Hobby Outposts from the North – Women in the Hobby Roundtable – For years, there has been a perception that collecting sports cards is a male hobby, and while yes, there is a huge population of men who have immense collections, women have a very strong collecting population.
As Kelsey Schroyer discussed with Sara Layton a few weeks back, there is an increasing percentage of females of all ages who have cards as the central focus of their leisure time.
What about professionally though? Yep, here too! Several women are standing out at the top card and memorabilia production companies and are quickly rising through the ranks to major spots in the (virtual) office and in public-facing positions.
As part of Women in the Hobby Week, Go GTS caught up with three of these incredible female leaders in our beloved memorabilia world about their roots in the hobby and how women have grown in these very cool positions.
The participants in this virtual roundtable are:
Question 1: How did you get into the hobby? Were you a collector growing up, did you become one later on?
EK: I was drawn to baseball cards as young kid, cherishing the “Trade-Um Cards” I received from my very first stint as a tee-ball player. My Dad is a collector, as well, so getting to bond over his baseball card collection throughout my childhood helped set up my interest in the hobby. To this day, we still collect and trade together! While I strayed from the hobby for a few years, I am so happy to be involved again in this wonderful industry.
JM: Started with Playoff (which was actually CARDZ at the time) when it was a startup company. Collected but not cards. CARDZ did a lot of non-sport cards (Flintstones, San Diego Zoo etc.) and I loved those sets.
CH: Sports has been a part of my life since I was a little kid. My dad and brother collected baseball and football cards growing up. I would tag along when they went to hobby shops around the area and just gained somewhat of an understanding of the industry early on. I never was a big collector myself, but throughout the last several years I have collected several basketball and football cards.
Question 2: What was your first job in the hobby?
EK: My renewed interest in the hobby peaked when I began working for the MLB Players Association. After my time at the PA, I joined Topps in 2016 in the mobile apps division. In late 2019, I had the opportunity to join the physical trading card team, and it has been an incredible experience since!
JM: Director of Sales, Cardz/Playoff
CH: My first job in the hobby has been the one I currently have here at Panini as the Direct Sales Account Manager.
Question 3: How has the perception and/or actuality of women in the hobby changed since you started?
EK: Even in the past few years, the emergence of women in sports has been brought to the forefront of the conversation. I was proud when Topps joined in, releasing cards of Athletes Unlimited Pro Softball players and most recently celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day. It is encouraging to see these conversations taking place, which only help further the cause! Being able to represent Topps as a woman in the hobby is something I not only cherish, but treat with great respect, so that I can be a representative for young girls and other women who are looking for someone that they can relate to into a male-dominated industry.
JM: There were only two show promotors (Wanda Marcus and Gloria Rolfstein) when I started in the industry… no manufacturer reps. There were lots of shows back in those days and when we showed up the dealers looked at us like we had two heads. Took a while to win them over and be accepted.
CH: From what I’ve noticed in my short time working in this industry, I’ve seen that more and more women are becoming more involved in the hobby. I’m seeing quite a few women who own and operate hobby shops as well which is encouraging to see.
Question 4: What advice would you give to a young woman who is looking to work in the hobby?
EK: Be your own advocate! Woman are taught humility from a young age, so it’s important to find confidence in what you do and not be afraid to say, “I am here, and I am capable!” Personally, I am fortunate to be surrounded by coworkers who believe that women don’t just belong in the hobby but can help lead the hobby.
JM: Do your homework, lots of resources now. You will be welcome with open arms.
CH: We live in a world where females are largely outnumbered when it comes to working in the hobby/sports industry. I think just from a personal experience, I’ve gained/earned respect from my customers and co-workers simply by just being knowledgeable about sports and the industry in general. Having conversations and being able to relate to them on that level has been key for me. If you want to work in the hobby/sports, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and that you truly enjoy what you’re doing.
Hobby Outposts from the North – Women in the Hobby Roundtable
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