With the boom of social media that started in the early part of the decade, the market of personalized pins rode the wave. It is now at an all-time high! If you’re interested, you can also earn from home by selling enamel pins.
Personalized lapel pins, personalized badges, even personalized pin badges, they are all the rage today.
All thanks to the numerous Facebook fandoms (Fan Kingdoms), Instagram influencers, and even trending Twitter threads where people are able to see them.
Social media has gathered the fans of the cute-sized personalized pins and gave them a platform to do business.
Whether its fan-made versions of personalized pins from a famous brand, or your standard indie brands, people are hyped for them!
If you have the soul of an artist and the tricks of an entrepreneur, then you can definitely be the next big shop online.
Here are the four most important steps to produce and earn from enamel pins.
The First Step to Earning with Enamel Pins: Planning
Plan your act, and act your plan.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? That may be, but there are some factors you need to consider, especially when turning your hobby into a full – fledged business.
1. Creating Your Brand
The first thing to do as you start your venture as an enamel pin seller is to create your own, unique brand of personalized pins.
What kind of pins are you looking to create? What target market do you cater to? The materials, the designs, and the audience will come right after.
Take a look at these sample pins from Instagram. We searched this using #pinstagram.
After creating your brand, you then decide what kind of personalized enamel pins to make.
- Personalized Lapel Pins – Worn in clothing, usually collared shirts and jackets, lapel pins are mostly used to indicate the wearer’s organizational affiliation. Lapel pins are a hit with the students and school alumna.
- Personalized Pin Badges – Usually round in shape and lightweight, pin badges are famously used in campaigns and collection. This is because its round shape allows for intricate printed designs. Personalized pin badges are valuable to collectors and brand fans.
- Personalized Photo pins – Personalized photo pins are usually very specific in design, easily fastened, and are great gifts for all occasions!
2. Knowing Your Audience
Now that you know what you want to create, it is time to know who to create it for.
When looking for a market, one of the best things to do is hop on social media, find a niche, and listen to the audience themselves!
Know what’s hot, what’s not, and what’s the next big thing in the market of personalized pins.
For instance, if you are creating food-themed personalized pins, then look for trendy food pages and groups in Facebook as they have a range of niches to choose from.
Influencers and their followers order personalized pins related mostly to famous movies, books, and musicians.
Meanwhile, Pinterest, Twitter and Reddit are hubs for unique and quirky one-of-a-kind personalized metal pins that go viral over time.
3. Designing Your Products
If you can produce designs yourself, then you have your work cut out for you!
However, if you have no background in design, then the next best thing is to find a designer who share you vision.
Fiverr is our number one go-to for finding professionals that fit our needs and, ahem, our budget. Aside from showcasing their skills, Fiverr allows previous clients to leave a feedback on the professional’s page to give you a hint of how good they are at what they do.
When you’ve found the right person for the job, here are a few things you need to discuss with him/her in order to make the process seamless.
- As your linework translates through the actual material, it is best to incorporate the material’s colors in the design. This is in order to get a more realistic idea of what it would look like.
- Complex lining and designs require more intricate molding. This could cost you a pricier mold, and make the production longer.
Avoid this by making it simpler, keeping in mind the size of your personalized pins.
- Open lines lead to bleeding or mixing of colors. Make sure all lines are closed by other, intersecting lines.
You can go for a simpler design so it would not be as expensive and you’d earn from enamel pins selling.
The Second Step to Earn Money from Enamel Pins: Finance
There are many ways to get a jump start on the financial aspects of this business. It all depends on your starting capital.
Do you have all the finances you need as you start? Or do you still need a little backing from others?
Making cheap personalized pins is a serious business, but with the miracle of modern technology, it can be made simpler.
As you start your business venture, you are going to need capital. This will cover the production cost, the marketing, and other miscellaneous fees that you might encounter in the manufacturing.
Currently, there are three doable ways to get you started.
1. Your Own Starting Capital
Having your own money to begin with puts you in a secure position to make better decisions.
You know your capabilities and limitations right from the get go, and therefore you would not need to rely on another party for approval.
Investing your own money shows brand strength and vision.
