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The Best Custom Enamel Pin Manufacturers and How To Work With Them

the best custom enamel pin manufacturers

One of the biggest problems for any aspiring enamel pin maker is finding a reliable and fairly priced custom enamel pin factory with great customer service and quick turnaround times.

We’ve all been there...you’ve come up with an awesome enamel pin design and you’re ready to get it made, now what? How and where do you search for an enamel pin factory? What is a fair price to pay? How long will it take to receive your pins? How does payment work? What do you do if something goes wrong or you get a faulty product? How do I know who is reliable and who is not?

Unless you have experience working with a manufacturer abroad (which most of us don’t), these are all totally normal questions to have, but don’t worry, it’s a pretty simple process once you have the right information.

So, where do you begin?

At the bottom of this article I’ve included a list of the enamel pin factories I’ve worked with directly and feel comfortable recommending, but first, it’s important that we go through the essentials of custom enamel pin manufacturing.

(Btw, if you don't want to read, you can find the Youtube version of this article here.)

The Essentials.

Currently, there are no enamel pin factories in North America or the U.K., which means that most custom pins are manufactured in Asia or the Middle East (95% of factories are in China) and you’ll have to work with a factory directly.

These factories use big machinery and have to incur in the cost of creating a one-of-a-kind mold in order to produce a pin. This means that the minimum order most manufacturers will require from you is 100 units per pin design.

The pros of working with directly with a factory is that you’ll usually get the lowest prices in the market, compared to middlemen.

The cons are that you won’t always have the best customer service in terms of clear and fast communication given the time difference and sometimes a language barrier. There are no customer service phone numbers to call so it’s important that you know how to work with them in order to have the best experience and results possible.

Okay, now that you know the basics, here some guidelines that will help you work with a factory effectively:

the best custom enamel pin manufacturers

What is a fair price to pay?

From experience, most custom enamel pin factories will usually charge you anywhere between $135 to $220 for 100 units of a simple, 1-2 inch hard or soft enamel pin. Keep in mind, these prices will change depending to the specifics of the design, and I’m sure they’ll also vary with time, but overall, these are a decent estimation of standard prices in the current market.

How long will it take to receive your pin?

Turnaround time for a pin (how long it’ll take for you to receive them) starts from the moment you approve the production proof (the production-ready artwork a factory will send for approval before they begin production). The standard turnaround time in the industry is around 10 days rushed and 15-20 days for non-rushed. This includes production and shipping time.


How does payment work?

There is no standard way to pay, but I recommend setting up a Paypal account and using their Goods + Services payment. It is safer than a bank transfer or wire and you’ll only need the factory’s PayPal email to make a payment.

Also, make sure that the factory agrees to payment terms of 50% upfront and 50% once final production is approved. This means that they’ll only receive your full payment and ship your order once you have seen a photo of your final produced pin and approve it.


What do you do if something goes wrong or you get a faulty product?

Most problems with factories arise when you’ve already made a full payment for your order without seeing how your pins turned out and realize that they are faulty once you receive your order in the mail. That’s why agreeing to a 50% payment upfront and 50% once final production is approved with your factory is so important.

It’ll help you be able to ask your factory to correct any mistakes that might have happened during production before you’ve made the full payment. This way, you’ll know exactly what your pins are going to look like before they are shipped.

Another useful tip that will help you avoid problems is always asking for your tracking number once your pins are shipped. This will allow you to keep an eye on your package during shipping so it doesn’t get lost in the mail (which can happen sometimes).

In the worse case scenario where your pins arrive faulty even after approving the production photos and the factory doesn’t want to replace them or just stops responding, you can always start a claim on Paypal. I’d recommend being mindful in these situations. If you don’t have clear proof of the misdoing or if you played a role in the error, it’s always best to accept the mistake, eat the costs, learn and make corrections for the next pin you produce.


How and where do you search for an enamel pin factory?

