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Inspiring Conversations with Chris Rust of Georgia Autographs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Rust. 

Hi Chris, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Back in 2013, I started posting different autograph signings happening throughout the city to help collectors find their way to more opportunities to build their collections and meet athletes and celebrities. Eventually, sports agents and marketing reps began reaching out to me with business opportunities to host my own autograph signings. In 2018, I hosted Norcross, GA’s own, Lorenzo Carter, in our very first autograph signing. It kind of caught wind from there and now I have hosted (16) different Georgia football athletes myself to create a small business presence with GeorgiaAutographs.com. Georgia Autographs has hosted guys from the likes of Nick Chubb, Garrison Hearst, Vince Dooley, and many others. We want to continue to give the collecting community the chance to meet these guys and/or get autographs from them. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Being strictly a collector, I really had no idea what I was getting into on the business side of things. It has been a wild ride these last few years. Now we have experienced Covid protocols with many public events being sidelined. Luckily the autograph and collecting market has thrived through the pandemic challenges with the opportunity to conduct private signings with mail-order options and collector’s investing more. Although fans haven’t been able to attend many in-person events, we have found a way to continue to do what we’ve set out to do- lead collector’s to chances to build their collections. It’s a whole different ballgame on the business side of things. There’s a lot of work that goes into it from finding representing agencies, working with specific designated agents, scheduling events, making large up-front purchases for inventory purposes, and trying to do all that we can to make sure every autograph signed is just how the collector wants it done. Us collectors can be very picky individuals, so the business side carries huge challenges to try and perfect it all. Since I am a collector first, I understand both sides of things now, and I think as I learn more on the business side, it helps me understand the full picture better. It’s not easy, but we are full steam ahead with two signings this past weekend and more ahead on the horizon. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Georgia Autographs specializes in leading collectors to autograph and meet and greet opportunities in the Atlanta and Georgia area. We host private and public events and help boost athlete’s and celebrity’ brands by promoting their name, image, and likeness for appearances. Our marketing efforts raise awareness for each athlete and celebrity we work with through our large network of collectors and sports fans. 

Any big plans?
We are looking forward to creating more business opportunities for other small businesses by bringing them athlete and celebrity appearances. As soon as we get past the Covid protocols, the public event space should open up nicely. Our main future goal is to help others host events like we do now to broaden the opportunities for collectors and fans in the Southeast as well creating more marketing opportunities for small businesses in our community. 

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