Growing up, I used to love collecting many different things. I collected sports cards, coins, books, stamps, and even Korean (K-Pop) music CDs. Was I obsessed with collecting these though? It was fun, but not really...
What was I obsessed with collecting? Pokémon cards and Beanie Babies! Who else can relate?
When kids started collecting Pokémon cards in my school, I was curious with what was going on with all the hype and how I could participate. I started going to Toys "R" Us every Thursday (when they hosted events for people who enjoyed trading and/or playing with Pokémon cards).
I remember the first time that I went to one of these gatherings... I was blown away with all of the massive collections that everyone else already seemed to have. Immediately, I noticed that someone had a hoIographic Gyarados card from the Base Set (the first set released in the US), while I only had a small stack of non-rare cards.
I admit that I was a little embarrassed with my starting collection but instead of getting too discouraged, I decided to figure out how to grow my collection through negotiating tactics, understanding the rarity of different cards, and asking other collectors lots of questions until I eventually became an influential trader in my local community.
I know that by saying I used to collect Beanie Babies, I am immediately seen as less cool. I'm not saying I'm cool to begin with, but it definitely doesn't help ha ha.
From my weekly allowance from doing chores around the house, I was able to get maybe one stuffed toy every week. I started talking to other kids in my school to see who else collected Beanie Babies and started figuring out how I could trade multiple toys for rarer ones.
There was this one girl who had a set of three bunnies (Hippity, Hoppity, and Floppity). I wanted them so badly, but didn't have any Beanie Babies she was willing to trade them for. I did have a gold Game Boy Pocket though... which she was willing to make a trade for. She got the better end of the deal but I had and still have no regrets!
I still have most of my Pokémon cards and Beanie Babies. I never bought them to try to make a lot of money, but to enjoy the game of collecting.
About 3 months after we opened our coffee house, we decided to give away stickers for free. Since then, we have released different stickers (more coming in 2020) and have determined when one of our collectible items is retired, along with how rare they are. While we sell buttons, t-shirts, and other things, I want to take a moment to focus on our collectible stickers.
We started with large stickers (2.02" x 3"). After we made 430 of them, we retired them (stopped production). We consider these stickers as "rare" since we produced less than 1,000 of them.
Shortly after, we came out with smaller ("medium") stickers that we are still currently producing. We still give these stickers away for free in our coffee house (and sold online).
In November 2018, we came out with our smallest stickers so far (1" x 1.46"). After producing 1,000 of them, we retired them and consider these stickers as "uncommon" since we aren't making any more of them but have produced over 999 of them.
In October 2019, we decided to do something a little weird (cause, why not?). Craton and I released face stickers of ourselves... we have mixed feelings about this too, but that won't stop us from making more versions of these in the future...
We created a Craton face sticker from a photo where I forced Craton to give me a "serious" face while holding two gooseneck kettles and brewing coffee using two Chemex pour over coffeemakers at the same time.
We sent that photo (taken a while ago) to Chemex to see if they would post it on their Instagram page. Nothing happened so we moved on.
This next sticker we released was of my own face in sticker form.
Over time, a handful of customers requested that we come out with a glow-in-the-dark sticker. We did in October 2019 and they're pretty lit.
After getting submissions from our first sticker art contest, we had our followers on Instagram and Facebook vote for their favorite design after we narrowed down to the top six. This is the winning design.
Before the end of 2019, we wanted to release one last sticker. This is our first "holiday" sticker.
2020 STICKER STRATEGY
In 2020, we have plans to release more stickers on a more regular basis. To kick off the new year, we created a limited edition sticker that is chrome and has "2020" in the middle of the lightbulb. On social media, we'll be announcing new stickers as we release them, along with having monthly "drops" for new product releases in general (more details to come in the future).
Thank you for spending the time to read my second blog! I'll see you in the next one. Have a fantastic New Year everyone and enjoy the last remaining days of 2019!