Saturday, July 14, 2018

My Thoughtful Spot: Does Accessibility Help or Hurt the Hobby?

Hello humans! It's been a long time since I've posted an article like this and I'm excited to share new content with you! As Vinylmation production has dwindled and I've moved toward collecting more Funko POP! figures, it got me thinking about the difference in accessibility of each of these collectibles and what that means for the hobby. I am not debating whether accessibility caused the demise of Vinylmation, but instead looking at the affect accessibility has on Vinylmation and Funko POP! collecting.

Let's start with what I mean by accessibility. Vinylmation began as a Disney Parks product. They were sold at numerous locations across Walt Disney World and Disneyland, and then there were separate Vinylmation lines that were available at Disney Stores and the, including Disney Stores overseas. Outside of that, Vinylmation could not be purchased anywhere else, unless you were purchasing from the secondary market like eBay or Amazon sellers. Therefore, Vinylmation had a more limited accessibility for collectors.

By contrast, Funko POP! are available on a much wider scale and are therefore more easily accessible. Funko POP! can be purchased online, at smaller independent locations such as comic book stores, as well as several big chain stores including: Walgreens, Target, ThinkGeek, Wal-Mart, GameStop, Barnes & Noble, Hot Topic, Books A Million, Vintage Stock, and Box Lunch. (Funko POP! were also sold at Toys R Us).

You don't have to go to a Disney Park, live near a Disney Store, or cough up shipping costs for an online purchase, in order to buy Funko POP! vinyls like you had to do with Vinylmation. Each selling strategy has both advantages and disadvantages. Limited accessibility made Vinylmation a more special, exclusive collectible, but it also meant collectors who weren't able to purchase vinyls from Disney directly were giving their money to secondary market sellers - their only option. I imagine this made it hard for Disney to accurately gauge the popularity and profit generated from the Vinylmation collectible.

For Vinylmation, I think the limited accessibility definitely helped and hurt the hobby at the same time. I really liked how special Vinylmation were because not everyone had them. I enjoyed stocking up when I did visit Disney parks, I am fortunate enough to live 20 minutes from a Disney Store, so at times I could purchase vinyls there, and I reveled in mail days when I purchased Vinylmation online. I probably wouldn't have gotten into Vinylmation if they were sitting on a shelf in Wal-Mart. However, I can see how that also drove people away when they could pick up other collectibles at a cheaper price with less effort. On the flip side, I've heard a few Vinylmation collectors refuse to get into Funko POP! because they think they feel like cheap collectibles, in part because of the mass production for these numerous retail locations. (I've spoken more about that in this article).

I think the wider accessibility of Funko POP! has definitely helped that hobby because they can reach a wider audience and market. I will say it has been a nice change of scene for me after experiencing the limited availability of Vinylmation to be able to purchase POP! vinyls with ease. I had been anticipating the release of the Doug Funko POP! set and was excited when I received an email from Hot Topic saying the Doug Funko POP! were now in-store. I decided the next day to visit my local Hot Topic where I was able to purchase the entire set of three vinyls, plus the two Hot Topic exclusives. It was great to want something and be able to immediately acquire it.

However, the wider accessibility of Funko POP! doesn't automatically mean you'll be able to instantly pick up what you want. Many stores sell POP! vinyls but they each have different lines on offer. In my area, ThinkGeek, Hot Topic, Box Lunch and GameStop have the widest variety of lines, with my local Target stores selling mostly Star Wars and Stranger Things with the occasional Disney POP!, my local Wal-Marts sell only Marvel and Star Wars, and Walgreens stores around me sell only Star Wars vinyls. For those who don't want collecting to be too easy, you can still experience a challenge without Funko POP! feeling almost out of reach.

I recently enjoyed hunting down Roz from the Monsters, Inc. series as well as Rosie from The Jetsons series. I tried to find them at ThinkGeek, Hot Topic, Box Lunch and GameStop (since these stores have the widest variety of lines) before finally finding both Roz and Rosie at my local Vintage Stock. You can't beat that feeling when you finally find the POP! you've been searching for!

I think it's great to have a nice mix in the levels of accessibility with vinyls to keep things interesting but not impossible, and I think there are notable pros and cons to both wide accessibility and limited accessibility with vinyl collectibles.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Snapshot Sunday - Monsters, Inc. POPs

I picked up the new Monsters, Inc. Funko POPs recently and they were harder to acquire than I thought! I got Sulley and Boo at ThinkGeek but Roz proved more challenging to find. I tried ThinkGeek, Hot Topic, Box Lunch, and GameStop before finally finding her at my local Vintage Stock (where she was the only one!). She is incredible but I thought Sulley and Boo would be the more popular figures. ThinkGeek was the only store where I found the Chef POP, but as cute as he was I passed on him. I'm a big Monsters, Inc. fan so I'm loving this set!

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Snapshot Sunday - The Emperor's New Groove Pops

I absolutely adore my Emperor's New Groove Funko POPs! I purchased these at Hot Topic including the Llama Kuzco Hot Topic exclusive.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Funko Enchanted Tiki Room Pele & Barker Parrot POP! Released

To celebrate the 55th anniversary of Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, a new Disney Parks Exclusive Funko Pop has been released at the Walt Disney World Resort. This is a Limited Release two figure set featuring the Tiki God Pele and the Barker Bird. The two pack retails at $34.99.

June 27, 2018 updated to add: This set is now available for purchase at ShopDisney

July 1, 2018 updated to add: This set is on backorder at ShopDisney and will ship July 30, 2018

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Snapshot Sunday - TRON Pop

I picked up this TRON Funko POP! on sale over Memorial Weekend. He wasn't really on my radar but I do love TRON, he was on sale and... he glows in the dark!!!