Sales figures from the release of LaVar Ball’s Big Baller Brand’s first shoe were released-ish from two sources. First, Ball himself told FS1 in a P.T. Barnum-esque interview which would’ve gotten Adam Aron wet that he had at least 495 orders (though he didn’t specifiy which were for the $495 shoe, $995 shoe or sandal) through Sunday. But the report most are running with is this shoe website‘s sleuthing of posted order numbers to determine first day sales. Big Baller Ball, it seems, uses a simple Shopify setup to run his store. Here’s what the site was able to find:
While the time stamp of the email is not known, it was posted at 3:35PM PDT, and the invoice number was #4418. This means that between my purchase approximately two hours earlier, a total of only 34 transactions had taken place at BigBallerBrand.com. Those orders could be for shoes or the various other apparel and accessories on the site.
I had tracked the inventory levels of the footwear items on the BigBallerBrand.com site throughout the day, and found that while quite a few pairs were deducted from inventory since the shoes went on sale, it was nowhere near 5,000 pairs.
This afternoon at 1:10PM PDT, our features writer Nick DePaula placed an order on BigBallerBrand.com for a pair of sweatshorts that he had been excitedly eyeing. The invoice number for his order was #4712. This means that in the first 24 hours after the shoes went online, there was a total of 328 total transactions for all items on the site, including the wide variety of t-shirts, hats, and other accessories.
They concluded, based on posted inventory of the shoes, that Ball sold 263 shoes totalling around $150k in sales in the first 24 hours.
Then came the idiocy. This from the popular Ball Don’t Lie blog, WHICH SHOULD KNOW BETTER:
All told, this means the Ball family cleared over $156,000 on its first day of business, not bad in the slightest for a company only now dipping its toe into the apparel game.
And from one of the many reality-deattached hipsters at SB Nation, which said Ball made $150k:
On the other hand, these shoes are almost certainly being produced locally, meaning the manufacturing rate is higher and the revenue rate lower. Big Baller Brand definitely didn’t crack six figures in revenue on Sunday, it’s safe to say. Selling $150,000 is light years behind the companies LaVar Ball thinks Big Baller Brand can compete with, even if they did OK by their standards.
I tweeted snark about that SB Nation story last night and I was stupefied by the replies:
He doesn’t work for anyone and there is no middle man. Making close to 160k in one day is not a bad thing
bro you’re missing the point. His company netted 150k, that is HUGE for a company just starting. His margins are prob amazing
Can’t be that different. The margin on $500 sneakers is like 10K percent.
OK, some perspective: We can all agree that $150k is far from the “millions” that was floating around last week. It’s also revenue, not profit. Profit – and I can’t believe that I have to explain this – is revenue minus COST TO PRODUCE THE DAMN THINGS. Ball hasn’t done that yet. The reason the shoes cost $495 is not, despite what Ball claims, because of their allure or brand appeal– it’s because producing sneakers on the scale of a local charity walk swag is not cheap. Companies like Nike, Under Armour and others produce millions of shoes and have spent years building out their production and distribution systems, at scale, to hammer down costs. Ball will certainly sell more than 263 shoes – indeed he may be up over 400 – but when he walks into some random ass sneaker factory with an order of even 5,000 shoes, his costs will likely be over $200 per shoe, hence the $495 price tag. My guess is that on his initial $150k in sales, Ball will pocket less than $70k, and quite honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if he loses money after the costs of production, shipping, taxes (complicated! and there are already reports they were miscalculated in the store checkout), lawyers, promotion, customer service, and probably the inevitable lawsuit, are factored in.
None of this is to mention the fact that 263 is not a lot of units, especially with all the FREE national publicity. I sold more Snow Bowl sweatshirts in one afternoon with just a little link on this blog site. Imagine getting your shit blasted all over ESPN and Twitter for a day and coming away with only 263 sales. Unless you’re selling Teslas, that’s pathetic. And Ball’s 4k or so total store orders, including t-shirts and other products, is downright laughable given all the promotion he’s received.
Of course, any of us would give our left nut for $70k in profit in one day, but this is a far, far cry from Ball’s boasting. It will also likely be his largest sales day for a long time. He may never get that much publicity again for a product. I can guarantee you his Day 2 sales were a fraction of Day 1 sales.
Big Baller Brand might become a real thing solely because it’s tied to a potential NBA star, but there is nothing in Ball’s first day sales that would indicate there is, currently, high demand for his products, despite what idiots will write about it.