We had the good fortune of connecting with Jamie Newbold and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jamie, how do you think about risk?
I began my career search at a young age. I felt destiny sent me into paleontology, but in San Diego there was little educational options at the collegiate level for that career. I took all the considerate classes a junior college had to offer in the sciences. I lost focus and desire when survival became an issue. I quit college and went into construction, for the money. I risked my future on the skills I sought working with wood. I took classes and taught myself fine woodworking. Then, I grew restless again and went the opposite direction to become a police officer. The inherent risks speak for themselves. That career is nothing but risks, but risks born with greater confidence as I acclimated to those new skill sets. That career lasted twenty years, until I was injured on the job, again, from taking risks. The injuries cancelled my future as a cop. My options for a replacement source of income were narrow. I took the greatest risk and became a comic book dealer. I was a hobbyist for two decades before losing interest. The hobby had changed greatly over the years I was out. I risked ignorance, money and pain to become a comic book dealer and a businessman. Years passed as I grew into place as an adequate back-issue dealer. I swallowed pride, disappointment and wasted money to get to where I could make wages selling comic books. I have a good, national, reputation, which has increased the status of my business and the income. My business and my store thrive through the years from risks. Granted, my life is not in peril, but running a small business in San Diego and California is no easy task. The only way to succeed is to weigh risks against the potential returns. I have family and employees I’m responsible for. Each risk must be considered, but to not be willing is to wither into obscurity. I’ve taken new risks and an now a restaurant owner. Unfortunately, in the time of Covid, my new business is at risk of faltering. Only time and inertia will tell if I thrive.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Comic book retailing tells its own story. Perhaps the general population doesn’t take my career choice seriously, but I work within a world of multi-million dollar sales. I’m constantly challenged by people who think my job is easy, like the low-hanging fruit of the hobby world. The truth is it take big bucks to succeed. The internet and social networking won’t teach amateurs enough to avoid mistakes of ignorance. I wrote a book, the Forensic Comicologist, to teach the uninformed how to pursue this hobby as a fan and as a professional. I still see dozens and dozens of comic book guys chase easy money with no comprehension of their future. They want it easy and don’t get that effort and education pay off in the long run. I made my business work because I paired up with others, both in the short and long term. Team efforts put multiple minds to task as a team and thrived off of mutually-agreed risks. The effort is reduced when shared with others. We learned our craft at comic book conventions. Those road shows provide the greatest experiences for comic book dealers, but they require massive cash expenditures to retail at the largest, busiest shows. Again, effort is mandatory. Working the world of the internet only gets a retailer so far without first having learned the business rules face-to-face. At the present, I own the business as a solo act, but employees are mandatory to sustain a level of constant activity. One-man shows will not get an unlearned retailer to my level. In-person dealing teaches people how to talk to each other, read body language/facial inflections and build rapport that are virtually negated by laptops, phone calls, computers and e-mail. But, there are some personalities that can’t harness that kind of closeness. Get over shyness if you want to suceed.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Anywhere they wanted in San Diego. The city is one-big dining experience. All the usual tourist attractions and nightclubs speak for themselves. The biggest mysteries are San Diego’s back-country. I always make it a point to take people to these less-known gems.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Any small business owner who loves being their own boss and is not afraid to work hard.
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Jamie Newbold and Comic Con staff