Wednesday, August 18, 2010

UNCS - an epic journey!

Where to begin…… I often say the hardest question I get asked is “what do you do for a living”. When I tell people I sell closeouts, they ask if I have any shirts in their size. After explaining the difference between closeouts and clothing, they have an “A HA” moment and immediately ask if I can get them good deal on a flat screen TV.

I think people often regret asking me to tell them about UNCS because I can go on for hours. So let me attempt to be brief (which is a task with in itself for those of you who know me). UNCS started 8 years ago after 1 too many cocktails on a boat ride with some friends. But in reality, in alternate forms, UNCS started when I was 8 years old. My dad would go to Costco every week and get me a case of lollipops. I started selling them at school, and after a month or so, I would sell the case. This took too long and required me to schlep around a back pack full of quarters! A recipe for a bad back at a young age! So when I got the 2nd case, I started to put 25 suckers in a bag and sell them for a discounted price. I sold the case in 4 days! Fast forward 4 years…. After hanging out in the basement with my best friend Matt Levine and his sister Sara, now our VP of Sales here at UNCS and the VP of Tattoos (respectively), listening to New Kids on the Block on Matt’s 8 Track player (ok, it was the late 80s, but for dramatic purposes, 8 Track sounds much better than CD & this story with in itself has been greatly embellished for dramatic purposes only) and trading NKOTB stickers and baseball cards, I had an idea! I snuck some hard earned cash from my Bar mitzvah fund and bought myself a case of New Kids Trading cards. By the end of the first week, I had sold more New Kids on the Block trading cards than Nena had red balloons in the sky! (80’s song reference). From NKOTB Cards in was on to phone cards in college….. and a few other chachkees along the way!

I still pinch myself on a daily basis when I walk through the doors at 2404 East Sunrise. I get the biggest kick when people make waves about the scanner being broken, the thermal printer being backed up, 1 of the 4 air conditioners not blowing very cold, or my favorite….the dishwasher is being too noisy. Really? I then tell stories of days gone by, when Sara and I were the only 2 here in the office. We took turns taking naps on the old couch in the warehouse that was a hand me down from my sister, shared a computer that my mom gave us, we wore jackets in the winter because we had no heat, and all but died in the summer because the air conditioning barely worked! But I would not have changed anything! I live for those stories and still have a picture on my desk of our first office. Which has recently been bulldozed and condemned!

I really could go on for hours about adventures and misadventures that happen daily on this crazy journey of building a company. I will attempt not to put you to sleep. Stay tuned next week as I come up with something equally as pointless as I discuss B.E.D. - business every day. Because regardless of what you sell, or if you sell anything for that matter, building a company is a challenge. Most factors, regardless of the business, are universal. Same issues, same excitements, same concerns. So perhaps in one of these useless rambles you can get something from it. As my mom always says ,"Find the good in every bad situation”. Not that I am comparing reading a passage from the Uncle Brett Factor as a bad situation, but I hope you can get something good from it, or add something good, so I can get something out of it!

Until next time…..same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel!



  1. VP of Tattoos - I love it. When are my new business cards coming in?

  2. First of all, why didn't you give me lollipops and NKOTB cards? I thought we were friends. Secondly, I need a new TV.

  3. I used to buy tons of bubble gum and sell it off by the piece but I had the same problem with pockets full of quarters!

    Welcome to the world of blogging.

  4. Good post! And what is it with people and dishwasher volume?

  5. Brett it is always good the hear success stories in this crazy business world. John and I have the same style beginnings as your company did as well. With the help of UNCS we hope to keep growing with you guys and continue to be and grow into one of your most valuable suppliers. What about BOB, can that story go on here?