Interview with Michelle about her pin collection

Today we’re happy to share our interview with pin (and mineral) enthusiast Michelle. We hope you enjoy reading her story!

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us today Michelle, let’s start with introductions; can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Michelle (@mishmash on here), and I’m 22 years old. I’m relatively new to pin trading as I started to collect in 2019, but so far, I’ve had an absolutely fantastic time getting involved in the trading community. I visited Disney World annually until 2020, so I am very excited to go this July! In addition to Disney pins, I also collect keys and Baymax memorabilia.
Some of Michelle's keys
Some of Michelle's keys
Outside of Disney stuff, I have a degree in environmental science and work in that field. I also have a collection of minerals that has about 200 specimens, so that, combined with pin collecting, makes my wallet incredibly sad. 

I guess in geological terms, 2019 is incredibly recent! How did you get into pin trading?

A friend of mine had offered to sell me his pins as they were inherited from his grandmother, and he knew I liked Disney. I bought them because there was a Tink pin I liked, and I had a small Tink collection from my mother who bought them for me when I was young. 

I decided to do some research on these new pins and fell in love with the hobby after learning more about the trading community and just how many pins existed. 

At this point, I had no idea that pin trading in Disney was a thing. I always thought that cast members wore lanyards with pins as a decoration! 

That summer, I dove headfirst into trading and collecting and have been slowly growing that collection ever since. I also got into local trading, such as the New Jersey Disney Pin Traders events. 

I cannot wait to do more trading this summer!

The New Jersey Disney Pin Traders events always look so fun! What are your main collections, and why?

Just some of Michelle's collection
Just some of Michelle's collection

I have a lot of collections as I always seem to be finding new adorations, but some collections I’ve had from the start are Baymax, Tink, Cinderella Castle, and geology/the environment. 

I have also been wanting to start an Elinowy collection but don’t have any pins with her yet.

Tink has always been my favorite Disney character as I loved her design and sass. 

I am not 100% sure when my love for Baymax began, but my collection of him is the biggest, and I try to collect as much of him as possible. How can you not love that huggable design?
Michelle's Baymax collection
Michelle's Baymax collection
I don’t feel like I’m in Disney World until I see Cinderella Castle, so this collection was a must as it brings me so much nostalgic comfort.

Geology and the environment are the main focuses of my work and research, so I thought it’d be cool to have a related collection!

That is so cool, and across those collections, how many pins do you have?

Probably around 500? I try to keep an excel sheet but never have the time to update it. Though probably more if you include my traders, I’ve been accumulating more and more during the pandemic. 

And what would you say is your favourite pin?

There are too many! I’ll have a favorite pin one day, and the next, it’ll be different. 

I, of course, am favorable to pins that are part of my main collections, but honestly, anything with a cool design will catch my eye. 

I like series that depict characters as objects, like the stamp or umbrella magical mystery pins, but I also love pins with more of an artsy and detailed look.

I’ve also started getting into fantasy pins because many of them are beautifully detailed, so I love reading all of the recent interviews with creators!

That is lovely to hear! (if anyone is interested, here is one such interview we did!). What do you like most about pin trading?

I love the community the most! When I attended my first trading event with a club, I was extremely nervous because I didn’t have many traders, but everyone was super sweet and took the time to talk to me about our mutual love for the hobby. I am a very anxious person by nature, so these events have really helped me open up! I haven’t traded with anyone (besides cast members) in the parks yet, but I’m excited for the first time it does happen!

And if you could change one thing about pin trading, what would it be?

Cheaper. Pins. 

I really wish Disney would somehow make pins cheaper because this is getting to be a really expensive hobby, and my student loans aren’t going anywhere.

I know Disney knows pin collecting is popular, and that’s why prices keep going up, but I just wish pins were a little more cost-effective, especially since their quality control has been going down.

I also feel like cheaper pins would lead to fewer scrappers since a lot of people buy scrappers to save money. And I think most of us can agree that scrappers are a pain to deal with.

100%! Do you have any advice for someone who wants to get into pin trading?

Learn about the hobby first! My biggest mistake going into this was not doing my research. I didn’t know about fakes or scrappers or even the difference between an LE and an LR! Watch videos, read blogs and articles (like on this lovely website!) and talk to other hobbyists. Trust me, knowing your stuff will help you greatly!


That is excellent advice to end on. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your collection with us, Michelle.

If you would like to be interviewed about your pin collection, please get in touch!

Written by tosbourn - Monday 24 May 2021

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  1. Thanks so much for interviewing me, it was really fun speaking with you about my hobbies! :)

    mishmash mishmash - 27 May 2021 1:40 PM