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6 Ways Funko Pops Turned Everyone Into Collectors

pops header

Don’t let those big heads and beady eyes fool you; Funko CEO Brian Mariotti has called Funko Pop vinyl figures the “gateway drug for collectibles.”

It’s a bold statement, but he’s right. With over 1000 licensed toys covering every genre and series in modern pop culture, Funko Pops have been flying off store shelves everywhere. Fans have lightheartedly taken to the internet to confess their collecting addictions, and even celebrities have posed alongside their miniature figures.

Yet how exactly do Funko Pops turn casual toy fans into die-hard collectors? As it turns out, the answers are shockingly simple.

1: Attracting the non-collectors

Though the Funko company has produced bobbleheads and action figures since 1998, Funko Pops were originally a risky endeavor. When Brian Mariotti debuted prototype toys called “Funko Force 2.0” at the San-Diego Comic-Con in 2010, the audience reaction was lukewarm. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Mariotti explains that fans of Funko figurines were put off by the “look and feel” of the toys, and others were disappointed that the heads didn’t bobble. However, after receiving a positive reception from customers who “never purchased Funko items before,” Mariotti decided to rebrand the toys as “Funko Pop” and continue production.

After securing the rights of over 25 different licenses, Funko began shipping its new products to outlets outside their usual comic book and collectible shops. By continuing to market to those who had never considered collecting before, Funko was able to tap into a brand new market and take the world by storm.

funko pop hulk 2: Covering all of pop culture

The average collectible appeals to specific niches. Amiibo caters to video game fans, sports fans will seek out baseball cards, etc. Collectibles can bring together those of similar tastes, and it’s amazing to see the enthusiastic communities that are created by people who love their stuff. You could even say that collectors join and form clubs built for this specific purpose.

Self promotion aside, Funko Pops are unique because they appeal to so many interests. Whether a person is a fan of anime, classic animation, or prime time sitcoms, there’s a Funko Pop catered to their tastes. By uniting these fandoms under the Funko Pop brand, the inclusive franchise has infinite potential for growth.

funko pop little mermaid

3: Keeping the price low

The average Funko Pop runs for $8-$12, a range that comfortably falls under the “impulse buy” zone for most collectors. With the price offering such a low barrier of entry, potential buyers can purchase a Funko Pop figure without feeling like they’re investing heavily in the hobby.

This isn’t to say these little figures can’t be expensive though; quite a few can be found online for hundreds of dollars a piece. Perhaps Funko Pops should be considered an investment after all!

funko pop bioshock

4: Using simple designs

Funko Pops owe much of their low price to their design template. Though some figures do differ from the norm, the majority of Funko Pop figures maintain the big-head-small-body proportions. It’s an immediately recognizable style, yet each toy also remains faithful to the characters that inspire them. Details like the Joker’s wide smile and Wall-E’s sad robot eyes are not left out.

In fact, the characteristics are so distinct that some fans design custom Funko Pop figures of their own. By using template figures provided by Funko themselves, artists have adapted characters such as Mega Man and Space Ghost into Funko Pop toys. Some have even mistaken these fan creations as officially released Funko products!

funko pop edward scissorhands

 5: Organizing figures by series

With the sheer diversity of franchises on display, collectors may want to limit their focus to specific Funko Pops. The Funko company anticipated this, so they organized their toys into distinct product lines such as “Pop! Animation” and “Pop! Marvel.”

Each Funko category features its own numbering system and distinctly marks its franchises. This allows collectors to easily identify what they’re looking for and aim to complete smaller collections under the Funko Pop umbrella.

funko pop colossal titan

 6: Steadily releasing new products

Funko has acquired over 80 licenses for their toys, and the product line isn’t slowing down. By introducing subscription boxes and partnering with companies such as Loot Crate, even the ways to buy Funko Pops are growing. The Funko Pop franchise is constantly developing, and every new license it acquires keeps it relevant in the pop culture space. Even if collectors aren’t looking to add to their collection, the photo-sharing of new figures keeps them involved in the community.

funko pop bb8

As long as the promise of new vinyl figures is on the horizon, Funko Pops won’t be losing their appeal anytime soon.