Another way to get funding nowadays is through ‘crowdfunding’.
Made popular today by entities like Kickstarter and GoFundMe, crowdfunding gives independent creators a chance to compete in the market. They solely rely on the awesomeness and grandeur of their vision and ideas.
To succeed with getting funds this way, you would have to promote heavily among your peers. Utilize your social media accounts.
Tip: Creating and taking pictures of a sample pin make people more likely to buy or fund the project. If you only have your design, make sure it looks really good. You can make it look 3D enough using graphics programs. If you don’t know how to do this, hire someone from Fiverr! For just $5, you’ll be able to make your design look even better.
If you believe in your product enough to be able to entice people into supporting its production, then you already have the capital and the audience to cater to.
Two birds in one stone!
This type of finance generation relies on the current hype of a certain niche or brand. This is quite famous in the market of personalized pins.
If you have tons of marvelous designs to choose from, having them pre-ordered is a safe choice. You only manufacture as ordered, without the fear of stocks being around for a long time (and not getting bought).
The production process might take longer, but better safe than sorry, right?
Pre-order works great if you have samples of the pins. Again, if you don’t, it would be best to hire someone to make your design stand out!
The Third Step to Earn Money from Enamel Pins: Production
Now here comes the third part of the process, the production!
After you have established your identity and envisioned a unique and one of a kind product of personalized pins, it is time to make it a reality.
But how do you do that, exactly?
1. Choosing A Manufacturer
After creating outstanding designs and choosing a target market, the next step would be to find the industrial partner that will bring your visions to life.
European and American companies have jumped to the bandwagon and are now mass-producing cheap personalized pins per design.
However, Asian companies work with cheaper fees and faster production time.
Choose manufacturers for the quality of their work, industrial capabilities, and previous samples.
Know which ones are specializing in personalized lapel pins, whether they be photo pins, enamel pins or pin badges. Knowing the manufacturer’s strengths and capabilities should factor in in your decision making.
Personalized pins and personalized metal pins are mostly directed to a specific audience. And so to bring out your ideas greater to a targeted taste, choose a manufacturer that you can work easily with.
Take note of language barriers, time zones, and the overall details of communication you are comfortable with.
A well-maintained relationship with your partner manufacturer could go a long way. This is true especially in a business that heavily relies with an industrial partner.
Cheap personalized pins and high end pins differ in reality, so it is important to look at the manufacturer’s samples before committing to one.
Check heavily for the possible problems you could face with a certain company, for it could spell a disaster in the quality of your brand.
After finding a manufacturer who you can communicate with ease, the next step is to talk about the pricing.
Make sure you understand each other thoroughly as you talk about the actual dimensions and design of the product. This is so you will get a proper quotation on the financial aspects.
2. Choosing the Material for your Enamel Pin
After working with the possible compromises you might have encountered with the production and design transition, you then select the materials.
There are two types of enamel pins, hard enamel pins and soft enamel pins.
- Hard Enamel Pins – Hard enamel pins are more durable, and has a smoother surface. It takes longer to produce as the enamel is applied earlier, and the colors are added and baked one by one.
As a result they have a smoother surface and are not likely to fade with colors, but they are made longer, and the prices are usually higher.
- Soft Enamel Pins – Soft enamel pins are famous for being vividly colored and heavily texted.
It is with this versatility that most enamel pins are made with it. That and aside from the fact that it is cheaper and made with much faster than its counterpart.
3. Actual Production
Once you have figured out what kind of enamel pin you want, you can move on to the next stage. The actual production of the personalize pins.
This is the most delicate part of the process, and the most nerve-wracking.
For first-time creators, this is the moment of truth to know whether it will be a fruitful process or a flop, in which case you can switch manufacturers early on.
Tip: Before the actual manufacturing starts, ask your manufacturer if they can give you a sample first. This way you can check whether the pins are created exactly the way you want them to. Then you can discuss adjustments.
There are three kinds of lapel pins depending on the make:
- Molded pins — delicately made with intricate molds, however they are pricier and heavier;
- Standard die-struck pins – usually the ones made in gold, silver, or copper;
- Printed pins – the lighter make and fastest to produce among the three.
