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#thehobbyexperience-The Back Story, The What, The Why, and The Who!

Updated: May 2

My Hobby Blog/Vlog Story of the Month details a long-awaited cardboard origin story about why I created #thehobbyexperience and what #thehobbyexperience is all about. I honestly should have written this hobby story two years ago; however, I am happy to share it with our great cardboard community finally.

The Back Story—During the global pandemic, after weeks of reading books, doing arts and crafts with the kids, and processing the polarizing events on my TV and phone, I realized I needed to do something fun and therapeutic for myself. So, one day, I decided to go into the spare bedroom and search for my three-ring binder of cards and a few packs of ‘92 Donruss baseball cards I purchased at a local flea market two years before the pandemic. After looking through my binder and ripping open the 92 Donruss packs, my love for cardboard was rekindled. The nostalgia of this moment was so magical I needed to share it with everyone. So, I went to my personal Instagram and started posting pictures of my cards and searching for other accounts that loved cardboard as much as I did. However, the hobby I knew in the ‘90s no longer existed in 2020, so I had to unlearn and relearn what it meant to be a collector in this new era of collecting cardboard. 

After months of learning what collecting looked, sounded, and felt like through Instagram and Facebook groups, I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. “The Hobby” was different, and I felt like “The Hobby” was missing a significant “experience” that made collecting special when I collected cards in the ‘90s. So, on January 30th, 2021, a beautiful idea came to fruition after I visited a local hobby store in Quakertown, PA.

The Birth of My Idea— I want everyone reading this article to know that before I wrote and spoke the three words into existence that define my idea, I knew I had to embark on a methodical, imaginative, and real-time journey to truly shape/define this idea that was permeating throughout my mind and heart. So, on January 30th, 2021, during a global pandemic, I completed four actions:

  • I sat in my cardboard lab and reflected on the experiences from my first hobby run in the 90s.

  • I went to a local hobby store

  • I challenged myself to put other's cardboard experiences before mine

  • I cataloged everything I experienced that day.

In the aftermath of these four actions, I could envision what I wanted this thing I was attempting to create to look, feel, and sound like in my mind and heart. Once I solidified the vision, I went to Instagram and uploaded an unedited video describing what I had just experienced during my visit to Randy Sports Cards in Quakertown, PA. Now, I will not give a word-for-word script of what I said in the two-minute and forty-nine-second vlog—if you are curious, I encourage you to watch it on your own time—here. However, in that video, you will hear me make two important statements:

  • “What I don’t want to get lost or what shouldn’t get lost is what the hobby is all about… the hobby is about the experience.”

  • I’m about the experience; this hobby is more than a flip, so as you crack open that next pack, rip open that next box, or do that next break, just take a moment, pause, and enjoy the hobby.”

After I pressed the share button on my unedited and unscripted Instagram vlog, I realized that the thing I envisioned in my mind and heart centered around three phrases within these two statements. As an education administrator, when I give feedback to my teachers or lead a professional development session, I often use the term “strong teacher language.” While I don’t want to bore anyone with an in-depth definition of what “strong teacher language” is, I will provide everyone with a shortened definition because context is key. “Strong teacher language” is when a teacher speaks life (i.e., explicit words of encouragement) into their students, and my cardboard version of “strong teacher language” gave birth to #thehobbyexperience on January 30th of 2021. The three pictures below represent what #thehobbyexperience looks, feels, and sounds like today three years later. 


After I solidified the name, I had to decide what I wanted “the name” to look like when people in the community saw it digitally on my social media platforms. The digital representation of “the name” had to look different; it had to be catchy and encompass everything the hobby is and everything the hobby could become. So, as I started to create a graphic organizer, I had an amazing eureka moment—as I looked at the three words I wrote in my notebook! What I had to do was evident; I had to follow the trend of the times, and with this decision, I decided to cement the name permanently into a one-word hashtag—#thehobbyexperience. I decided to immortalize #thehobbyexperience as a one-word hashtag to encourage a movement, and that movement is to empower the everyday collector to share their hobby experience.

The What—When defining what #thehobbyexperience is, I reflected deeply on the most recent experiences I had in my second hobby run and reminisced about my most memorable experiences from my first hobby run in North Philadelphia. In the aftermath of these two necessary actions, I decided that the following two statements would define what #thehobbyexperience is by definition and what it will look, feel, and sound like. #thehobbyexperience is:

  • Dope hobby content and pure nostalgia for collecting!

  • Storytelling, Exploration, and Belonging—Through these three actions, the everyday collector can share their story, catalog their milestones, expand their collecting experiences, and be a celebrated member of the many cardboard communities within our global cardboard ecosystem.

These two statements are what #thehobbyexperience is all about, and more importantly, when the fruition of my thoughts started to come to life on paper and experienced in real-time, the realization of why #thehobbyexperience was needed became very clear to me during a time when the hobby was booming.

The Why—In this modern era of collecting, the hobby is different today than it was thirty years ago, and when I returned to the hobby during the Global Pandemic in 2020, I knew that I had to do a lot of unlearning and relearning simultaneously. After returning to modern hobby school, I was like everyone else; I wanted to ride the hobby boom money train. As I embarked on my entrepreneurial cardboard journey, I immediately discovered that the route I was engaging in did not align with my collecting experiences as a kid and who I was outside of the hobby in 2020. When I accepted this realization, the idea of what would become #thehobbyexperience months later not only felt right, but my pivot from entrepreneur to an experiential focus card collector was something I had to do. This pivot felt right to me because I felt like something was missing or even getting lost as a massive amount of new and old collectors entered/returned to the hobby to pursue their cardboard dreams during the global pandemic hobby boom. 

While I was grateful to be one of the many and see so many old collectors return to their childhood past time and new collectors, including women, join this incredible community, from my vantage point, I felt like the nostalgic experience of the hobby was taking a back seat to the massive monetary exchange that was happening at all levels of the hobby. Now, I am not shaming anyone who uses cardboard as a full-time job or a side hustle. I wholeheartedly believe flippers, breakers, and independent sellers all play an essential role in sustaining today’s hobby ecosystem. However, in late 2020 and the beginning of 2021, before I created #thehobbyexperience, I fully understood and accepted that the hobby is indeed a business. Also, during this time, I believed that the story of why we collect, what we collect, and the nostalgia of collecting had to be told, celebrated, shared, and experienced by all. Call me old fashioned, but in my humble and honest opinion, these cardboard facets, as mentioned above, are the true wealth of the hobby, and today, more than ever, I am grateful that I stand at the forefront of this idea. 

The Who—I invite everyone to follow #thehobbyexperience, and as you all go on this journey with me, there is one thing that I want everyone to remember: #thehobbyexperience isn’t just about me; it’s bigger than me. #thehobbyexperience is about you and everyone who contributes to our 21st-century space of collecting cardboard. These contributions of collecting cardboard, making trades, selling cards, attending cardboard shows, going to trade nights, sharing stories, ripping packs, completing sets, and chasing specific cards stimulate our great ecosystem. More importantly, these hobby experiences create the nostalgia that keeps us coming back for more. Through #thehobbyexperience, I want to make sure these stories of the everyday collector’s experience get told in the most authentic way. Why? These cardboard stories play a significant role in sustaining our ecosystem and deepening our exploration of and connection to cardboard. So, as I begin to unearth these cardboard stories, share my personal cardboard experiences, and unpack my hobby thoughts, I want to thank you and extend gratitude in advance for taking the time to tap in with me and #thehobbyexperience.

Keep Collecting, 

Don’t hesitate to email me at  if you want to share your cardboard story. 


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