Breaking Barriers: Sam Shuford, Women of the HobbyBreaking Barriers: Sam Shuford, Women of the Hobby – Everyone connected to the hobby knows that the last 2 years have seen growth like never before. When live sports weren’t an option, fans went looking for another way to connect with their favorite players and teams. Many went back to the hobby of their childhood, and the rest, as they say, is history. What surprised some in the industry is the large number of girls and women showing interest. One person building community for women is Sam Shuford, creator of the Instagram page and YouTube channel Women of the Hobby. WOTH has become the hub of a for connecting and showcasing female collectors across the country. If you want to find other female collectors, check out the Woman of the Week feature on the WOTH Instagram page.

I had a chance to catch up virtually with Sam about a week before the National and then again in person in Chicago. She is every bit as kind and enthusiastic about cards as she appears online.

Breaking Barriers: Sam Shuford, Women of the Hobby

LK: Tell us a little about yourself, inside and outside of the hobby.

SS: Sports have always been a big part of my life. As a kid, I went to Panthers games with dad. I attended the University of South Carolina, so SEC sports are a big deal. I graduated in May of 2020, so I’m still new to the “real world.” I work from home as a consultant in supply chain and finance. I would say the entire past year for me has been about Covid and cards. Covid absolutely brought a spotlight to the hobby, but I don’t think it is a temporary spotlight. I think people are going to stay. It is becoming trendy in a way.

Breaking Barriers: Sam Shuford, Women of the HobbyLK: What led you to creating Women of the Hobby?

SS: When I got back into cards in May or June of 2020, I saw a lot of people saying that part of the hobby they love is the community, but I noticed that missing for women. I have a twitter account, and everyone was always saying “Hey, bro. Hey, man.” I was even getting that on broad platforms like eBay. That made me really start to think there needs to be a platform for women who collect. I came across Hannah of SheCollectsCards on YouTube in January. That was what I needed to see, and it pushed me to create the YouTube channel.

LK: How did you decide on the name?

SS: The name came from thinking about the Humans of New York series. I wanted it to be something like that. What I was shooting for when I started was me doing interviews of women who collect, but as time went on it became more of me and Hannah talking about the newest things in cards each week. My initial push has shifted to hear the stories of other women who collect and then to build friendships. What I felt I was missing was the people connection part of the hobby. I wanted to establish that.

LK: What has the response been?

SS: It has been great, really positive. I’ve had a lot of instant messages from girls and women telling me that this is exactly what they were looking for. I remember one girl who was around 16 messaging me and saying that whenever she goes to shows with her dad that everyone always thinks the cards are for him, but they are really for her. No one took her seriously. She was happy to find a place where she felt she fit in.

Breaking Barriers: Sam Shuford, Women of the HobbyLK: Women and teen girls are a market that the hobby has been missing out on. What are your thoughts on that?

SS: Absolutely. When I hear people talking about building the hobby, I think about half the population that is pretty much excluded. The female participation is probably up around 10-15%, but it would be great to see that continue to rise. When I was researching about this, I found that about 80% of the household budgets in the nation are controlled by women. Helping women feel more included would be an advantage to the entire hobby.

LK: What women’s cards do you collect?

SS: This isn’t what I mainly collect, but I am known for having a lot of Simone Biles cards. I have Serena Williams and some USWNT Soccer. I collect a lot of USC Gamecock players. I have Dawn Staley, the Gamecocks and Olympic coach. She also played for the Charlotte Sting, so that is all three things for me. I also collect South Carolina women’s basketball players. They won the National Championship my freshman year, and I think they would have won my senior year if it weren’t for Covid. A lot of them have gone onto the WNBA, like Tyasha Harris, Kiki Herbert Harrigan, and A’ja Wilson.

LK: Who do you PC?

SS: I PC Luke Kuechly from the Panthers. I’ve gotten into his autos because I can afford them. I like the on-card autos more than the stickers. I am always looking for the less expensive cards, but I know if someone knows you PC a player, they can get you to pay whatever they want.

Breaking Barriers: Sam Shuford, Women of the HobbyLK: Do you have a favorite product?

I really like the old Topps Chrome when they had the NFL and NBA License. The 2008-09 Topps Chrome set is one that is a favorite for a lot of people. It has the team’s name in circles down the side in the team colors. I have the one with LeBron guarding Kobe. That card is one of my favorites.

LK: Is there anything else that you’d like to see change in the hobby?

SS: I would like to see more stand-alone women’s product like the Parkside Women’s Soccer cards and the WNBA cards. It would be great to see major distributors get involved in more stand-alone product and expand the products for female athletes. I think if we continue to show that there is a demand that would push them to create more product.

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Libby Koch

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