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Why Are Enamel Pins So Expensive?

Posted May 25, 2020

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Why Are Enamel Pins So Expensive?

Why Are Enamel Pins So Expensive? | Cheappins

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Enamel pins are expensive because you must create a mold in order to produce an enamel pin.  It doesn’t matter whether you make one pin or 1000 pins, the mold costs the same.  And, since the mold is the most expensive part, the fewer pins you make the more expensive the pins will be.  

Most people order small quantities so the price per pin may seem high, but it is because they are paying to create a mold and spreading the cost over few pins.

A typical enamel pin mold costs $50.  If you only order one pin, you would pay a minimum of $50 to cover the cost of the mold.  In addition, the custom pin company has to also cover the cost of design, manufacturing and shipping, so to order one pin you most likely would pay about $100, and that is one expensive pin.

Most people are not willing to pay $100 for a single enamel pin, so companies set a minimum order of 50-100 pieces.  This spread the mold cost over many pins instead of just one and reduces the overall cost of the pins.

Let’s assume you order 50 pins.  If the mold costs $50 each pin would cost $1.00 per pin.  But again, the custom pin company has to cover the cost of design, manufacturing and shipping when ordering 50 pins you likely would pay about $250.  An average of $5.00 per pin.  If you ordered 100 pins, the average cost per pin would drop to about $2.50 per pin.

So, when evaluating why enamel pins are so expensive, remember the mold cost, and buy in bulk to lower the piece price.  Just for comparison, if you ordered 10,000 pins the piece price would be about $0.74 cents or less depending on size.  The more you buy the cheaper the price.

Are cheap custom pins quality pins?

Yes, cheap pins are quality pins.  Most people want quality pins cheap, which is very understandable.  We are a society that wants the cake and to eat it too.  

Cheap and quality don’t always go hand in hand, but in the case of enamel pins they do.  Let me explain.

If you were buying a vacuum, cheap would translate into lesser quality materials such as cheaper plastic vs metal, wheels that don’t rotate well, suction that literally sucks in two different ways, and fewer attachments that might be included on a more expensive vacuum.

However, custom enamel pins are different.  Pins do not have moving parts.  Pins don’t have cheaper material.  And, pins don’t have cheaper enamel.  There just isn’t anything that you can skimp on or substitute for to make a pin less quality.  

So, what cheap means in the custom pin world is the pin company is taking less profit.  That is a benefit to you.  You get quality pins for cheap.

You might ask if this is a sales job.  The answer is no.  A pin is a pin is a pin and there aren’t many things that can be substituted to make it cheaper.

Here are some tips that might further explain pin quality.

Thickness:  standard pins are 1.2 to 1.5mm thick.  If you want a pin that has more substance you can make the pin thicker for an increase in price.  But, this is not common so you still get a quality pin.

Hard enamel vs Soft enamel:  soft enamel is cheaper than hard enamel because hard enamel is hardened by heat and then polished off smooth.  This extra step in labor makes hard enamel more expensive, but choosing hard enamel over soft enamel isn’t choosing quality it is choosing preference.  If you asked 10 people, 5 would prefer soft enamel and 5 would prefer hard enamel.  So cheaper didn’t make it lesser quality, it just made it different.

Metal:  this is probably the most legitimate are that can be changed to make a pin less expensive.  Iron is less expensive than brass or copper.  BUT this is a big but.  You cannot tell the different when the pin is finished because of the gold or silver plating.  And iron pins are just as durable.  Either will look exactly the same when finished.

The moral to the story is, cheap is merely a marketing ploy.  Pin companies know customers what pins cheap so they advertise cheap pins.  But don’t be scared off by the terminology, it does not translate into cheap quality.

How much do enamel pins cost?

There are essentially 4 different types of custom enamel pins that all pin companies produce.  The difference in price is in the profit.  Cheappins philosophy is to keep the price affordable for all so more people can enjoy pins and only take a modest profit to keep the doors open.

Below is current Cheappins pricing as of this printing, to give you a comparison of pricing between the 4 pin types.  They are listed from most expensive to least expensive.

All pins are based on 1-inch size, which is a very common custom enamel pin size.

Die Cast Pins – these are made of zinc alloy and typically have many inner cutouts which is why they are more expensive.  But you could never tell the difference in quality from the other types as they can also have hard or soft enamel coloring.

100 qty - $2.83 per pin
200 qty - $2.10
300 qty - $1.60

Hard Enamel Pins – these are diestruck out of brass, copper or iron.  They are perceived as a higher quality than soft enamel, but it boils down to preference.

100 qty - $2.64 per pin
200 qty - $1.91
300 qty - $1.50

Offset Printed Pins – these are metal pins with a design printed onto the metal rather than stamped and color filled.  This type of pin may be perceived as the worst quality, but again it has its place depending on what image you want on the pin.  It is not a bad pin; it is just a different kind of pin.

100 qty - $2.52 per pin
200 qty - $1.89
300 qty - $1.37

Soft Enamel Pins – these are diestruck out of brass, copper or iron.  They are the least expensive and cheaper than hard enamel pins just because the paint is air dried saving one step of labor.  These are considered the best bang for your buck.

100 qty - $2.37 per pin
200 qty - $1.81
300 qty - $1.33

To summarize, enamel pins are expensive because of the mold.  Cheap pins are still quality pins.  Enamel pins are inexpensive if you buy in bulk and choose the soft enamel option.

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