Are you thinking of creating enamel pins to sell in your online or in-person shop… but don’t have any idea of how to turn your vision into a reality?
Nowadays, anyone can create high-quality custom enamel pins – no complex machinery, fancy materials, or niche expertise required! As long as you have a laptop, you can partner with an enamel pin manufacturer to create the pins of your dreams no matter where in the world you’re located.
But here’s the thing – just because there are a lot of manufacturers out there doesn’t mean they’re all gonna give you the same great result.
The difference between a quality enamel pin and a cheap one can be disastrous for you, your customers, and your business.
But if you’re planning on partnering with an overseas factory to save on costs and streamline production, how are you supposed to vet the production quality? (As nice as it would be, you can’t very well pay each factory a personal visit!)
Here at The/Studio, we know our way around enamel pin manufacturing companies. We have decades of experience working with leading factories… along with some other factories that we later found didn’t quite live up to our high quality standards.
Over time, we’ve discovered a few must-haves when choosing the right enamel pin manufacturer for your product… along with a few red flags you definitely shouldn’t turn a blind eye to.
Wondering how to find a high-quality enamel pin manufacturer? We’ve put together a list of important things to look for so you can guarantee you’ll end up with beautiful pins your customers will love. Read on to learn what to look for when researching enamel pin manufacturers and how to find an enamel pin manufacturer.
What to Look For in the Best Enamel Pin Manufacturer
Especially if you’re just about to launch your enamel pin business, you simply can’t afford to partner with a manufacturer with poor materials, unreliable fulfillment practices, or shoddy workmanship. But aside from visiting the factory yourself or placing a custom pin order to inspect the products, how can you be sure you’re getting the best value? Here’s a list of a few key things to look for before partnering with an enamel pin manufacturer for your business.
Multiple pin options
Maybe you’ve got your set on selling enamel pins… but did you know that there are different types of enamel pins out there? Hard enamel pins offer a bold, smooth, classic look, while soft enamel pins allow for a higher level of detail. And if you’re willing to think outside the box, die-struck pins, offset printed pins, and 3D mold pins are also great options. Partnering with an enamel pin manufacturer that offers a wide variety will give you the freedom to offer various types of pins in your shop and cater to different audiences.
You’re already taking the trouble to create your own 100% unique custom pins to sell in your shop… make sure your pin manufacturer offers plenty of customization options so you can bring your vision to life! Look for a wide variety of pin backing, materials, colors, and finishes.
Ease of use
Creating your very own custom product can be daunting. Too often, it involves lots of back-and-forth between various manufacturers or suppliers at once. So if you’re a smaller company that’s just starting out, look for a company with a straightforward product creation system. No phone calls, no in-person visits, no coordinating between multiple vendors – just a streamlined online process that respects your time and yields great results.
If you want your custom pins to sell, you need an original, eye-catching design. Even if you’re an artist who’s planning on handling most of the design work yourself, it’s still a good idea to choose a pin manufacturer with in-house designers so you can pass your gorgeous design into capable hands.
If you’re not much of an artist but you’ve got a great idea in your head, a pin manufacturer that offers free design services with your order can help you bring that idea to life. Look for a pin manufacturer who offers free design services AND free revisions in case they don’t get the design perfect the first time.
Production quality is everything. The LAST thing you need is a factory that cuts corners – after all, your business is going to have to stand by your products! When you’re outsourcing to an overseas factory, it’s difficult to know what exactly you’ll get. Look for a company that partners with leading factories and stands behind their quality.
Great customer service
You’ll typically enjoy the best margins if you work with overseas factories to produce your pins… but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with overseas customer service. Look for a company with highly acclaimed, U.S.-based customer service so you can communicate with native English speakers during regular business hours. (Ideally, one where you can get 24/7 support!)
Hey, you want to partner with a manufacturer you can trust… but you ALSO don’t want to have to trust them blindly. It’s best to be able to see and feel a prototype of the finished product before placing an order of hundreds of them. That way, you’re more likely to catch any possible mistakes early on in the process so you’re sure the end result is something your customers will be thrilled about.
Look for a company that will send you a physical prototype of your pin, or at the very least a photo prototype showing every angle.
