The Hamptons, New York — If you’re a big sports fan, you may know there was a big party on July 4th. Many sports and other celebrities headed to a beachfront home to celebrate at The White Party. Many famous people went, including Drake (who had a rough day), Tom Brady, Kim Kardashian, Olivia Dunne, and many others.

The guy who hosted this party was Michael Rubin, the CEO of Fanatics. The billionaire has helped shape Fanatics as the go-to spot for fans to pick up their licensed merchandise from their favorite teams, as it has partnerships with all the major leagues. For outdoor enthusiasts, it may come as a surprise that he began his entrepreneurial path in the ski industry.

At 12 years old, Mike opened up a ski tuning shop. Called Mike’s Ski Tuning, it had a pretty solid slogan: “The Finest Quality Done By Hand.” He then decided to open a ski retail shop at fourteen. According to Entrepreneur, one of his strategies was building a 142-foot ski ramp in August 1988. This sliding surface of 45,000 pounds of ice was created for customers to try out his skis.

Here’s what Rubin said to the Small Business Chronicle in 1988 about the ski ramp and his entrepreneurial style:

“I believe there are two types of business people — risky and rational. And since I am the risky type, a ski run in 98 degree weather sounds great to me!”

Unfortunately, a snowless winter nearly led to him filing for bankruptcy, as Rubin had accumulated $200,000 in debt. With $80,000 of inventory to sell, he discovered the closeout business. He then created a $100 million discount business that sold older sneakers and skis.

In 1998, he formed GSI Commerce, which became a top e-commerce platform for retailers. While there, he created Fanatics. He sold GSI Commerce to E-Bay for $2.4 billion but bought Fanatics from them. He has made Fanatics the biggest e-commerce platform for sports merchandise.

He dove into his career trajectory in an episode of Shark Tank last year, which is a great watch.

Image/Video Credits: Michael Rubin, ABC (Shark Tank)

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