Aha! The perfect opportunity to repost some Andre answers from Reddit that I had bookmarked but didn’t have a topic to put them in… now I do! Source
YoYoExpert started for different reasons. I was working on a Masters in Neuroscience and was relatively burned out on school… And at the time kind of burned out on yo-yoing (and burned out on email questions about yo-yoing). I had worked for YoYoJam for a couple years and while I loved the experience I really craved being able to do my own thing and ‘make’ something. The Expert Village tutorials at that time and started circulating the web and everyday single day I was getting tons of emails asking for help, what yo-yo to buy, tips on tricks, etc. So I felt building a resource for that information and a place to go was something that I could do well. My wife at the time had just graduated in graphic arts so it was kind of a perfect fit and a great thing for her to work on and use her expertise.
Initially my goal was actually just to make tutorial DVDs with better breakdowns and trying to find a way to enable others to put a value on the tricks they were creating - but as I was still finishing graduate school my time was always very split and I never got completely back to that… (But I have finally jumped back into that this year - coming soon. )
From there the retail store grew out of design and my retail expertise… I had worked at a Toy Store (A2Z Science & Learning) for 7 years (Dev/wife did too) and I always enjoyed giving people advice on buying something that they were going to enjoy (whether that was a yo-yo, a board game, rockets, science kit, etc). It is all about fun and enjoying life to the fullest - and learning something with what you buy. And A2Z really taught me that giving people an ‘experience’ to their purchase was important. You aren’t just buying something - there is more to it and my goal has always been to tell the story of the product and be there from the beginning to the end whether that is questions before you buy or questions after you buy - problems, curiosities, anything.
Further - Dev (my wife) is a very crucial component as most of the graphics you see are created by her. We work really well together in terms of finding creative ways to present everything and make it fun and interesting. That and we love working together and the bigger picture of what we are doing. So it all comes together out of love and hopefully people get a sense of how much we care about what we are doing here.
Another answer there which may be relevant
Funny enough I am not a huge collector. I have a ton of old YoYoJam prototypes and various special editions from when I was running the team. And I do still have them. I have one of every Dark Magic Color for the most part as I obviously had to collect those.
But generally speaking I play with anything I buy. I still buy myself a new yo-yo quite often as it keeps it fun and interesting - and I have tons of yo-yos lying around the house (my 1 1/2 year old son Pierce also loves playing with them too - haha). But my actual collection is literally lying all over the place.
I definitely have a few ‘prized’ possessions though - yo-yos that people have given me that sometimes are one of a kind, etc. One of my favorites is a special Chief that Jason Wong anodized for me in one of his signature Skittle color ways.