Pin trader beginnings
I thought "buy a few pins, stick them on a board for some decoration" and that would be it. I didn't know at this point about trading, fantasy pins, scrappers and fakes. I soon began to learn very fast about the things I wish I knew from the beginning.
My Instagram page is where I learned the most, from dealing with bigger traders, making friends with pin designers and also just learning the hard way. So lets dip the toe in, and not fall in head first this time.
Trading with cast members
The rules are: pin for pin, you pick both and don't touch the cast members lanyard. This isn't always the experience I've had. I always put pins I'm not interested in on my lanyard so I don't mind what stays and what goes, so I never lost a pin I wanted. If you want to keep one, put it away. I came across a cast member who picked which pin they wanted and told me which ones I could pick from on their lanyard. Sometimes it can be hard to say no, or ask if you can do a different trade but I found if I have the pin I want to trade with ready, they tend to say sure! It's also worth noting, you can only trade what's on staff lanyards and not their uniforms. Oh, and if they have an LE (limited edition) on their lanyard, chances are it's fake so don't get too excited.
This is the hard one. Most people you deal with are absolutely lovely, I could sit here and name a tun. I have made some of the bestest friends and have been so lucky to trade with such wonderful people for such amazing pins, but, and there is always a but, not everyone is good. Unfortunately, there are people who ruin the fun for us all. Always be wary of pins that are well known to be faked, always ask for close ups of pins and don't forget the back for waffling! (I'll explain why soon ) Anyone who is a genuine trader/seller will always be happy to provide these photos for you. It's also worth discussing with your fellow trader your shipping terms. I myself, would ship standard postage that does not include tracking. This was a mistake I learned very early in the pin trading world. Apparently it's customary to ship with tracking regardless of the value or amount of pins. This was unknown to me and also, to be honest, not something I liked. I live in Ireland, where pin trading is about as common as a summer's day, (what's that?...) So when trading I am always dealing internationally. The small packages to the UK are fine, but the larger ones to America caused problems. With tracking starting at €14, and standard shipping at €3, I have now gotten into the habit of asking "is it okay to ship standard?" As to double check we are both on the same page. My post office also provide stamped certificates with addresses and dates as proof so this has always been happily received when shipping standard.
Oh the wonderful world of fantasy pins. Some of my favourite pins are fantasy and I'm proud to say I've created them too. For those who don't know, a fantasy pins is an unofficial pin, made my a normal Joe soap like you or me but are not tradeable in the parks (with cast members that is). There are people high up in this game, with huge followings and massive profits from fantasy pins. Then there are others, who make no profit but just want to see their pin come to life. Fantasy pins are amazing, beautiful and can be so different, big, small, glittered, glass, you name it, but as with everything again, there are risks. Say right now, for example, I have a design I'm hoping to get into production. The artwork is sent off to be approved and your quote comes back. Then begins the advertising process. This can be fun, but hard. You have a design you made yourself, worked on for hours and you believe to be the best thing yet! But here it is, not getting funded, no one likes it, your heart is broke. Then it can go great! Everyone loves it, your spots fill in a day and everything is rosey in the garden. Sometimes, once production starts, some things may look slightly different, colours may be off or lines could be unfinished. Any good pin creator will have regular updates for those who pre ordered so this is where you can make sure your getting exactly what you signed up for!
Without wanting to go on forever, I think these three points are all helpful and informative to anyone starting out pin trading. I'll keep writing tips and tricks I wish I knew at the start. Until then, happy trading !
Written by Dreamingofdisney__ - Sunday 01 September 2019
This article was last updated on Thursday 04 March 2021.
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This is a great article. I always find it really interesting learning about fantasy pins and I'm sure it can be quite stressful being involved in the production of fantasy pins. I appreciate folk like you doing it though, some of my favourite pins are my mash up fantasy pins!
Amazing post! Thanks so much for sharing :-)