Where are the pins made?
They are made in China, as pretty much all pins are. Most places hosted in the US are making them in China as well and charging you a 3-4x multiple and acting like they made them in the US. They didn't and neither do I. There are not good US options for this specific product.
Why should I get my pins made through you?
I offer a few things. One is that I am your safety net for overseas production. If you've ever blindly contacted someone overseas, sent money and hoped for the best, you will understand the stress of that...especially if your product didn't turn out correct. Something doesn't go right? I cover it. If you've ever had a hard time communicating with someone overseas and things take 3x longer and you still aren't sure if you are on the same page...I save you that hassle.
I've also vetted the factory and produced now over 1 million pins with them and have a strong relationship with the factory. In addition, I help guide you to make the best quality pin we can for you. If the factory makes a mistake, I have them re-make them, no problem. As a producer of goods for a long time, getting the execution down is very important to me. I like making things and I have a high standard of quality. If what you want to do isn't possible, I will tell you and if it won't work how you intend, I will suggest how it should be done a different way to translate best. If it will look better as hard enamel for a better end product, I will suggest that too. My job is to help you make the best pin we can. I care about sending out something that looks great and helps you sell more, so you get my advice, knowledge, experience and guidance. You'll see that you can't pay me before I've seen any art and that's because my goal is to work with everyone to create something great, not just take money and send junk. Part of my goal is to help you avoid making a crappy looking pin, so when I suggest some sizes or metals that may work best, it's with that in mind.
Do you make money?
Yes. Is the factory direct cheaper? Sometimes yes/sometimes no, but my time and knowledge to help you get things right has it's value and saves you a lot of headaches. You know those terrible looking pins you see online all of the time? I won't let you make one of those and will guide you to the best result. I take on all of the risk of money and production for you. If you are unhappy, I simply refund you. If you went direct and were unhappy, they'd most likely say too bad or offer to remake them and bill you again for most or all of it. If the factory makes a mistake, I get them re-made for you. I handle customs, communication, etc etc. At this point, I speak fluent pin. My buying power with the place I use is a lot stronger than a random person ordering 100 pins once every 2 months. I speak to them every day, send in a few thousand pins a day to them and get deliveries every weekday and only work directly with the owner of the factory, not a random sales rep.
How long do the pins take to get made?
This Timeline represents the min required days and does not factor in the rotating volume of orders in at any given point and they are business days(aka no weekends)
• Soft Enamel
create mold - 1-2 days
die struck, cut, weld back nails, etc - 1-2 days
*if die cut zinc alloy, +2-4 days
polishing - 1 day
plating - black dye 1 day, nickel, gold, etc need 1-3 days
coloring - simple color 1 day, complex color 3 days or more
quality checking and packing 1-2 days
*if carded add 1-2 days+ packaging
• Hard Enamel
create mold 1-2 days
die struck, cut, weld back nails, etc - 1-2 days
*if die cut zinc alloy, +2-4 days
polishing 2 days
coloring - simple color 1 day, complex color 4 days or more
plating - nickel, gold, etc need 1-3 days
quality checking and packing 1-2 days
*if carded add 1-2 days+ packaging
• Any additional things like added printing or sequential numbering will add a few days as well
Can we do a rush order? I didn't plan well and need them yesterday!!!!
Anything under 2 weeks turnaround will have a 10% rush fee added to the total. I will do what I can for you, but I cannot guarantee a hard deadline. 99% of the time, we hit the date and I will always ask the factory for a specific date if it is reasonable and if they can't do it, they will say they can't, so I won't take on a job that's a rush that doesn't have the chance of getting done in time, but if they are an extreme rush and it gets missed by a few days, I cannot discount/refund your order. Pins are still a multi-step handmade item, so it's not a machine that pumps out a finished product where we just jump up in the line. If they can't be done, they can't be done. The factory is closed on weekends and the proofing process takes a few days. These also ship from overseas and we can't just do away with real life transit times. There is no amount of money that could get pins to you in a week, no matter how much you will it to be, but it can't hurt to ask me about the date you need.
Some of my pins were damaged, what can I do?
