Kayla Collects | Collector Stories

Meet Kayla Collects

Date: Apr 16, 2024
Topics: Collector Stories, How To Collect, Kayla Collects
Length: 842 Words
Reading Time: ~5 Minutes

Meet Kayla Collects, content creator, avid trading card collector and an all-around force in The Hobby. We sat down with Kayla to talk her brand, her journey as a collector and the future of Women in The Hobby

What sparked your interest in trading card collecting?

I got interested in sports cards after seeing fans get autographs on cards before games. I grew up 35 minutes from the Tampa Bay Rays stadium and attended many games when I was younger. I went to Target and bought two packs of 2013 Topps Series One baseball (This was in 2013), and I pulled a Manny Machado rookie card out of one of those packs. Machado was my favorite non-Rays player at the time. I would get autographs on baseballs, but my fascination changed once I saw the unique personal touch that sports cards created.

What made you decide to build a  brand in collecting and how has it been growing a following? 

I truly never set out to “build a brand,” but instead, I wanted to be the person younger Kayla wished she had when my collecting started. I didn’t see myself represented in any sports card content creators, and at times, that could create an isolating collector experience. After the 2022 National in Atlantic City, some collector friends encouraged me to put my face/name out there more, and I took the advice.

As a woman in the trading card collecting industry, what unique challenges or opportunities have you faced, and how have they shaped your journey as a collector?

When my collecting began, I was almost naive to the fact that there weren’t many female collectors. It didn’t come to my attention until I started attending shows where dealers would ask questions like, “Where is your dad?” or “Where is your boyfriend?” I realized that maybe I was a rarity in the space. This created a search for me to find solace in other women who collected, and ones who I could look up to and share experiences with. Luckily, I found that with “Women in the Hobby.” WITH is a collaborative group of women (Including myself) who share stories/collections and offer community to any collector who feels they don’t fit. WITH has a set up at The National for the past two years, and has become something special to me.

Do you have a favorite card in your collection, and if so, could you share the story behind it?

The 2020 Topps Stadium Club Austin Hays, which I personally got signed by Austin himself. I’ve gotten to know Austin through this crazy story, which will have me forever tie us. In 2017, Austin was playing for the Baltimore Orioles High A affiliate, the Frederick Keys. I went to a Keys game and thought it was crazy cool how close you could interact with the players. Austin even handed me his broken bat from the game. He then went on to get called up to Double-A, skip Triple-A and make his Major League debut that year. The following year, after continued interactions, I wanted to interview Austin for my journalism class, and that interview started my “journalism” career. A couple of seasons later, Austin was rehabbing in Frederick. I had some cards signed by him already, and since he had already done so much for me, I wanted to support him and give him something, so I gave him the option between Skittles or Sour Patchs, and he chose Skittles. I go on to see him rehab in Triple-A, give him Skittles, and boom, Austin goes yard again. The occurrence, where I gave him Skittles and he homered, happened five consecutive times throughout three seasons (MILB and MLB). It then became our running joke, and each time he saw me in the stands, he’d get this smile on his face, knowing that I had the “special sauce.” Now, the reason the 2020 Topps Stadium Club Austin Hays is by far my favorite in my collection is because the game captured on the card is a “Skittle game,” where I was in attendance. The photo depicts Austin celebrating after robbing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of a home run. Guess what he did his next at-bat? Homers. The moment forever being cemented into history with a sports card is pretty extraordinary. I even got the card signed, which he inscribed “Skittle Power.” That’s a piece that will never move from my collection.

What do you envision the future for women in the trading card hobby?

I envision the future of The Hobby having a safe space for women/girls to collect. With initiatives and opportunity, many of these young girls who are falling in love with sports through college women’s basketball, the upcoming Olympics, etc. can be converted to sports card collectors! I think they just haven’t yet been exposed to the world of sports cards. That’s where I hope to come in.

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