The last thing you want to do is look like a full at your World Series and show up with either NO trading pins, or pins that are just blah!
Today, check out this World Series Pins Buying Guide from All Star Trading Pins
With Summer in full swing, it’s tournament time across the country for softball players. And with that comes one of the best traditions in youth sports, pin trading. It’s an opportunity for kids to socialize, make new friends, and collect some memorable keepsakes they’ll treasure for years to come.
But as parents and coaches know, ordering custom pins is no easy task. You’ve got dozens of competitors fighting for your business, a myriad of options, and a creeping deadline to make matters worse. Below are some tips for making this part of your next softball trip a little less stressful.
Before you can open up the many options available for your team, you need to provide ample time for your softball trading pins to be produced. This avoids having to mash the refresh button on your tracking information, hoping they arrive before the trip. You don’t need that stress.
The most optimal time to start planning is two months before they are needed. This will open up all the different options available and provide plenty of cushion if there are delivery delays or factory issues. You will also have time to work with an artist at the pin company and get feedback from your team.
Pick a Type
For newcomers to trading pins, the different options can feel intimidating. But there are really three choices available to you. And that decision comes down to your budget and timeframe.
Soft Enamel Pins
By far the most popular choice for teams, these pins use an iron or zinc base and an electroplating process to create ridges in the design. The inside of the ridges is then partially filled with liquid enamel paint and dried. They have a textured look and feel that are attractive to collectors.
Soft enamel is more expensive than offset printed pins and can take around 1-2 weeks longer to manufacture. But they also offer far more upgrade options. Teams can add blinkers, bobbleheads, danglers, glitter, glow-in-the-dark paint, and sliders for a small fee. The customization is endless with this option.
Offset Printed Pins
These pins start with a flat metal base and print the design directly to it. An epoxy resin is then placed over it to protect the paint from external damage. These pins are cheaper than soft
enamel and take less time to manufacture. Some find them less attractive, and they don’t offer as many customization options.
One of the significant advantages of offset printed pins is they pick up detail much better. This is beneficial to teams that want to print names or small details on the pin.
Sometimes referred to as quick pins, these are the choice for teams who waited too long to get their orders placed. Manufactured in the United States, they can be produced and shipped to your door within a few days. Unfortunately, you will pay a high price for that quick turnaround time.
There isn’t a lot of customization offered with these pins. You’ll have to choose one of the stock shapes, and there are no extras offered.
Provide Lots of Information
Pin companies typically have a staff of artists who help design your pin. And to create something special that really represents your team, they need all the information they can get.
AllStarTradingPins.com, a maker of softball trading pins, says that the more details their artists have to work with, the better your pin can be. Logos, websites, and even social media accounts help. Even something as simple as a sketch on a napkin can improve the process.
Most companies will allow for revisions to your design. So feel free to speak up and let them know what changes you’d like made. Sometimes it can take multiple revisions before you’re satisfied with the pin.
One area where pricing is affected is size. As you’d expect, the bigger you go, the more you’ll pay. Most teams settle on a pin around 1.5”. This gives enough space for details while not incurring an absorbent cost.
Sometimes your design will dictate this for you. For instance, if you’d like player names and numbers on the pin, you won’t be able to use a 1” pin. If you’re not sure about size, it is best to ask the company what they think will work. They should be able to tell you when areas won’t be legible or show the detail you would like.
The rule with quantity is that you’re better safe than sorry—teams on average order around 30 pins per player. But if your team is playing in multiple tournaments throughout the Summer, you’re better off ordering a higher quantity all at once. Not only does this ensure your pins are there, but it also saves a great deal of money on pricing per pin.
One trick for teams that carry on the same logo and name each season is to make a large batch of generic pins. Leave off the year and tournament, and any leftovers can be used the following season.
Keep an Eye on Hidden Fees
The first thing most people do is get a bunch of quotes in front of them from competing companies. It’s a great way to save some team money for other necessities. But that super-low quote you receive from one company may have some hidden fees that aren’t shown.
Make sure the quote covers design fees, die fees, shipping, and taxes. All reputable companies will be upfront about these costs.
Where they are Made
Understandably, many people would like to support American manufacturing by purchasing pins made in the United States. Unfortunately, almost all custom trading pins are made in China. The exception being the rush pins mentioned above.
The reason for this is cost. Trading pins require custom metal dies to be made. And in the United States, that’s an expensive process that requires highly skilled labor. In large quantities, the cost gets spread out, and it can be done. But at the levels you’re ordering for a softball team, they would cost 3-4 times what you are paying.
Nonetheless, many companies ship express through trusted shippers such as UPS or FedEx. Your pins will arrive within a few days, so don’t fret. If you do have concerns, it is always a good idea to ask the pin maker who they ship through and if there will be additional costs.