First, take a deep breath and then send me an email. Because of the nature of how the pins are hand made, issues can happen from time to time and we have a few options. 1. The factory messed something up like wrong color placement or bad plating, etc. I will get them remade for you add toss in some extra for the hassle. 2. 10 of my 100 are "flawed". I will either buy them back from you at cost or most people will sell them as seconds and get $6-8 each vs me refunding $2-3, but it's up to you. 3. You claim something is wrong but they were made correctly and I do not agree with the assessment. I will buy them back from you, but I will not order pins to be re-made that I do not feel were made wrong. You won't lose any money in that final situation, but if I feel the factory made them correctly and a reprint would be the same, I am not willing to lose money twice on it and would rather have you send them back fro a refund. You can send them back, I'll throw them out and refund you. I am a reasonable guy when approached with reason.
Can I get only 50 pins made?
Technically, yes. Is it worth it? No. For about $30-40 more, you could get 100 instead of 50. It makes zero sense to make 50 pins.
Can I get less than 50 pins made of a design?
Technically...yes, but you will be billed as if you got 50 because that is their min for it being worth their time, so getting 30 but paying for 50 = not smart and a waste of time.
Do I see a physical sample to approve before production?
99.9% of the time we do not do one. My goal is to get us set up right before the order even gets to the factory so there's minimal changes and our expectations are accurate. If we are doing orders of 500+ qty and you really want to approve one first, I can have them do that but it will add about 1-2 weeks to the turnaround.
Do you do hard enamel pins too?
Yes. I have pricing examples listed on pricing page. They tend to run about 30 cents more per pin. They go through additional labor steps which is why they cost more, not because of a difference in materials used.
What's the difference between soft enamel and hard enamel pins?
Soft enamel are what you are probably most familiar with. They have raised and lowered areas with enamel in them and have some texture due to that. Hard enamel pins are polished and buffed down smooth and have very little texture. Hard enamel must also use a plated metal to hold up to the buffing down process.
If I have multiple designs I want made at once, does it change the price?
Yes. Combined orders will save 10% off simply because of shared shipping. This does not factor into cost of any upgrades or carding and applies only to the pin cost. As with any kind of shipping, the more we can fit into a box, the more it balances out. It's cheaper to airmail 200 pins together than it is 2 boxes with 100 each.
I don't see a way to checkout on here...can't I just pay you now?
I like to check the artwork and make sure everything is good to go before any money exchanges hands. If you paid for pins and then sent unusable artwork, it's a hassle for both of us. You won't be sent an invoice until the green light has been given that your pin can be made successfully. I want to make the best possible product for both of us so that is more important to me in the end.
Are reprints of pins any cheaper?
If you have made a pin through me and you need to get more made, you will save $60 from the mold not needing to be done again.
Will you ship overseas?
Yes. Normally I ship them direct from the factory. It costs a little more than for a US customer, but is much faster than them coming through me first and paying for another shipment. You may have some import fees due, but I have no control over your country's rates on that. What I hear from all of my international clients is that it's ultimately cheaper than me re-shipping and about two weeks faster to them in hand, even with any kind of import fee owed.
What kind of art works best?
Simple, clean and bold lines work best. Think of it like a logo in that it needs to translate well at a small size. Very tiny lines and details will get lost when it's made into a metal mold. If you need a test, size your art and print it out at home to see how it may look. Colors cannot touch each other without a border between them. Think of it likes walls keeping the colors in where they need to be.
I have a ton of colors and/or my art is really detailed...can we still make pins?
I can get offset printed hard enamel pins made. Offset printing onto the pins can get you full color and are flat and have a thin clear coat on top to protect the printing. When your art is not pin friendly, it can be a great option.
Can I get my logo on the back of the pins? (Check gallery for examples)
YES! It adds $40 to the total, but for a company, my personal belief is it is worth every penny. For example, if you get 100 pins, it adds a flat $40. If you get 200 pins, its the same $40. It's basically just another fee for the mold which is why it's a flat fee regardless of quantity. I can get printed logos on the back to for about the same price, but email for exact rates.
