Entrepreneurship through the eras

by Tatiana Torres

William Perez, a junior international business and entrepreneurship major, started a personal company that searches for old war belongings and reunites them with soldiers.

At age six, Perez grew up listening to his grandfather’s stories of his time in the Army. It was his stories and Perez’s imagination that founded his addiction to militaria. At a young age, he was fascinated with hearing his grandfather’s stories and he always searched for artifacts that may have been his grandfather’s. It’s because of this that Buy Sell Research (BSR) Militaria was formed with an aim of finding and selling antique militaria while also preserving each piece and its history.

Before starting BSR Militaria, he became invested in the collecting community in which he rapidly became very popular in.

“The fact that I was so invested in the community since a young age hurt my business since many potential customers couldn’t get past my age, said Perez. “If I was to start again, I would try separate myself from the business and community to allow the artifacts to speak for themselves. Despite being presented with this obstacle, I didn’t quit or believe that my age was going to keep me from success.”

BSR Militaria offer an interactive website that allows the sale of Military Antiques, including German and Japanese World War II items. As most websites prohibit the sale of these items, they are one of a select few to publicly offer these items for sale, as well as a free-to-use price guide.

“Some of my favorite artifacts are those that belong to my family,” Perez said. “These items hold sentimental value to me and to have some items belonging to family members that served in the military are invaluable to me.”

Other interesting artifacts that are currently in his collection are pieces of rugs, a painting captured from Saddam Hussein’s bedroom, unseen and documented photo albums from a security guard and knights cross (Germany’s equivalent to medal of honor) holder who was detailed to guard Adolf Hitler, and a few helmets that were used in and captured during the invasion of Normandy.

“Re-connecting veterans with military artifacts is incredibly rewarding and something I plan on continuing for the rest of my life,” said Perez. “So much history can be lost when an item is taken or sold from its original owner, and I feel that it is my duty to preserve as much history as possible while our veterans are still alive.”

He’s constantly balancing business, school and social life. For this reason, Perez has started hiring UT students as interns. “This way I can offer invaluable work experience to a student on campus, and also focus more on the important aspects of the business,” Perez said.

“The fact that a UT student started and now runs his own company is truly encouraging and makes me hopeful for our future,” said freshman Faviola Báez. “This is the type of news that makes me want to keep fighting for my dreams.”

Perez currently takes part in the entrepreneurship program, entrepreneurship club and accelerator program at UT. These are the resources that he said, “have been extremely beneficial to the success of my business.”

Perez’s greatest inspiration is Giles Hertz, associate professor of business law and entrepreneurship at UT. “It was his words which motivated me to take the next step in transforming my hobby into a business,” said Perez.

Items sold through consignment are not protected under any lifetime return policy that some vendors may hold at BSR Militaria. They offer a 30 day inspection period for returns once the item has been received by the buyer.

Perez explains the process that needs to be followed in order to cosign with the B.S.R Militaria. Once the pieces are submitted, they are photographed, cataloged, and priced. The next step is to confirm whether or not the price of the pieces corresponds with any expectations, followed by the final sale. Additionally, BSR Militaria also permits a 30 day inspection period to check for any damaged items.

“Stop thinking about your idea, and just try it,” Pérez said. “If you fail, you will learn a lot, and if you succeed than you’re on your way to bettering your future.”

Tatiana can be reached at tatiana.torres@spartans.ut.edu

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