool was the talk at the MINT Collective in Las Vegas. The company recently released its VeeFriends trading card set that had a closing price of $2,100 but was reselling on secondary markets for as high as $15,000 per box. Since then, zerocool has released trading cards based on the Jackass film franchise and had an exclusive card released with a pair of Nike Dunks.
Boardroom caught up with Josh Luber, co-founder and chief vision officer of Fanatics Collectibles, to discuss the MINT Collective, the zerocool Jackass trading cards, and future releases.
Brett Pickert: What were your main takeaways from the MINT Collective?
Josh Luber: There was a lot of anticipation around where things are headed, and it feels like most people are welcoming change and really want to see the hobby grow. Specific to what we’re building, it was clear that there’s a huge amount of excitement around culture and entertainment cards, which we of course wholly believe is a viable category and why we created zerocool. I came away from MINT feeling like we can do incredible things to grow the market, and that the hobby is excited about that.
BP: What were your favorite moments from the weekend?
JL: Without a doubt it was being on the opening keynote with Peyton Manning. Not only is he an absolute legend and incredible guy, but the fact that I own the largest collection of his cards in the world made it particularly fun. That’s why I surprised him with 2,000 cards of myself as a joke for potentially outbidding him on his own cards last year. I also gave him some of his own cards back so he could give them to his son. It was a cool opportunity for us both.
BP:How many boxes of the Jackass x zerocool cards will be available?
JL: We produced 10,000 boxes in total: 9,500 will be sold via Blind Dutch Auction and the remaining 500 we held back for promotional purposes and any damages.
BP: Why was Jackass the first movie-related release?
JL: We’ve built a relationship with Paramount and the Jackass crew for over the past year, and they have been true partners throughout the entire process. [Johnny] Knoxville, [Jeff]Tremaine, and Sean Cliver were incredibly involved and invested in the project, which is what we look for in all of our partners. Plus, it made a ton of sense given the release of Jackass Forever and the fact that the Jackass franchise has made a huge mark on mainstream culture over the past two decades.
BP: Could you elaborate on how getting trading card rights to a movie or VeeFriends is different from, say, a sports league such as the NBA or NFL?
JL: When you’re working with a team, you get a group license for the Player’s Association and the league. It’s much easier to do those deals as it encompasses all of the players, and you don’t have to do individual deals with each person. So, for VeeFriends and Jackass (and any other partners zerocool will work with), we work directly with them and structure a specific deal for that IP. Every person involved in the set needs an agreement, as opposed to the larger PA in the leagues, so it’s a much lengthier approval process than most people would think.
BP: Were you able to attend any of the other sessions at MINT Collective? If so, which did you enjoy the most?
JL: I wasn’t able to attend other sessions at MINT because I was really focused on meeting with a bunch of hobby shop owners that we generally don’t get to interact with as much. It was extremely important to us to talk to as many people in the hobby as possible to get their feedback, hear about what they’re doing, and how we can support them in the future. I also spent a decent amount of time on the floor as it was important for me to walk around and see the setups and interact with a lot of people at the show from shops to breakers and consumers.
BP: How does MINT Collective differ from other card shows you’ve attended?
JL: I think they did a really good job of elevating the traditional card show that we’re all used to, from the programming to the floor set up. It was obvious that they tried to make this more experiential and high-touch than from the names they had on board for panels to the events they held throughout the weekend. The show was more formal and less buying [and] selling than what most people were used to. It was a nice change of pace.
BP: Do you think you’ll do a zerocool release of influencers in the trading card hobby?
JL: We don’t have plans for that right now, but you never know what the future holds. Our priority focus at zerocool is to work with the biggest names in pop culture, art, and entertainment.
BP: You recently had a collaboration with Edison Chen of Clot where a zerocool card was inserted into a box of Nike Dunks. Could we see more releases like that in the future?
JL: Definitely. To have released a card in collaboration with Clot for Nike a week after we launched the business was incredible for us. As we look to expand the market and start to build a place for cards in mainstream culture, we need to do it in creative and smart ways — and that release was a perfect example of how to do that.