CEA Internet Related Winner: For teen, success is in the cards


Lots of kids, and adults, enjoy collecting and trading sports cards. Matthew Ham Jr. (called Little Matt) had another idea. He turned his passion for sports cards into a profitable online business, Ham House Sports.

Thirteen-year-old Little Matt got the idea after visiting a sports card shop on a family vacation. He enlisted his father, Matthew Ham Sr. (Big Matt), to be his partner and set out to make his business idea a reality.

Being the oldest of five children, a three-sport athlete and an A student, Little Matt had little time and no money to invest in the business. To solve the time issue, Little Matt decided to put the business online – he could buy and sell sports cards on the way to practice and games. To get seed money, he took on odd jobs.

When Little Matt had earned $400, he, with his dad, set up Ham House Sports and began buying, trading, and selling sports cards on eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Instagram.

Initially, the going was rough.

“We had no clue what we were doing,” Little Matt said.

Business picked up when the Hams found a few good deals on cards. Then they came across two perfect Michael Jordan rookie cards, which the Hams sold for a hefty profit. Then they bought more cards.

“That [the Michael Jordan cards] put gas in our tank, and the business took off,” Little Matt said.

“I do tons of research,” Little Matt said. “I see a card and I know what it’s worth. Hard work creates good luck – that’s what my grandpa always says.”

Little Matt also takes advantage of the connections he makes in the sports card world, finding cards that avid collectors are willing to shell out big bucks to get.

“I immediately thought of one of my buddies, one of the biggest collectors in the world, when I spotted a card he wanted,” Little Matt said. “I bought the card and sold it to him for three times what we paid for it. It was a win-win.” 

Little Matt has far surpassed his initial goal of making $10,000 in sports card collectibles. In 2023 Ham House Sports bought and sold $200,000 in sports cards, and it earned $70,000 in profit, some of which is reinvested in inventory, according to Big Matt.

In 2023, Little Matt also started pursuing a new revenue stream: making videos about the industry. He currently has 2,000 followers on Instagram and is working to garner 4,000 followers – the minimum for earning commissions from the platform.

So far, Little Matt is enjoying his foray into business ownership, and he hopes he is setting an example for other young adults.

“My main focus is to inspire the younger generation to get into entrepreneurship and to create quality content for sports card lovers like me,” he said. “I started with nothing and grew a business. Anyone can do it if they put their mind to it.”

Meet the 2024 CEA Winners

 





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