Depending on this, your production process may differ in the beginning.
After the initial process (depending on the type of pin), the next step is the polishing and the plating, where the matte or the elegant high-luster finishing is applied.
It is then colored, baked, dried, and coated with layer of epoxy-resin to prevent the cracking of the enamel. This also prevents the fading of the colors.
After the pins are created, it is only a matter of choosing the right kind of attachment that goes with it.
Here you have a few options like the rubber clutch, the butterfly clutch, and the magnetic closure just to name a few.
And voila! Your pins are finally ready!
Another Tip: While you’re waiting for the pins to be manufactured and ship to you, you can already start your marketing efforts. Check Step 4 for marketing and selling details.
Now here is the tricky part: how long will it take for the products to arrive at your doorstep?
This is where your manufacturer selection process will come in handy. Did you pick a manufacturer near you, or a plane ride away?
How and when the products will arrive is important to your business.
Some personalized pins are made with the hype of a recent movie or show, and are therefore seasonal.
Will it arrive on time as the hype is at a high, or will it arrive after the season?
You will need the pins at least a month before your chosen event, so communicate with your manufacturer clearly about their shipping schedules.
Expect for them to arrive in about two to three weeks, and maybe leave an allowance of a few days just to be safe. That way, you would not create an unrealistic timeframe for your manufacturer and yourself.
The Fourth Step to Earn from Enamel Pins: Marketing
If you generated funds using crowdfunding as indicated in Step 2, then you are well on your way. By now, you have an idea of what sort of crowd you attract.
If you didn’t go the crowdfunding route or you did but you don’t have the data of your market, then follow these marketing steps.
Use social media heavily.
An enamel pin is a fashion statement, and what better place to promote this than in your social media accounts? If you have not yet created social media account for your pin business, now’s the time to do so.
Here’s where you should start:
- Instagram – read this article by Neil Patel on “How to Build an E-commerce Brand Using Instagram When You Have No Followers” because basically, you’re starting from scratch. You can always use your personal Instagram account, but then it will be mixed with your personal stuff.
- Facebook – you can use your personal account to create a Facebook Business Page. Don’t worry, a business page is a separate entity and will not be mixed with your personal profile. You just have the advantage of logging in from one account. Read Hootsuite’s guide on How to Create a Facebook Business Page to get you started.
Then join Facebook groups of the same interests as your niche, as mentioned in the first step. Make sure to interact first before promoting your pins. Make sure the groups you join allow promotion as well.
Finally, post your products in Facebook Market Place. It’s free. Increase you range by posting your for sale items in various cities and states.
- Twitter – similar to Instagram, you should create a separate account for Twitter. Here’s Agropulse’s guide on How to Build a Brand on Twitter.
For all these social media sites, utilize Neil Patel’s technique in having games. This encourages participation among your followers, giving your brand more exposure.
Create your own web store in Shopify.
People are more likely to buy from a professional-looking website. Furthermore, having a website makes it easier for people to process payments and for you to manage inventory. We always recommend Shopify because it is user-friendly.
It also has pre-built templates for you to use. Just tinker around the site and within a day, you will have your full-pledged web store ready for selling!
Then again, if you’re too busy (or scared) to build your webstore yourself, you can always seek the assistance of a professional in Fiverr.
You should always start with promoting your products organically (which means not spending on advertising). Why? Because this way you get to learn about who your target market is first. Else, you will be spending a lot of money testing with ads (because whatever an online marketer says, spending money for ads does not always equal money, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing).
In conclusion, these are the factors you need to consider and the steps you need to take in order to make your personalized pin business the next big pin shop out there.
- Know how it is made
- Know how long it takes
- Know how to price it properly
- Know which audiences will order personalized pins cheap
- Know which manufacturers will produce personalized pins wholesale
- Know which companies respond to smaller orders
- And finally, know how to market your products.
If you put enough knowledge, energy, and time with this little venture of yours, soon enough you will be big enough for bigger events and sales.
Whether its personalized pins for birthday, holidays, or just plain bazaars, you will soon have a pin brand everyone knows!