Monday, April 20, 2015

My Thoughtful Spot - Why Vinylmation Isn't Dead

Not too long ago, we received news that trade boxes were to be removed at the Disney Parks. Ever since then, rumors have been circulating that the trade box removal marks the beginning of the end for the hobby. Trading is the foundation of Vinylmation. Blind boxes were created to be a thrill, an adrenaline rush, but also a tool that made you get involved in trading. The theme parks were also the hub of Vinylmation. You could buy endless sets at the parks, including some Limited Edition and exclusive sets that were not released online. To remove the ability to trade at the center of the Vinylmation universe was just incomprehensible to many, including myself.

I still don't know the reason why, but I have speculated in this post. I can see why this move would lead you to believe that the hobby is dying, but let me give my thoughts on why I believe it isn't.

Reason #1 - The Popularity of Eachez
This concept was created in 2013 to breathe life in to the hobby after many unpopular series were released and sent to outlet. It worked and it's still working. Every Eachez sells out online (with the exception of one) and is very popular at the parks. This has got to be profitable for Disney. For starters, they retail $4 higher than a regular Vinylmation, coupled with the fact that the 1 in 10 chance of pulling a variant means collectors typically buy at least one.

Reason #2 - Strong Upcoming Sets
The Marvel Avengers series is right on the horizon, there are plenty of Vinylmation scheduled to be released throughout Star Wars Weekends, Park #15 and Park #16 were announced at the Imagination Gala, and Vinylmation have been previewed to accompany the Disneyland 60th Anniversary merchandise. Not to mention that some recent releases have been fantastic too! I think the Villainous Duos sets have all been awesome, the Animation sets were well done, D-Tour #2 was appealing and with the popularity of Marvel, the Red Hulks set that was released last week was a fantastic addition too. Apart from Frozen, Disney have not dropped the ball or given up on the quality of Vinylmation.

Reason #3 - The Demand is Still There
There are so many collectors who still want to buy Vinylmation and I'm sure Disney knows that. Not everyone is giving up. Trade Events have been popular, Vinylmation are still selling, secondary market values are holding overall - the market still exists for Vinylmation. Yes some will go to outlet, lots of things do: mugs, t-shirts, phone cases, but Disney hasn't stopped producing that merchandise just because they've gone to outlet. Obviously people will still buy them, but there is only so much a collector can and wants to buy. Part of that is on Disney to figure out supply vs. demand and produce accurately in accordance with those levels.

So what is happening? Here's what I think. Disney has shifted their focus to other things. That doesn't mean they've given up, or are ending Vinylmation, it just means they are putting more effort in to other areas. Where? Tsum Tsum. The latest Disney craze is Tsum Tsum and Disney is trying hard to get the message out and promote them. There are bags, purses, t-shirts, mugs and phone cases with the Tsum Tsum brand, as well as three sizes of plush toy.

It's the circle of life. When Vinylmation were released, I had no idea pins were still around. Everywhere I looked was Vinylmation and Disney tried hard to build the brand with a website, events, and of course merchandise. Pin trading wasn't replaced, it was just pushed into the background by a new craze - Vinylmation. Pin trading continues to exist now and I think the same will happen with Vinylmation. Vinylmation isn't being replaced or discontinued, it's just being pushed to the background while Disney promotes a newer craze. Vinylmation looks like it's going downhill because Disney has shifted it's focus, but just like with pins, that doesn't mean a nail in the coffin for Vinylmation.

There have been some much needed changes with Vinylmation that might also look like it's dying. For example, fewer sets are being released. But believe me, that helps the hobby. We don't want more than we can handle, and we don't want more Zooper Heroes and Nursery Rhymes. But like I said before, take a look at some of the upcoming releases - just awesome! The state of the hobby has been turning around.

I wouldn't panic Vinylmation fans! I for one am not giving up.

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