Totally Custom & Drop-Shipped: The Future of Collectibles

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Cut-and-sew and drop-shipping, along with kitting (I will never not talk about kitting), are some of the biggest buzzwords in the promotional products industry right now. But you might be asking what does that mean, and how does that work? What are the benefits? Well, I’m going to break it down for you!

Cut-and-sew products are a great way for your customers to promote their business that’s a little more customized than stock products. They can completely tailor a product from top to bottom, from plush to apparel.

Drop-shipping, meanwhile, is a cost-effective way to get products to the end-users who may not have the warehouse or storage capabilities to store a ton of products. Products ship directly from the manufacturer to the intended recipient.

Here’s an example. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love metal. And one of my favorite webcomics is called Belzebubs. It’s by Finnish author JP Ahonen, and it’s a slice-of-life comic about the misadventures of a black metal band and their lead singer’s family. It’s delightfully charming and hilarious. Along with the book that JP Ahonen released, the fictional band also recorded and released an album – which is really good. But I was most interested in the plush that one of the main character’s kids carried around – Mr. Satan. I was disappointed when I learned that Makeship had already made one, and it wasn’t available to order any more.

My luck would change, however, when it was announced that Makeship was doing a Mr. Satan 2.0 and a plush of one of the characters – Lilith. I moved on it immediately and placed my order.

You see, Makeship is a company that makes limited-edition plush toys of creators’ characters. The catch is that they only make the number that’s preordered. So, if only 500 are ordered, only 500 are made, and that’s it. It’s super rare that they do rereleases of their plush, which is why I jumped on Mr. Satan as fast as I could.

Makeship’s model is one of the more unique things to come out of the cut-and-sew, drop-ship era that promo products have found themselves in. Promos can be expensive, especially for something special and truly custom-made, and many creators nowadays – like JP Ahonen and his webcomic or a Youtuber and their illustrated persona, want to have something unique and tangible without having to break the bank.

Each plush comes with a printed dust bag with a unique barcode on the outside and a hangtag showing how many have been made. They are genuinely collector’s items – though, I would be lying if I said I didn’t cuddle with Mr. Satan.

When it comes to collectibles made by creators, Youtooz needs to take a bow. They originally started out making vinyl toys featuring memes and viral creators like Rhett and Link, and Uncle Roger.

They’ve since expanded to other lines like The Witcher, Cult of the Lamb (my favorite game!), Peanuts, and more, offering adorable vinyl figures in different situations and plush. They’re a little more unique than Funko Pops, and they can make smaller quantities. They’re a little bit more expensive than a Funko Pop, but the quality and the ability for consumers to have something tangible from their favorite creators makes it worth it. Like Makeship, once they’re gone, they’re gone, and those made are drop-shipped from the manufacturer in China, saving on warehouse costs and shipping costs.

As I’ve continued to interview different suppliers for the Supplier Spotlight Blogs every month, the commonality is that cut-and-sew and drop-shipping have been game changers in the industry. Not only does it allow wholly customized products, but it also allows you to get products straight to your customers a bit faster.

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve had customers with cut-and-sew and drop-shipped orders! Do you think fully customizable is the future of promo?

For more industry trends and insights, check out our other blogs here!

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(Marketing Content Writer)

Betty is the Marketing Content Writer at SAGE. She is a self-proclaimed, bonafide nerd, and when she's not writing, you can find her playing video games, watching documentaries, hunting for heavy metal records, and going down rabbit-holes on Wikipedia.

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