Source for custom enamel pins?
July 20, 2020 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Who manufactures awesome enamel pins like these ones? Is there a reliable company in Canada? The US? Elsewhere?

(I've already written the store who sells these pins but have not heard back.)
posted by dobbs to Shopping (6 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Short answer: The vast majority of these pin manufacturers are in China. There are various Facebook groups where pin designers share their experiences with different pin manufacturers, so that could be a good starting place for finding a manufacturer.

I definitely support finding a maker in the US/Canada, but be aware that there are fewer of them and prices are higher.

(I did some research on manufacturing enamel pins at one point but never went ahead with the project, so I don't have any particular manufacturers to recommend.)
posted by mekily at 12:00 PM on July 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Also: The style of pins you linked to, with raised edges between the different colored areas, are usually called "soft enamel" (despite the fact that it says "hard enamel" in the description). "Hard enamel" pins are the ones that are completely smooth on top. (See here: Hard enamel vs. Soft enamel) Most major pin manufacturers can do both kinds.
posted by mekily at 12:04 PM on July 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

I worked for a company who domestically produced buttons, and they were one of the larger custom producers in the US. They also sold enamel pins: hard reality is as it stands, there are no resources for producing enamel pins in North America; you're looking at China, and a couple other spots in the world. Former employ looked hard and failed to find legitimate domestic producers, and even went so far as to check and see the viability of obtaining the machinery to do it themselves. There are a couple outlets who distribute custom pins in the US, but if they say they're manufacturing them here, they're not necessarily being truthful. Sometimes they'll say "manufactured in the USA" and that just consists of putting the pinback on the pin. While this is technically true, it's pretty deceptive. No direct call outs, but the product from many of these "usa made" pins are miles inferior from their SE Asian counterparts.

That's not to say the quality is going to come cheap. I hate the reputation that China has for low quality goods, truth being you very much get exactly what you pay for (if you do your research). Quality pins aren't necessarily cheap, and don't have small minimums. Cheap and small minimums should be considered red flags.

Here's a good breakdown on how to procure enamel pins and what the process looks like.
posted by furnace.heart at 12:07 PM on July 20, 2020 [5 favorites]

I worked a lot with Quality Lapel Pins last year - great family owned company local to Colorado. They can help with design, production, and delivery. Highly recommended!
posted by jazon at 12:36 PM on July 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

brick city stickers doesn't do enamel but they might have a friendly resource for who in the industry does.
posted by zsh2v1 at 3:17 PM on July 20, 2020

The fine folks at Laurie Artiss in Regina, SK can help you out. They have supplied pins for the Canadian Olympic team and a number of other organizations since 1988.

They can even give you a free quote.
posted by nathaole at 4:33 PM on July 20, 2020

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