Trade Street USA and the State of Vinylmation
The following blog post was written by ScotDog, of TradeStreetUSA.com regarding the State of Vinylmation.
I am a gigantic Disney fanatic.
I think it’s fair to say that there are millions of Disney fans around the world, some who may even love this iconic symbol of artistic prowess more than I do. I have read books about both Walt himself, and about the Walt Disney Company. Books about Michael Eisner, and even books BY Michael Eisner. I know this company, and I love this company.
I’m also of the personality type where I am easily able to start and maintain a collection of just about anything. From Pez Dispensers to Zippo Lighters, and even Shot Glasses. The list goes on and on. But above all my collections, one sticks out the most. Vinylmation.
About a year and a half ago, I started getting into hardcore collecting of these amazing 3inch vinyl figures. It started after one of my girlfriends many trips to Disney. She bought me a Vinylmation from the Toy Story set, and I was hooked. What started with Rex from Toy Story has amounted into a collection that is just shy of 400. That’s 400 individual Vinylmation figures. And to be honest, I’m not even sure which is my favorite! I want to share with you my perspective on the hobby itself, as far as where it’s been and where it’s going Join me.
The child in all of us.
First, I’d like to share with you my thoughts on a subject I hear brought up very often. The subject, or idea, that not every Vinylmation is for everyone in order to maybe shed some light on a different perspective.
Each design is individually amazing. And I mean that. Even the ones I have no aspirations of purchasing are expertly designed and do a fantastic job at attracting their target audience. To take an idea, draw it out on a computer, and wrap it onto a 3D form factor is truly magical work.
For example, let’s take the Nursery Rhymes set. The designs in this set are absolutely stunning and each artist did a sensational job at celebrating a story that each and every one of us has heard as a child. Not all of the figures were destined to end up in my collection, but the point is that they all weren’t intended to be in my collection. They were intended to be in the collection of those who these appeal to most, and that may not be everyone. The designs of all of the recent Disney Store releases are relatable to the young and the young at heart! They are designed for the youngsters who have been under the big top, love wrestling, and enjoy Nursery Rhymes. And for the adults who remember those special times in their childhood, or similar experiences with their own children. These figures, while clearly and fairly not for everyone, allow Disney to introduce the wonderful world of art into the lives of children, and to appeal to the child in all of us past that stage of our life.
If you have no intention of purchasing an individual figure, or set, that is absolutely your choice. But I do encourage you to understand why that set may have been created, and how it may appeal to many even though it doesn’t appeal to you so that we can share this view with those who think negatively of a design/set. Remember, very talented artists worked very hard to design these incredible figures we so long for.
The state of trading.
I think it’s fair to say it’s been a decent amount of time since we saw our last full set of Vinylmation released, besides Whiskers and Tales. In fact, at least for me personally, it feels like the longest stretch of time between releases since I began collecting in 2011. This is a good thing!
We have been presented the opportunity to take our [enormous] collections, and begin building relationships and trading more with others. Trading is at an all time high online and in person, because people have the opportunity to take a step back, examine their collections, and trade those they no longer need for those they do need. It’s almost like a much needed recess.
Now I know what you are thinking, “Scott, they took away all of the trading boxes at the parks! How could trading be at an all time high?!?!?”
We all understand the state of the trade boxes at the parks, at lest circa-2012. The boxes have been inundated at the parks with Vinylmations we are no longer seeking. I get that. But imagine the look on a little girl or boys face when he/she see’s Mickey painted with the flag from their country just ripe for the trading! While that may not appeal to everyone, it still has it’s merit for those in niche groups. But trading at the parks has grown quite “better” in recent weeks, with less common Vinylmation ending up in the boxes and making 1,000′s of magic moments for guests. There may not be as many spots to trade in now, but the content of the limited trading boxes has gotten much more desirable. The strategy is working! Embrace it!
But I also understand the thrill of going store to store trading and how much fun that can be. Melanie and I used to go hotel to hotel trading, and it was so much fun! Now, we are making even more connections online and making trades together, and still having just as much fun! Trading is different now, and that’s ok!
This “recess” has also provided the community with a much heightened sense of just that; community! I have seen a dramatic spike in RAKs (Random Act of Kindness) over the past month or so. We are embracing the magic that is Disney, and that’s pretty amazing.
Change is a good thing.
Vinylmation the brand and Vinylmation the hobby are changing. Change can, and in this case, is a good thing.
I’m reminded of a quote from Ratatouille. “Change is nature. The part we can influence. And it starts when we decide.”
Disney announced many new and exciting changes back at Mickey’s Circus. The biggest being the switch from sets of 12 to sets of 8. I love this plan.
The reason I love it so much is because it gives collectors, both young and young at heart, a better chance to complete sets that really appeal to them. It also gives us a greater chance of blind boxing the one we so desire. But the point is, it’s different.
It almost feels like we are going into a Phase2 of Vinylmation once this “recess” is over.
I’m hearing rumors/reports that the table from D-Street and the Mickey made of Vinylmation that sits atop it have been removed and are being refurbished. Pairing that with the simplification of the trading at the parks (limiting the spots for trading), the simplification of the set size, and the heightened attention to detail in manufacturing is allowing both Disney and us the collectors to refocus our attention in a much simpler way on a product we love so much. And I couldn’t be more excited. The more I have to think about the hobby itself, the less it is a hobby and the more it becomes a hassle. Nobody wants that, especially Disney.
I encourage everyone to embrace these changes. Try to understand each decision that is made from other perspectives. And most importantly, enjoy this we hobby!
Vinylmation is in a very great place right now. After 4 years of doing things the same way, it was time for a change. Things were already great, I know, but things are getting better! Disney has created such an amazing brand for us all to enjoy and seek, and we are experiencing it at such an amazing point. Custom artists are creating amazing freelance work and Disney artists are designing fantastic sets. All of which have a special place in each and every one of our hearts. To many, these are just vinyl figures. But to Disney fans, these are pieces of art. Art that we display proudly on mantles, book cases, shelves, and more. The community is growing at a rapid rate, and we are all meeting such amazing new people. And Disney is moving right along with us, making changes as they see fit for the betterment of our experience. Because that’s what it comes down to with Disney; the magical experience they expect us all to have. Enjoy this hobby as it grows and evolves, meet amazing new people, and keep on collecting and trading!