A quick “enamel pin factory” search on Alibaba will bring up A BUNCH of options for manufacturers in Asia. That being said, it’s really hard to tell which factories are reliable and do great work just from their online profiles since most of them have similar information and similar visuals.

To help out with that, I’ve included a list below of the best factories I’ve worked with directly and feel comfortable recommending, but in case you want to venture on your own and search for more options, here’s how you can go about it:

From your Google or Alibaba search, pick 2-4 factories that appear to fit your needs and email a low-res jpg of your artwork (not the final PDF, which will help avoid them “borrowing” your design), your production specifications (which I expand upon here) and ask them following questions:

- How much will it cost me to produce 100 units of this enamel pin?

- How fast is your turnaround time once the production artwork proof is approved?

- Do you accept payment 50% upfront and 50% once you send me a photo of the produced pin and I approve it?

Here’s an example of an email I’ve sent to factories in the past:

the best custom enamel pin factories

The factory that gives you the best terms for these 3 questions is the one you should work with.

Once you decide on the right factory, the production and communication process will usually go something like this:

Step 1: You send them the artwork file along with all of your requirements for production.

Step 2: They give you a cost and turnaround time estimate as well as final production artwork proof for your approval.

Step 3: Once artwork proof and costs are approved by you, you pay them 50% of the total costs to start production.

Step 4: The factory produces the pin.

Step 5: Once the pins are produced, they’ll send you a photo of the final product for your approval.

Step 6: If you’re happy with the quality of the final product in the photo, you approve it for shipment and you pay them the final 50% of the total costs.

Step 7: They’ll give you a tracking number for your shipment and you’ll receive your pin.

Boom. You’ve made a custom enamel pin!

the best custom enamel pin factories

My list of recommended factories:

There are A LOT of enamel pin factories out there and finding the right one usually requires a lot of trial and error. In my case, I’ve worked with a bunch of them through my years as a pin makers and the ones that I’ve personally have had the best experience with in terms of pricing, customer service, communication, and reliability are the following:

(These factory recommendations and current and all updated for 2020)

 

Peter at Erich Gift:

Pricing: $130-170 for a minimum order of 100 pins between a general size range of standard 1-2 inch pins. Pricing varies on size and additional requirements.

Turnaround: 10 days rushed and 2-3 weeks for non-rushed orders.

Accepts 50% payment upfront and 50% payment upon final production photo approval: Yes.

Contact: peter@erichgift.com

Notes: These guys are my go to. Cheapest prices I've found, great service and the pin quality of the factories that say they are "high quality".  I would definitely recommend to test them out if you're looking for low prices and a high quality production straight from the factory. 

 

Beyond Pins:

Pricing: $130-180 for a minimum order of 100 pins between a general size range of standard 1-2 inch pins. Pricing varies on size and additional requirements.

Turnaround: 10 days rushed and 2 weeks for non-rushed orders after order confirmed and proof approved.

Accepts 50% payment upfront and 50% payment upon final production photo approval: Yes.

Contact: beyond.pins@vip.126.com

Notes: I recently started working with them and they've provided great overall value. Good prices, good quality production, fast and reliable correspondence and most importantly, they're a contact to a direct factory that will most likely provide the best prices. 

 

Yourstuffmade.com:

Pricing: $130-180 for a minimum order of 100 pins between a general size range of standard 1-2 inch pins. Pricing varies on size and additional requirements.

Turnaround: 10 days rushed and 15 days for non-rushed orders.

Contact: team@yourstuffmade.com

Accepts 50% payment upfront and 50% payment upon final production photo approval: Yes.

Notes: They are really great to work with because they have an Australian & US based customer-facing team. Although they still produce in a Chinese factory, they own part of it which makes the purchasing process smoother. They have worked with some of the biggest global companies and artists such as Uber, Shopify, SEGA and Riot games and they can also make patches and decals, which comes in handy. 

