How To: Create Your First Pin Badge

To all the pin lovers who have been dying to find out how to create a pin badge…look no further! When I was starting up I needed a place to go to find out exactly how to turn my designs into pins. Since I started up last year I’ve had a lot of friends and strangers asking me how exactly I do it. It’s a lot of trial and error, but that’s all part of the fun. So here’s a step by step for you, no beating around the bush…

Step 1: Designing Your Pin!

The very first step to creating your own pin is to design it, duh! Grab yourself a pencil and paper and sketch out what you want your pin to be/look like. You don’t have to be a great drawer, just get down on paper what you want. Some people may prefer to draw on their ipad or computer, which works too. If you’re struggling to think of an idea, Pinterest is a great place to look. Obviously don’t steal other peoples artwork, that’s very wrong, but you can find inspiration from other artists to see what might be in trend. Or, for example, if you like coffee and want to make a coffee pin, you can take a look and see whats already been done.

Step 2: Research the Market

Once you have your design drawn out, or if you’re struggling to think of a design, get yourself on Etsy and see if there’s a gap in the market. For example, when I first decided to create a pin badge, I researched to see if there were any other cheese pins on Etsy and other stores. If there were loads, I would’ve been less inclined to create it, as there would’ve been a lot more competition, which would’ve made it a lot harder for me to be seen by my potential customers, especially as a new store! If you do find that there are already a lot of pins surrounding your idea, you can go back to the drawing board. Or, if you still want to create your idea thats ok too! You’ll just have to work that bit harder to make it stand out from the rest.

I find its always best to see if there’s interest in your design before you bring it to life, as they can be quite expensive to make and you don’t want to waste your money. There are multiple ways to do this:

Kickstarter: This is great for making sure you have orders before you get your design made, as customers can preorder your pin before its even been created. Set yourself up on Kickstarter and advertise your idea to your target audience. You will need to create some kind of mock up of your pin for this though!

-Facebook Groups- Find Facebook groups that fit your idea, whether that’s an Enamel Pin group or a Coffee Lover group (if you were wanting to create a coffee pin) there’s thousands out there. Show off your designs and explain how you’re looking to create a pin badge, see how much interest you get.

Etsy Preorder- This is what I do with all my pins before I create them. I make a mockup of my designs and put them up as an Etsy listing. This allows potential Etsy customers to see your designs and can buy a pin before it’s been made. Something very important about this is you MUST make sure you make it clear that it’s a preorder, as well as set your delivery time to at least a month. You don’t want your customers getting angry because they thought it was a product ready to be shipped. The good thing about this is that you can also see how well your pin will be ranked on Etsy. For example, when I put my Brie Happy pin on Etsy, it was first page due to there not being many cheese pins already!

Step 3: Preparation

Okay, so you now have a design that you think will sell well. It’s now time to prepare before you find a manufacturer. There are a few things to consider when creating an Enamel Pin.

Enamel Finish- This is how you want your pin to look and feel. The main two finishes are usually : Hard Enamel- made with die-struck metal which are filled with colour, heated and polished so that the surface is smooth and all at one level. For reference, my White Feather and Pansy pins are Hard Enamel. Soft Enamel- the outline of the metal/any detail on the pin will be raised. These are usually cheaper to make. For reference, my Brie Happy and Feeling Blue Pins are soft enamel. I’ll have a blog post up next week of all the Enamel Finish types, so if you’re interested, sign up to my newsletter for notifications!

Colours- It’s important to ensure that you are happy with your colour choices for your pin. I usually suggest providing the Pantone Colours. For more information on this, you can check out the article here. Remember, the more colours you have, the more expensive it can be.

Pin Fixing- What kind of pin back would you like? There are many options to choose from, such as a rubber backing, butterfly clutch., deluxe clutch etc.

Pin Size- How big do you want your pin? I usually measure mine in mm, the smaller the pin the cheaper it will be. However you have to be aware of how much detail your pin has, as if its too small they may not print very well.

Enamel Plating- This is the most exciting part for me. What plating do you want your pin? This is the colour of your outlining and general shell of the pin. For example my Feather and Pansy pins have silver plating, however my Cheese pins have Black plating. Different manufacturers supply different colours, but the main three are Silver, Gold and Black

You can see my pins here for reference

Step 4: Finding a Manufacturer

This is the tricky part. Finding and putting your trust into someone to turn your design into a reality. To be honest this part is all trial and error. I emailed a lot of different suppliers until I found a manufacturer that I was happy to use for my pins, I still look around and experiment now. I suggest emailing lots of manufacturers that you like the look of with your design and specifications, as they are always helpful. You can also find a lot of Chinese manufacturers on Alibaba. Just bare in mind it may take a while to get a response, as well as the shipping times!

Step 5: Now We Wait

Once you have chosen your manufacturer and sent them your design and specifications, they will usually come back with a quote for you. Bare in mind a lot of manufacturers have a minimum order of 100 pins. So don’t be afraid to commit! If you go through and order your pins, its now just a waiting game until they arrive. If you had any preorders on your pins, make sure to let your customers know the estimated delivery time- communication is key! When you have your pins, get some photo’s taken, work out a price that works for you and get selling! Why not get some backing cards made too? You can do this on any print website like Vistaprint or Bananaprint as business cards!

I hope this has helped you on your way to create a pin badge! If you ever have any questions or would like more information, don’t be afraid to message me! I’ll happily chat to help you out!

Ella x

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