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Pin Box 2.0

Pin Box 2.0

Pin Box Update and Future Direction

Back in April 2023, I announced a change of direction for Pin Box. While these changes were made with the best of intentions, upon reflection, they were not the path Pin Box needed to take. Over the past year, I’ve faced a series of challenges, some of which I’ve shared publicly, while others I have not. It’s become clear that these issues need to be minimized moving forward. As the sole person behind Pin Box, I need to simplify the operations of what has turned into an overly ambitious project.

TL;DR:

  • No More Pre-Orders: Except for non-Pin Box products (e.g., Streaming Arrow Records Vinyls).
  • Discontinuing Current Box and Card Formats: No more production of current box and card formats for pins.
  • New Packaging Style: All standard pins will move to a new packaging style with a reduced RRP of £11.99.
  • Availability: Pins with new packaging available from July 1st, 2024.
  • Final Clearance Sale: Existing pins with current boxes and cards on sale until June 30th, 2024.
  • Bringing Back Older Designs: Including a full Nihon Falcom back catalogue and new EX range.

For those who want the full details and reasoning, please read on.

Discontinuing of Pre-Orders

Moving forward, Pin Box will no longer offer pre-orders for its products. I believe this change will be welcomed by most customers. Any Pin Box product listed for sale on the site will be available for immediate dispatch, or as soon as I am physically able to send it. This decision comes mainly due to the delays we’ve encountered from missing shipments and quality control issues. While these problems were not directly caused by us, they resulted in everyone not receiving their orders within the promised time frame, which never sat right with me.

By only making products available when they are physically in the warehouse, I can better manage shipping schedules and ensure a quicker turnaround. This change has already resulted in faster shipping times for our clothing products released recently.

Please Note: While this applies to Pin Box brand items, there may be occasions where we list items on a pre-order basis, such as the vinyl from Streaming Arrow Records, which we distribute on behalf of another company.

Pin Packaging Overhaul

As mentioned above, we've suffered from having shipments go missing and issues with quality and consistency, specifically with the boxes for our products. This is a direct result of them being produced in China, where I have limited ability to oversee production, and unfortunately, photos only go so far. Even when quality hasn’t been an issue, getting them over to me in the UK has proven to be an issue time and time again. The result has been a lot of frustration for customers and for myself. While removing pre-orders from the site removes this element for customers, it does not remove the issues that I personally face in producing these products, and that needed to change for my own well-being and the future of Pin Box.

My initial plan was to find a manufacturer for the boxes in the UK, where I could have a direct hand in the production and remove the months of shipping time it took to get them from China. The cheapest quote I could find was £11.70 + VAT per box, totaling over the retail price of our pins; this was not the solution I was looking for. I also got quotes from various places in the EU, so that production was at least closer, but to no avail. It was at this point I realized that the boxes as they are today are not viable in the long run. They cost too much to make, always hit with issues in shipping, and could end up being inconsistent due to the nature of how they were made. It’s for this reason these boxes will no longer be produced for Pin Box products.

So that leaves us with the cards, the "solution" I'd previously come up with to try and make production easier for restocks due to pricing and minimum order quantities. Well, sometimes you have an idea that's great on paper but just doesn’t work out in practice, and I'm not afraid to admit this was one of those.

What ended up happening was a divide across the store over what types of products we had for various pins, so some pins would be available on a card, some would be available in a box, and some would be available in either. It was a mess, and newcomers would often voice their confusion as they had no idea why it was the way it was. It was clear I needed to make products across the brand consistent.

So if boxes aren’t working out and you want everything consistent, then everything is going to cards... right?

No. This is Pin Box, after all, not Pin Card. So cards are out of the question, and honestly, due to wanting the cards to still be premium, they ended up being far more expensive than I had originally intended, which again made small runs difficult.

Luckily, I believe I found a solution to this packaging issue. And oddly, it’s closer to what the original concept for Pin Box packaging was. So, without further ado, I would like to share with you the future packaging of Pin Box pins going forward.

Fancy, eh? I think so! Let me walk you through it!

The pin at the center of all this remains the same. If you’ve been happy with our pins themselves so far, then good news! Nothing is changing; they are still going to have plenty of color and detail we’re known for.

The pin is now suspended in a plastic frame that’s reusable and see-through, keeping dust off it while letting you display it in all its glory! You can take the pin in and out as much as you like without having to fiddle with the pin backs at all!

Fan of the custom artwork each pin came with? Fear not, this has been moved to a custom sleeve, and due to the see-through nature of the new boxes, we can implement a cool 3D effect with the background for the pin, similar to how we did with our XL pins.

Finally, you’ll notice in some of the images the product has a seal on it. In testing, we found the seal worked really well at protecting the edges in transit, making sure it’s kept crisp for you when you receive it. Though we imagine some people will choose to keep the seal on, it’s entirely your choice; the pin is still protected in the box even without the seal.

Overall, I genuinely believe this packaging is an upgrade over the old boxes, with a cleaner, more distinct look.

So with the details out of the way, I want to explain why this works so much better. The plastic boxes are readily available to us, and we've already stocked up our warehouse with thousands of them.

The sleeves are made by a UK company with whom we've worked to create a workflow that expedites production, quality control, and consistency.

The seals are also produced by a UK company with whom I’ve worked with personally for many years.

That's a lot of UK companies involved. I thought they were expensive; what happens to the price?

