In a male-dominated industry like trading card collecting, breaking barriers and challenging norms requires courage, passion, and a relentless pursuit of inclusivity. Hanna Chang, a trailblazing Asian American woman, has carved her own path in the trading card collecting scene, defying stereotypes and advocating for diversity.
In an interview with Asian Hustle Network, Hanna shares her inspiring journey, from using sports as a means to make friends during her childhood to founding “She Collects Cards,” a platform aimed at promoting inclusivity in the community.
TURNING TO SPORTS AS A WAY TO MAKE FRIENDS
Hanna shared insights about her childhood and how she developed an interest in collecting trading cards. “As a third culture kid, I immigrated to the United States when I was 12,” she explained. “Struggling with language and cultural barriers after the move, I turned to sports as a way to make friends and build my own personal brand.”
Reflecting on her upbringing, Hanna highlighted the influence of her older brother, who collected limited edition stamps. “Watching his passion for growing his stamp collection and seeing the big smile on his face as he added one stamp sheet at a time to his folder are fond memories and the catalyst for our collector DNA,” she recalled. Additionally, she mentioned her friend Bryan’s observation that there was a lack of diversity in the trading card collecting community. Inspired by this, she founded “she collects cards” to promote inclusivity and encourage a future where individuals, regardless of their background, can openly embrace card collecting.
Drawing on her experiences as an Asian American woman, Hanna emphasized the significance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the trading card industry. “Growing up as a third culture kid in many different countries, I have seen the value proposition of DEI firsthand,” she stated. She acknowledged the industry’s homogeneity and the biases faced by collectors who don’t fit the traditional mold. Viewing this as an opportunity, she expressed her commitment to educating and promoting diversity in the industry. She also spoke about the responsibility she feels as a trailblazer in the field, striving to normalize card collecting for Asian American females and challenging stereotypes.
FEMALE ASIAN AMERICAN IN THE TRADING CARD COLLECTING SCENE
Hanna’s passion for collecting ignited when she was deeply moved by the untimely passing of her idol, Kobe Bryant. “Upon hearing the tragic news, I searched through my closet to find anything that would remind me of him,” she shared. Determined to honor his legacy, she embarked on a profound collecting journey that merged her love for sports with the art of investing. It became a transformative chapter in her life, a testament to the enduring power of memories and personal identity found within the world of sports.
Driven by a powerful vision, Hanna founded a brand and platform that celebrated inclusivity in the trading card collecting community. “I wanted the world to know that Asian women collect trading cards, and they do it exceptionally well,” she said. Her mission extended beyond representation—it was about reaching out to those closet collectors, women and Asians alike, who may have felt alone in their passion. She firmly believed that diversity, equity, and inclusion were not just buzzwords, but transformative forces that could shape a more vibrant and welcoming future for collectors from all walks of life.
As one of the few female collectors in a predominantly male-dominated industry, Hanna fearlessly navigated through biases and adversity, armed with the strength forged from overcoming cultural and gender challenges throughout her life. “Overcoming bias and adversity has been a consistent theme,” she reflected. From her experiences in different countries to facing racism and sexism, she emerged as a trailblazer, determined to educate the trading card community about the importance of embracing diversity. Hanna’s resilience and unwavering commitment showcased the transformative power of one person’s vision and actions, making strides towards creating a more inclusive and diverse community that defied preconceived notions.
Undoubtedly, Hanna encountered her fair share of challenges as a female Asian American collector. Systematic biases, limited access and opportunities, and doubts about her expertise were hurdles she faced with unyielding grace. However, she embraced these challenges as opportunities to defy expectations and showcase her knowledge and passion. With unwavering positivity and humor, she shattered stereotypes and responded with wisdom, forging her own path in the trading card world, “My collection is viewed with skepticism, and I find myself answering questions like “is this yours or your husband’s?” or “do you actually watch [insert sport]?” that male collectors probably rarely get asked.” Hanna shared.
Her presence not only elevated her own journey but also inspired countless others, reminding them that their passions and dreams were not defined by societal norms or limited by the boundaries of prejudice.
PROMOTING DIVERSITY AND IMPACT
Hanna emphasized the importance of sharing original content to challenge biases and normalize the idea that women and women of color are just as skilled collectors. “My role is to continue sharing original content pieces to normalize the subconscious and conscious bias,” she asserted. By actively seeking out and collecting cards featuring a diverse range of players and artists, she aims to promote greater representation and inclusivity. She also doesn’t shy away from calling out racial or discriminatory behaviors, advocating for progress and respect among all collectors.
Her impact extends beyond just normalizing women and Asians collecting pieces of their favorite games, players, sports, anime, and more. Hanna strives to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where diversity thrives. “By creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, we can encourage more diversity in the space and bring out different perspectives,” she explained. By showcasing her own collection and the collections of other underrepresented collectors, she aims to increase visibility and create more opportunities to share experiences and inspire others.
For other female Asian American collectors aspiring to make a name for themselves in the industry, Hanna offered valuable advice: be authentic. Remaining true to oneself and genuine in interactions and content is key when challenging the status quo and promoting diversity. Additionally, she emphasized the importance of developing a specific focus or niche within their collection to become experts in that area and build a reputation as knowledgeable collectors. Furthermore, she encouraged networking and building relationships with other female and Asian collectors, recognizing the value of connecting with like-minded individuals in the community.
EVOLVED AND THE FUTURE
“My role is to continue sharing original content pieces to normalize the bias that women and women of color don’t collect well.” Hanna is determined to challenge these subconscious and conscious biases and actively seeks out and collects cards from diverse categories to promote greater representation and inclusivity. Her dedication extends beyond collecting; she is not afraid to call out racial or discriminatory behaviors, emphasizing the need for progress and respect within the community.
Hanna passionately expresses her desire to encourage more individuals to join in the fun of collecting. “By creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, we can encourage more diversity in the space and bring out different perspectives and groundbreaking processes that will ultimately benefit the whole community in the long run.” Furthermore, she aims to promote the work and collections of underrepresented collectors, recognizing the importance of increasing visibility and creating opportunities to share experiences and showcase diverse voices.
When offering advice to other female Asian American collectors aspiring to make a name for themselves in the industry, she highlighted the power of authenticity. “Be authentic! The most important aspect for anyone hoping to challenge the status quo or promote diversity in a homogeneous group is to always remain genuine in their interactions and content.” She emphasized the significance of developing a specific focus or niche within their collection, becoming experts in their chosen area to build a reputation as knowledgeable and discerning collectors. Additionally, she emphasized the value of networking and building relationships with other underrepresented collectors, recognizing the strength and support that comes from connecting with others who share similar experiences and aspirations.
Looking towards the future of trading card collecting, she expressed her excitement and belief in the hobby’s potential for expansion and inclusivity. “As the hobby evolves, I hope to continue advocating for underrepresented micro-communities and bring this amazing hobby to all ethnic groups, genders, and countries around the world, beyond the current makeup of the industry.” She envisions a future where the trading card collecting community transcends geographical, socioeconomic, gender, and ethnic boundaries, fostering a more diverse and inclusive space for collectors from all walks of life.
CONNECT WITH HANNA
Youtube: She Collects Cards