KCLU: July 17, 2018
It’s a story which started a long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far away.
Well, okay, it wasn’t that long ago. It was 1996. And, it actually wasn’t a galaxy that far away. It was Sherman Oaks. But, the story did start with Star Wars. Two brothers, Jason and Aaron Labowitz, were collectors of sci-fi action figures and toys, the kind of things inspired by movies. Aaron Labowitz says the result is “Entertainment Earth," a company which sells sci-fi and pop culture collectables.
The company now has more than a hundred employees, and sells more than 30,000 items from its Simi Valley warehouse. But, it started as a cutting edge internet business in the 1990’s, back when Amazon was only selling books online.
We are in the massive warehouse, which is just off of Madera Drive in Simi Valley. It’s a collector’s dream world. A building bigger than a football field filled from ground to ceiling with pop culture figures, toys, and collectables.
Brandon Swanson is Content Marketing Manager for Entertainment Earth. He says they have everything from Superman to Entertainment Earth still sells directly to collectors, but it also is a big supplier to specialty shops like comic book stores.
While it faces competition for some basic items from big retailers like Target and Wal-Mart, it has many collectable items that mainstream stores would never carry. Kristin Nichols, who’s Communications Director for Entertainment Earth, says one of the biggest challenges is trying to anticipate what will be the next big thing for collectors. She says in a way, it's like trying to tell which stock will be the hottest new one on the internet.
This is one of the biggest weeks of the year for the company. Comic-Con is taking place in San Diego, and Entertainment Earth will have a big presence, with a booth and some exclusive collectibles.
In fact, the Ventura County based company will even have the co-creator of the hit “Deadpool” character on hand to sign autographs, as well as the cast of “Twin Peaks”. Comic-Con has a special place for the company, because in its infancy it was one of the first to sell new, never opened merchandise at the landmark event.