Thursday, August 30, 2007

You gotta love the spirit of entrepreneurship

Making money from beer pong.
In 2004, brothers Ben and Jesse Spiegel took a leave from the University of Denver, pooled more than $50,000 in savings and borrowed money, and started BJ's Beer Pong. Following a business plan he wrote after taking a business course, Jesse spent seven months traveling around China looking for a factory to produce their portable beer-proof, sun-resistant tables with built-in rubber mats.

They say they have sold about 8,000 tables for prices ranging from $110 to $250 and have registered domain names in Australia, England and Ireland with hopes of international expansion. "By reading a lot of business and success books, we knew we could work hard and will it to happen," Jesse says.

....The World Series and local leagues and tournaments have helped increase the market for beer-pong gear. Since Penn State University grads Tom Schmidt, 29, and Matt Brady, 30, started Bing Bong three years ago, they estimate they have sold more than 10,000 beer-pong tables. The 7- or 8-foot aluminum tables are collapsible, folding up into a briefcase. They say they expect $1 million in revenue this year. They sell to college students, recent grads and bars, which "are now accepting the game," Mr. Schmidt says, as something that increases sales.
And if you don't want to buy the entire table set, how about a T Shirt?
Jon "J.T." Terracciano, a 21-year-old Syracuse University law student, is a top-ranked ponger in a traveling tournament in New York state. "In this sport," he says, "you don't have to be tall or athletic. If you can shoot a ball into a cup you will get respect."

He and a buddy, Brandon Best, also 21, recently spent $3,000 of their college graduation money to launch Upong Outfitters, a line of what they call "classy" beer-pong polo shirts to sell online and at tournaments. Meantime, Mr. Best is studying for a December Law School Admission Test to prepare for what he calls his "backup career" as a lawyer.