3. How to order a pin
3.1 The design
If you are designing your first pin, go for a simple design, less is more. My first one was the Shiba dog you have seen before, it doesn’t mean it was easy, but less time consuming for sure! So I could spend more time researching manufacturers.
One important thing to have in mind is that the colours have to be separated by raised metal, so they don’t mix up. So it has to be a line between them. You can make screenprinting afterwards, but it’s going to be expensive.
Normally, the number of colours that enter the base price will be 4-5 (depends on the manufacturer), the more colours the more expensive.
You can start with an intermediary like The Pin Department because this way you save yourself headaches and they will surely be perfect. But have in mind that the price per unit triples.
In my case, I went to Alibaba and searched directly for hard enamel pins manufacturers, discarded the ones way too cheap and chose those that fit my budget. Also, I look for manufacturers that accept minimum orders of no more than 50 units. I don’t suggest to order more than 50 if you have never tried the manufacturer. Even less, if there are lots of extras, to make sure the quality is the one expected, before expending too much.
When writing to a manufacturer to request a quote, you will have to attach your design along with the specifications you want. The design may be in low quality, it is just a reference for now. The details that you will have to give them are the following (they are the ones I used for the pin below).
- Type: hard enamel pin
- Finish: gold
- Colors: 2 (Pantone)
- Attachment: 1 black rubber clutch
- Size: 1 inch
- Thickness:1.2mm (it’s the standard one)
- Quantity: 50 uds
- Screen printing: no
- Back imprint: no
- Turn around time? (time it takes the manufacturer to make and ship the pins)
(In case you want a cut-out or glitter you will have to specify it too.)
I usually make a base email with all that information and send it to the different manufacturers that I have found.
In the return mail, some of them will break down the prices by quantity. Don’t be scared of the shipping, it’s pretty expensive. But think that 50-100 pins at least weigh 1kg and you will most likely make them in China. If you send emails to different manufacturers you will see that almost all will have similar shipments.
In the return mail at least the following information should appear:
- Price by unit
- Price of the mold (they will only charge you the first time you make that model, and save it for later reproductions)
- Cost of the extras you have ordered
- Final cost
- Turn around time
When you decide which one to work with, you will have to send them the final design, which all the colours with its code in Pantone Solid Coated. If you don’t know how to choose them you can use this tool or ask the manufacturer.
For the payment, never use Aliexpress, ask them to do it through Paypal, it’s safer. Once you have done the payment, they will start the production. You can ask them for photos before the shipment, in case there’s anything wrong, they can fix it then. (Ex. the colours are wrong or they forgot some screen printing…)