Fast turnaround time
We know business moves fast
- While production takes time, sometimes you have an idea or a trend that you want to jump on right away
- Look for a company with a fast turnaround time that’s measured in weeks, not months
- If you’re really in a hurry, look for one that offers expedited shipping so you can get your pins in your customers’ hands that much faster
This one might sound a bit obvious, but it’s worth mentioning! Ordering from an overseas factory can be a very shrewd business decision, but it doesn’t automatically mean you’re getting the best price or the best value.
While you shouldn’t necessarily look for the absolute lowest price available without considering other factors (you get what you pay for!), you still want to make sure you’re getting a competitive price that will offer you excellent margins. The lower price you pay per item, the more you stand to make from each sale. Look for a pin manufacturer that offers fair, competitive pricing.
When you’re ordering $100+ worth of merchandise from your favorite online store, it’s practically a given that shipping will be free. Unfortunately, that isn’t often the case when you’re ordering custom pins from an overseas supplier online! Some pin manufacturers advertise very low prices… then hit you with all kinds of hidden fees, including shipping. And international shipping can be really pricey, especially for large orders. Look for an enamel pin manufacturer that offers free U.S. shipping so you can cut down on your costs and avoid any unwelcome surprises.
When you’re ordering custom manufactured products, most factories have a minimum order quantity (MOQ) you’ll have to meet to place an order
But when you’re just launching a new business, it can be difficult to invest enough cash to meet that minimum threshold. And those minimums aren’t always very small! Some factories require a minimum order of 1000+ pieces, and it can be really daunting to order that much right off the bat without money coming in or customers to purchase them.
Choosing an enamel pin manufacturer with low or even no minimum order quantities will give you the flexibility to place a lower-risk order in the beginning, or order a few different styles to see how each performs in your shop before making a larger commitment. (Just know that you’ll typically get a better price if you place a larger order!)
Wondering how you can know whether a manufacturer really is as great as it says it is? Don’t take the company’s word for it – look up customer reviews! You’ll get unfiltered insight into the ordering process, the customer service, and the products themselves that way. Check out their reviews on TrustPilot, the Better Business Bureau, and their own website. Read all the reviews you can – positive, negative, and in-between – to get a complete picture.
You also may want to consider crowdsourcing opinions and informal reviews from Facebook groups – many business owners are more than happy to share their relevant experiences with fellow entrepreneurs.
This is a big one. If you’re going to invest your hard-earned money into a custom product and put your own name behind it, you’d better be certain your manufacturer will deliver on its promises! Look for a manufacturer that offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. That way, you’ll know for sure that you’ll either end up with a result you’re thrilled about or get your money back. If the company you partner with is reputable and offers a guarantee, you’ve really got nothing to lose.
If a pin manufacturer doesn’t offer any money-back guarantees or returns or buyer protection, that’s a red flag for sure. This may be the most important factor to look for when choosing an enamel pin manufacturer – don’t compromise on this one!
How to Find an Enamel Pin Manufacturer
Now that you know how to recognize a great enamel pin manufacturer, it’s time to find the right company to partner with. Here are a few things you can do to make your search for the best enamel pin manufacturer a little easier.
Don’t assume that the first enamel pin manufacturer you come across is automatically the best option. The manufacturer you choose can dramatically affect the quality of your products and your bottom line – set aside some time to shop around before settling on one. A quick Google search will give you various options.
Read about each company’s policies, product creation processes, guarantees, shipping timelines, etc. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a customer service representative if you have any questions you can’t find answers to on their site.
Got any business owner friends? Ask them what manufacturers they work with to create custom products! While custom enamel pins may be a bit niche, hearing about personal custom ordering experiences from people you trust can help you get a better idea of what to expect. You also might consider joining Facebook groups to expand your network of fellow business owners creating custom products and get some honest feedback. (The/Studio Facebook group is a great resource!)
Try a few out
If you identify an enamel pin manufacturer or two with low MOQs you can afford, why not try them on for size? Place an order on the smaller side to get a feel for the product creation process, the level of support you can expect from the company, and the quality of pins they produce. Then, place a larger order once you feel more comfortable and know which company you like best. It involves a small investment and a bit of patience, but it’s the surest way to figure out what an enamel pin manufacturer really has to offer.
The/Studio is a great enamel pin manufacturer to start with, with plenty of customization options, a straightforward design process, great customer service, fair pricing, free shipping, low MOQs, satisfaction guaranteed, and more. Basically, it checks all the boxes!
Ready to work with a great enamel pin manufacturer to bring your product ideas to life? Start the process here.