Can I use the same back print on multiple designs for the same price?
Yes. As long as it works at the same size, I can charge the $40 one time and use it on all of your pins. This also applies to future pins you order. I can have the back stamp added at no cost.
What kind of file do you need?
We will need vector art. That can be an AI file or EPS/PDF vector. If you don't know how to do that properly, just send me what you've got and I'll get us sorted. If you don't know how to do that, just send me a high resolution file that you have and I can see what we can do. I can usually make a vector form a good sized, clean file in any file type.
Can you help me with my art?
Email me what you've got and I will see if it's usable. If I need to convert it to a proper AI or EPS vector file for you, I can with clean art. If you took your image from the interwebs, it most likely won't work. If your art needs a lot of work, there will be art time charged and I will let you know the cost. Most things can be converted pretty easily if it was created in some kind of art software.
All I have is a photo of a drawing I did...Can I make pins with it?
I can have a professional artist re-draw your art from your drawing in Adobe Illustrator and on average it will cost $75. Something really complex may run around $100. Just send what you have by email and I can asses it. If you don't have clean art, we can't make a pin. Keep in mind this is a manufactured product and if it takes $75 for you to get your art how it's needed, it's just part of the process if you are unable to make a clean digital file. The artist will go in by hand and properly outline your artwork and this takes on average 1.5-2 hrs, so it's paying for labor time of a professional artist. If you send me something you drew on your iPad or Photoshop, I should be able to make a vector at no charge.
I've got this great idea(traced screenshot from an episode of a tv show) pin...will you make it?
No. I have no interest in making products of unlicensed artwork. I'm sure there are plenty of places that will make them for you. I'm not that guy. If it's legit parody or some original artistic take that is off brand, I'm ok with it. I do not want to make your disney rip off pins. Intellectual property is something I value. Just because it may be part of pop culture does not mean that someone didn't put years into creating something original, so you profiting from their ideas is not ok in my eyes. I can't recognize everything but if I do, I won't make it.
Part B....will you make "fan art" pins?
No. Still not your property and legally, you can sell a single item of fan art you made but you are not allowed to merchandise it into 100 pins or prints or shirts. A single piece of fan art is considered a private commission. That by no means makes it legal to create a product from it to sell. I know you see everyone selling rip off pins, but I don't want to make them.
What makes a pin "die-cut"?
When a pin's shape isn't very complex, they use an iron base metal(under the plating) and we can get away with a lot of shapes with it. If a shape is more complex and maybe has some cut in areas or a hole in it, they will use a Zinc alloy base metal. Think of jagged hair and those tiny cut it's or the cut up into between two legs, etc. the zinc is softer, so it allows for cleaner cuts and finer details. It simply has a higher raw materials cost and labor time associated with sanding down the shapes which is why it costs more.
Do pins come on backing cards?
Not automatically. They come individually bagged. I can get them put onto backing cards and bagged for you. The first 100 is $50 and they are $25 per additional 100. You are paying for the printing, materials, labor and added weight to airmail. Standard backing card size is 80mm x 54mm. There is also an option for a 100mm x 75mm card(closer to 4" x 3"). The factory made backing cards are a 14pt stock and have some flex and bend to them.
Is it worth getting them carded and bagged?
It's a time/value decision. If you are getting 100 made, it could take you an hour or so to card and bag them yourself at home while watching some netflix. It also requires you to order cards and bags yourself. If you move a lot of product and sell at a lot of events or retail, it's probably worth it to get them ready to ship right away. Buying cheap business cards and 100 bags may run you $25-40 and getting 100 carded and bagged from the factory will end up adding $50 for the first 100 and $25 per each additional 100. If you've ever ordered business cards before, you know the cost of the cards barely goes up with quantity. You are mostly paying for labor.
I can find cards for cheap online...why is it $50 for the first 100?
Yes, you can find cards and possibly bags online for cheap. The fee for the first 100 is for the labor of carding and bagging them all in addition to the cost of printed cards and bags. If you are quick, you may be able to card and bag about 60-70 in an hour. Time = money. If you have 500 pins and need to card them at home, it may take you about 5-6 hrs to do. Some people don't mind maybe doing 25 at a time and doing more when they need them. I have zero mark up on the packaging, so I have no reason to upsell it to you. For busy people, it is a great option.
