I’d like to welcome you to the PCA Blog! This blog is geared to give everyone an unfiltered view of the PCA and our collecting journey. Throughout 2021 we will transition from part-time operation to a full-time platform dedicated to empowering pop culture collectors. Last year we asked our followers: How do we improve the PCA? They answered with an astounding “MAKE MORE CONTENT!” I’m proud to announce to the world the content overload is on the way!
I would like to give a quick disclaimer (much like many of my articles) about this blog:
First: I am NOT a scholar nor do I pose as one. I ask for your forgiveness in advance because I will mess something up, say something stupid, misstate something, or all three at the same time. That’s what the comment section is for. Also, you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
Second: This blog is not only informational but for your entertainment. Again grammar is not my strength (math only here) but I want you guys to know what it’s like to run the PCA on a day-to-day basis and this is the best way I know how.
Third and Finally: WE ARE HERE TO HAVE FUN!!! WE WILL DO JUST THAT. THIS YEAR WILL BE AMAZING, I PROMISE!
This past year has shown the world everything could change in an instant. The way we work, shop, spend our leisure time and visit our friends and family has changed for the foreseeable future. The collecting landscape has changed as well. The long waits at conventions, stores, and shops have now become patiently sitting at your computer wondering if your checkout information is saved. This change isn’t necessarily a bad thing however it is different, but brighter days are on the horizon.
I miss attending conventions and the unique opportunity to spend time with other collectors. Also sharing the pain of waiting in line built extremely strong bonds within our community. Now conventions are struggling to hold 2021 event dates as we cross our fingers in unison hoping for the possibility of waiting in line. At NYCC 2019 I said, “I’ll never wait in line at a convention again!” Now I can’t wait for my next opportunity to wait.
Though the “how” we collect has been placed on a momentary pause, the “why” remains accurate.
Retailers, conventions committees, and even collectible companies have found creative ways to make collecting fun. Most conventions last year held virtual events and release parties. Funko with the help of influencers had live streams and even a Funko Fair event in place of Toy Fair 2021. We collectively turned to social media, podcasts, YouTube, and other forms of media to fill our thirst for community interaction. But are these changes permanent? What will future conventions look like? Is it even possible to put 150,000 people into a convention hall ever again?
However, I don’t believe in a doom and gloom forecast. As the number of vaccinated people increase and Covid-19 cases begin to gradually fall we should see the world start to reopen slowly. Collecting should also return to normal with some changes across both retail and convention shopping experiences. Big box retailers and conventions will alter their business strategies to incorporate a mixture of more online sales to avoid lines and large crowds.
Conventions especially will shift operations to more of an online presence. The biggest risk exists with the celebrity guests and retailers’ attendance. I’ve attended conventions as a retailer, press, influencer, and fan. Where I quickly discovered retailers come from all over the US. While it’s more appealing to sell in person, I’d like to know how much of their operations have shifted towards online sales. Setting up for a convention is expensive work and most of these vendors have invested a TON of money into their equipment. I doubt they would take an unnecessary risk until attendance numbers are somewhere near normal.
More importantly, what do big name retailers do for conventions?
Funko has already started announcing exclusives for ECCC this spring. Probably because Funko has to design and produce exclusives far in advance for each event. I only hope Funko intends to hold a small amount of product for ECCC (now scheduled in Dec 2021). ECCC wouldn’t be the same without Funko’s presence.
Over the last year, a large number of online retailers popped up because collectors are forced to purchase more online. This translates into more competition and variety for consumers, not to mention all the great deals. Additionally, Whatnot and other online auction formats offer more discount opportunities for collectors. This past year has delivered incredible deals to collectors and we think 2021 will be even better.
Even smaller designer toymakers have jumped headfirst into the expanding collectibles market. I’m very excited to see what Abominable Toys, Bimtoy, Quiccs, and other designer toy companies will release in 2021. It’s the most interesting dynamic for collectors in the coming years. Even veteran Funko collectors have expanded to include Bimtoy, Abominable, Superplastic, etc. There is also so much room to grow in this creative space and because there is a smaller open market, creators don’t feel like competitors. This leaves flexibility to grow, collaborate and bring collectors the best possible products to the market. If you’re not excited, you should be.
The generosity within the community never ceases to amaze me. Whether collecting or life throws us a curveball, friends are always there to step in and assist. I witnessed collectors helping with convention-exclusive items, missed product drops, and even fundraisers for members who were in need. The PCA has always felt more like a family to me and 2020 proved that yet again. Having an amazing network of friends and family is such an underrated asset, especially when hunting online. I should have missed some amazing items in 2020, but the kindness of others prevented that. Thank you all!
We have A LOT to look forward to in 2021.
As the world slowly returns to normal so will collecting. So many amazing products will release this year and all collectors will benefit from them. While conventions may not be the same as we return to normal they are coming back and I can’t wait. Remember to look out for your friends, family, and other collectors. Hopefully, I’ll see you in a line somewhere in the near future. Until then we’ll all just have to wait online…. Hoping we have our checkout information saved for a one-click checkout.