It drops from £13.99 to £11.99. Yeah... I was just as surprised. Honestly, I expected this approach to be just as expensive, if not more, but I’m happy to say this works out better from a cost perspective too, and I’m passing that on to everyone.

The other benefit to this new packaging is reduced weight, which in turn makes shipping cheaper.

Pins with the new Pin Box packaging will be available on July 1st, 2024.

Naturally, boxes are different from sleeves, so I couldn’t just send the new manufacturer our existing artwork. It had to be adjusted for the new production workflow. This raised some interesting situations where artwork didn’t work anymore due to those differences. For example, now having a background for every pin fundamentally broke some designs that were never designed with that in mind. So I did what any normal person would do - remade them all from scratch. That’s right, I went back and remade every single design we’re intending to sell going forward. Some designs are pending approval from their respective licensors, but this includes the full Nihon Falcom, Shin Megami Tensei V & WayForward lineups. You may notice some changes to the artwork. Some of these were a personal choice, but others were requested by licensors.

You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned or shown any XL pins so far, and there are a few reasons for that. They were always the most challenging and expensive designs for us. Each one would routinely cost 4 - 5 times more than a standard pin and take 3 - 4 times as long to work on. Ultimately, they served a niche within a niche, with sales reflecting that. While we aren’t outright discontinuing them, they are going to take some more time to iron out the kinks when it comes to the new packaging. For now I'm directing my attention on getting the standard pins setup and established and then work on XLs. I’ll share more in the future.

Final Clearance Sale

Due to this shift in packaging for our pins, existing versions of our pins with our current boxes and cards will be on sale until they are removed permanently from the store. The last day you will be able to buy products in these formats is June 30th, 2024. You may find some previously sold-out or limited items during this time in our rewards section, so make sure to check it out before you checkout! To be clear, we will make these pins available in the future just with the new packaging format. On that note...

Bringing Back Old Designs

As part of making our lineup consistent across the board, I also want people to be able to get a complete collection of pins regardless of when they discovered Pin Box or got into a franchise. I realize that isn't always going to be possible, especially when licensing is involved. However, I want to make steps towards making this happen when possible. I've previously mentioned that the molds for a number of our older pins have been lost, and that’s still true. This is why they are getting remade from scratch, and due to this, there will be changes from the older stock. The important thing to know is that the item you see in the pictures will be the item you receive.

Some of the other pins we'll be bringing back will be part of our new EX range. These were pins that were previously exclusive under different circumstances, but I'm happy to announce they will be available individually with their own packaging. These will include the following:

  • Mishelam Wonderland Pin
  • KeA Cat Pin
  • Arios Pin

While not all of our older designs will be immediately available on July 1st, 2024, when Pin Box 2.0 launches, they won’t be too far behind and will be rolled out once I've been able to package and prepare them for launch. I’ll share more information closer to the time. 

Update on Collaboration with Bandai Namco and Tales of Merchandise

After thoughtful consideration, I have decided to discontinue our collaboration with Bandai Namco, including our work on the Tales of Series pins. I am grateful for the partnership and the unique opportunities it provided. While this decision may be disappointing to some, it has been made with the best interests of Pin Box in mind. This means that the Tales of Arise products that we stocked are no longer available. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Other Product Updates

Clothing

One small change for Pin Box’s clothing going forward will be the design of the in-neck print. This will be updated on product listings over the course of June 2024 and implemented on any production going forward. Other than this, nothing will be changing anytime soon. Expect the same high quality I’ve always produced.

Wall Scrolls

I had plans to launch a new wall scroll this month; however, upon receiving the inventory, it’s clear to me that they are not of the same quality as the previous ones I’ve released. For this reason, I’m not proceeding with the launch and starting to look at alternative options to create them either locally or internally to ensure the quality is up to my standards. I’ll be sharing more information when the time is right. But for now I'll show a small image of some early test prints I've done, I think I may be onto something..

Giclée Prints

These will continue to be produced and released internally by myself. Over the next month, I will be introducing new equipment to scale up production capabilities and ease of production. I’ve loved seeing everyone display these awesome pieces of artwork in their homes and workplaces, and I can’t wait to share more of the designs we’ve got ready to go!

Other Pin Box Updates

The main domain for Pin Box is changing going forward. It is now.. drumroll, please:

pin.box

Nope, this isn’t an April Fools’ joke, that’s the full web address. Put that in your browser, and you’ll get brought straight to us! If you have any old links bookmarked, they should redirect automatically to the new address.

We’ll be rolling this update out to everything over the next month, so don’t be alarmed when you see the domain change.

Discord

Looking for a chill place to hang out and chat about games, merchandise, or more? Want a sneak peek at what’s coming in the future? Have access to exclusive promotions and giveaways? Give feedback or just chat with me directly? The Pin Box Discord has you covered. It’s been recently revamped with a lot of new features, so I’d invite you to join us!

discord.gg/KsmmTUJ

Where Does That Leave Us?

I know there’s a lot of change happening that may feel abrupt, but I assure you this hasn’t been an overnight decision. I started Pin Box nearly five years ago, and I think it’s fair to say I’ve lost my way over that time. I want to bring it back to being a passion project with a focus on community and excitement and working on projects I personally want to do, rather than continuous public delays and problems.

To those who have supported me through everything, thank you. Your support means more than you’ll ever know.

I'm excited to share more information on what's in the pipeline and will leave you with a couple of teases of what's to come!

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