 

Sabrina at Yeah:

Pricing: $130-190 for a minimum order of 100 pins between a general size range of standard 1-2 inch pins. Pricing varies on size and additional requirements.

Turnaround: 10 days rushed and 2-3 weeks for non-rushed orders.

Accepts 50% payment upfront and 50% payment upon final production photo approval: Yes.

Contact: jiayuepins@126.com

Notes: I have worked with Sabrina for several and I have nothing but great things to say. Great service and always willing to help me with production requirements in order to produce my pins according to my requirements.

If you're interested in getting quotes from these companies, email them with the word "PINLORD" in your email title and they'll give you the friends custom service :)

My recommendation to you is to email all of them and go with the one that you feel is best suited for you. 

Please note that of course there are many other options out there, but these are the factories I’ve personally worked with consistently and feel comfortable advocating for them to other pin makers who are looking for the best enamel factories out there (I’ve also worked with a bunch of other factories that produced 

Oh, and one last tip before you begin...BE NICE with your factory contact! See the pin creation process as a partnership with your factory! Be empathetic, ask for their feedback and help in terms of the best production processes and treat them as you’d like to be treated. They can be your biggest ally when it comes to getting a final product you’re proud of!

Now, you have all the information you need to make your own custom enamel pins. Get out there, create and share your pins with the world!

sharing is caring enamel pins

Thanks so much for reading this article. If you found it helpful, please share it with your friends! It'll help more people see it. 

Also, if you're interested in building a better enamel pin business, you can check out these articles as well :)

How to make enamel pins. 

- The best enamel pin factories. 

- How to sell enamel pins. 

How to package and ship your pin sales. 

- How to design and mock up enamel pins. 

- Copyright infringement and enamel pins. 

In case you're wondering about the selling part, here are a few essential articles that will help you understand what you need to do to sell them on Instagram (or you can also sign up for my Instagram class where I teach people how to grow their small business on the platform): 

Start by first understanding how to grow your Instagram without buying followers. Then, you can tackle the following: how the Instagram algorithm works, how to make money on Instagram, the best Instagram botswhy your Instagram account isn’t growing, how to create effective Instagram story ads, how to create a visually appealing Instagram grid, how to increase your Instagram engagement, how to create effective Instagram sponsored posts, how to check if you’re shadowbanned, how to create an Instagram repost account that makes money, how to monetize your Medium article, how to automate an Instagram bot that isn’t spammy, Instagram bots in 2020how to increase your Instagram engagement rate, how to find the best times to post, as well as how to find the most valuable Instagram influencers, how to measure what an influencer is worth, how to measure your influencer marketing ROI, and how to reach out to influencers.

 

That should give you a good place to start, but if you need more help, always feel free to DM me on Instagram @pinlord. I'm testing out new pin factories all the time and I'm happy to share them :)

 

 


15 comments

  • Hey, I was just wondering, in case you do something as merchandising for, say, an original character, how do you make sure your pins don’t end up being sold to other people without receiving your cut?

    Felipe Morales
  • Great resources to use….LOVE

    Amazyng
  • BLESS YOU. I’ve been looking online for resources and it’s been so exhausting. Such a great list of recommendations and other references. Thank you!!

    Natahsha
  • I’m glad that you mentioned that prices of an enamel pin will vary because each design is different. One of my cousins has melanoma, and I wanted to get a pin to show my support for him. Your advice will help me to find a reliable place to get the pins made. https://ribbonpins.com/shop/melanoma-cancer-awareness-products/melanoma-awareness-pin/

    Dennis Sanchez
  • Followed your instructions and sent an email to Erich Gifts. Received a response in a day or two. I sent my pin ideas and they had artwork work up in just a couple of days. It looked good so I paid using PayPal. The next day they started production and I received my pins a week later. The quality is exceptional and they communicated every step of the way. They will keep my molds for two years and as long as I place orders, I won’t have to pay the molds setup fee again. Highly recommend these folks. Couldn’t have been any better!

    Jim

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