Where can I get my own backing cards printed?
I suggest using at least a 16pt paper stock if you want them rigid and 14pt if you like them to have some flex. If you want digital printing done, check out some places like gotprint.com or nextdayflyers.com or google for cheap business cards. Some people just get business cards made up and use those as you can often find a place doing $30 for 500. If you'd like a more personal experience with digital printing or are looking for a letterpress backing card to get fancy, hit up Bill at west park creative.
Where Can I find bags for the pins and cards?
I've had a good experience with Clear Bags. They also have some retail ready bags too if you need ones with that retail hole in them for display on racks. Obviously make sure you know the size of your card first before you order any bags. I can also get your retail bags from the factory if you are getting them carded with me. A retail bag is one of those with the hole up top for placing on a rack.
What is the turn-around time?
Pins take 12-18 business days(aka a weekday) to get to me from time of payment and art approval. Part of the fee charged includes airmail next day of your pins to me and once I have them, they ship in a flat rate USPS priority box(included in your price). It's the cheapest and fastest way to ship them due to weight. Basically, from proof approval to your door will average 3-4 weeks.
Process steps once we have decided on how to make the pins.
1. Invoice gets sent to you/ paid to PGS
2. If not provided, I will make a reference sheet to double check all colors and details before the files go to the factory
3. Within 24-48 hrs, we will be provided a digital proof from the factory that shows the mold lines and details. If approved, they move forward to schedule the pins or we can request changes and get new proofs. Nothing moves to production without your approval.
4. Once approved, production begins and takes about 12-18 business days.
5. I will get notified of shipping date and update you on estimated arrival time.
6. Once they arrive to me, I snap a quick picture for you to email you and update tracking via paypal and email.
7. The pins ship same day they arrive to me and ship priority mail to you(2-3 days in transit) and that's included in your pricing.
What happens after I submit my order and pay?
Within 48hrs, I will email you a proof for approval that will have colors and all information to either approve or make changes before production. After that we wait and as soon as I get notice of the eta I will update you.
What kind of clasp do they come with?
My default are the black rubber clasps, but we can do metal butterfly(same cost) or deluxe backers(+$0.25 per pin). Between butterfly metal ones and rubber ones, they each have their own faults and strengths. I find most people use the rubber ones so they can't snag on clothing and because we have multiple fun color options.
What kind of metal options do I have?
Who is running this company?
Greg from Miles to go runs Pin Game Strong. I have been making products for others for over 15 years and have been trusted with huge IP's. I have also made pins for a lot of other companies as a favor and am now offering them to everyone.
What do I need to order pins?
You need your own art that you can send me. As long as it's a clean file, I should be able to make it work. Simply let me know the quantity, size and metal choice if it's not obvious from your sent art. If your outline is yellow, I'm going to assume gold, etc.
How do I pay?
You will be sent an invoice from PayPal on smaller orders. All payments and billing will be run through Pin Game Strong LLC and will appear as such on your bill. For large orders, we can do other options like a quickbooks invoice with a CC or a check. I do not give terms on pins. You pay me, I pay the factory and we are rolling.
How much should I sell my pins for?
Most people price pins at $10-12 on their site with $10 being the most common price. Example. You get 200 pins made for $325. You need to sell 33 of them to break even and the other 167 of them are all profit = +$1670
Can I trust you with my art and products?
Any art you send me is protected and I value how important that is. As a brand owner over 10 years, IP is everything. My brand is currently in over 300 retail stores and I have had my own brand knocked off, so I take production and product creation very seriously. I'm not a fly by night guy with a crazy new website idea. This is my living. If you want me to sign some sort of form or an NDA, etc, I will. None of your products will be posted in the gallery or on social media until after you have released it officially.
Where do the pins ship from once in the states?
I ship from Phoenix, AZ and flat rate priority is 2-3 days in transit to everywhere.