Contributor: John McTaggart
If you paid attention to my last installment in the Nonsense Newsletter, then you are very aware that I have shifted the focus of my business from general sports cards to pretty much hockey exclusively.
It’s a shift that continues to bring me happiness and joy, and one that has me more excited about the hobby than I’ve been in a very long time — which is saying a lot since I have loved this hobby since I was a kid.
Earlier this week, I was reminded why this excitement and enthusiasm and optimism is not false hope or delusion.
On Tuesday evening, my little revamped company went live for the first time on the Card Shop Live App.
Now, I’ve been breaking hockey on Whatnot for about six weeks now, and I have zero complaints about the hockey community on that platform. In fact, I’ve made some very good friends because of it.
That said, Whatnot is saturated with breakers, even hockey, with some being quite big, and some not-so-big like myself. This abundance of breakers is cool, but it is crafting a real problem within the community — it’s starting to get watered down.
This translates into fewer viewers in the the chat, fewer spots filled in breaks, and less potential for profit in streams across the board.
It also means too many breakers who know absolutely nothing about the hobby, yet believe breaking is nothing more than a nightly ATM so they drop a few thousands dollars on inventory and they’re breakers all the sudden.
It also means the potential to scam, steak or swindle customers increases dramatically. Shady characters and bad actors are everywhere in this hobby, and unfortunately, some of these appear to be landing on Whatnot (listen to the 4-24-23 Sports Card Nonsense podcast for more on this topic).
Now, I’ve done okay on Whatnot, to be honest, selling out a few breaks and building a good reputation within the hockey community, which is great.
However, the Card Shop Live experience was different.
Sure, like Whatnot, the chat was amazing, filled with fun, knowledgable and understanding folks, but the difference was a subtle but important one — the spirit.
Card Shop Live is built, managed, operated, focused on the card collector, and that is very clear.
I had a few technical glitches right out the gate during our first stream, and literally one text to Carlos and it was all better, within minutes, and we were back on the air!
Autumn, the apps business and clerical genius, sent me a report from break the night before the next day, breaking down every aspect of the stream in terms of payments, fees and what I can expect to see deposited into my company’s account from the night’s efforts.
There’s essentially a group text between sellers and staff so that we can share hits, stories and news with each other at all times of the day and night.
There’s also a direct line of communication between technical staff and me, which is also amazing.
There’s help with marketing and social media as well, and there’s a level of dedication and appreciation to folks like me that is crazy-good.
And, in my case, hockey is new to the platform, and many folks that joined me the other night in my debut stream hadn’t been in a hockey break before, which was awesome. I got the chance to educate them a little but about the hockey hobby, while they educated me about what they want to see from me and Card Shop Live now that hockey is taking its place in the app.
A few of these amazing folks even DM’d me on Instagram after the break with encouragement, advice and just for the opportunity to get to know me better.
It was just an overall amazing experience, and I can’t wait until my next stream.
Now, am I writing this article to compare Card Shop Live to Whatnot — absolutely not.
Whatnot is great, it’s huge, and at any given moment there are literally thousands of sellers live with tens-of-thousands of viewers tuning in. It’s transactional haven, with millions of dollars passing back and forth every day.
But to me, sports cards has always been more about the community than the transaction.
Sure, there is a business aspect to it for folks like me, and for consumers as well, and that is important, but it’s not the core of the hobby.
For me, there’s always been my biological family, then my sports card family, which is comprised of collectors, fellow dealers, card shop owners, company reps and executives and others associated with the hobby.
I love these people, they’re valued and treasured friends and colleagues, and I respect them tremendously.
And this is the secret sauce, I’m my opinion, for Card Shop Live.
They, starting from the company’s CEO, Tamara, all the way down, understand this and have focused their efforts on fostering family and community on their platform, not simply transactions.
Am I suggesting you delete your Whatnot app and move over to Card Shop Live exclusively?
Not at all.
Whatnot is great at what they do, clearly. They’ve built a billion dollar business in a relatively short amount of time.
But Card Shop Live is great at what they are — what the sports card community is — and that is centered around family.
And this is why I can’t wait for my next stream, and the next one, and the next one, and so on… the opportunity to be a foundational piece of the hockey community on the Card Shop Live App is an honor and a blessing, and I do not take this lightly.
So, if you don’t already — download the Card Shop Live app, check out some lives from streamers across the platform and see if you get the same feeling I get, I’ll bet you do.
Leave a Reply