We are excited to celebrate JAW Bats one year anniversary this Thursday, November 29!
Young Professionals Business After Hours
For the past 10 years I have been working to perfect the wood bat. Of course JAW Bats are nowhere near perfect, but as Norman Peale once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” Jacob Walters
JAW Bats is a high quality custom wood baseball bat manufacturing company owned and operated by Jacob Walters. The company sells one of the finest custom wood baseball bats on the market. Jacob has been slowly developing this product over ten long years. For the first five years, Jacob ran the company out of his parent’s basement to keep overhead low. In May of 2017, the business moved from a small basement to 4,000 square feet in Baldwin City, Kansas. Key to Jacob’s success is focusing on smaller production and high quality customization. As Jacob explains,
Most, if not all, of the major wood baseball bat companies mass produce a lower quality product to cater to the masses. This approach dramatically effects quality due to the process in making a quality baseball bat. Instead of mass production, I have decided to limit production, increase quality, and produce the most custom product on the market. This in turn has driven up demand and created an exclusive feel to the brand. Customization is trending due to players wanting to express their personalities through the products that they use. The substantial growth of social media has been the fuel to the fire of this growing trend. With this strategy, I have differentiated JAW Bats from the other wood baseball brands.
In order to continue to grow with demand, production needs to be adequately updated. Currently all bats are handmade. Each bat takes 20-30 minutes to turn and sand. With a Network Kansas E-Community loan*, through Douglas County E-Community and the support of Dave Hill and Mid America Bank, Jacob was able to purchase a CNC lathe. This new piece of machinery will allow production to increase dramatically–taking the process down to two minutes per bat–and it also will help to cut down on waste because of the lathe’s precision. With the CNC lathe in place, Jacob’s next step is to seek Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball certification.
In addition to growing his business, Jacob is active in the Baldwin City community participating in Chamber events such as “Career Connections.” He spent time talking with BHS students about starting a business and will share his story with BJHS students this spring.
* To learn more about E-Community loans and other Network Kansas resources to support entrepreneurs, contact Jeannette at the Baldwin City Chamber, firstname.lastname@example.org, 785-594-3200.
Jacob and Kristin Walters.