The 10 Best Harry Potter Funko Pop Figures are Pure Magic!

funko pop harry potterJust like the Wizarding World, the world of Harry Potter collectibles is magical and vast. There are so many HP collector items out there that it’s hard to know where to start! We’ve combined two of our loves, Harry Potter and Funko Pop!s, to create a must-have list to simplify your collecting. Once you Pop, it’s hard to know when to stop. But if you must Pop, these are the best Harry Potter Funko Pop figures!

voldemort popVoldemort

Of course, we had to include He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named! A series is only as good as the villain so the Dark Lord made our cut of top HP Funkos — even if he is at number 10 (we hope he takes offense). Don’t stare into those beady eyes for too long or you could end up conjuring the Dark Mark! Add one to your collection if you dare.

Boggart popBoggart As Snape

We didn’t give poor Neville Longbottom a slot on our top 10, BUT, for all Neville supporters, we did include a hilarious and truly well-done Pop of his Boggart-turned-Grandmother. With Professor Lupin’s guidance, Neville was able to thwart the Boggart by picturing it in his Gran’s clothing. The Snape Boggart is memorably one of the funniest moments at Hogwarts! While this Pop! Is super limited (it was only sold at the 2017 New York Comic Con), it’s not too late! We managed to find one to add to your collection.

nearly headless nickNearly-Headless Nick

Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington will never get to join the Headless Hunt but you can add him to your Funko collection and be the envy of your friends. It will be a bigger hit than the living at a Deathday party. Not only is Nearly Headless Nick one of the few translucent Pops but our number eight pick also glows in the dark — no Lumos spell required! Not every Nick out there has this special charm. This one is a 2018 Summer Convention Exclusive Pop. So snatch it up before it disappears.

luna lovegood popLuna Lovegood with Spectre Specs

Luna Lovegood is our Patronus! The eccentric Ravenclaw is not only a fierce friend, she’s kind-hearted and thoughtful too. Any member of Dumbledore’s Army deserves a spot on your shelf so we’re recommending her for our number seven spot! There are many versions of Luna out there (including one in her iconic Lion Hat), but this one is by far our favorite! The Spectre Specs make this pop exceptional–but sadly it was a 2017 San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive, which makes it hard to find. You can still track one down but be fast! We’ve located one for sale but you better scoop it up before it’s stolen by a Nargle!

hagrid popHagrid (large)

This Pop is so big, it’s, well, Hagrid sized! The standard Pop may be 3.75 inches tall but Funko had to make Hagrid’s a Super Sized Pop at almost twice that size. Those extra 2.25 inches are needed to capture his big heart. If only Hagrid came as a flocked version, we would put him higher on our list of must-haves.

dobby popDobby

Dobby is a free elf! He’s free to take up residence in your Harry Potter collection! A house-elf no longer, thanks to Harry’s gift of a stinky sock, he’s perfect for adding a little mischief to your HP collection. Harry’s life, and yours too, would be so much less interesting without the “helpful” little guy! From his efforts to free other elves to his outrageous wardrobe– none of it would have been possible without this moment.

hermione sorting hat popHermione with the Sorting Hat

We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again, without Hermione Granger, Harry never would make it past the challenges in Philosopher’s Stone! Hermione was infamously almost sorted into the Ravenclaw house instead of Gryffindor during the iconic Hat Sorting ceremony for first-year students. Luckily for everyone in the Potterverse, Hermione became part of the most quintessential Gryffindor trio Hogwarts has ever seen! This 2018 Fall Convention exclusive is thankfully a pretty low-cost exclusive–it doesn’t take a skilled witch or wizard to see that you should grab one before the price climbs!

ron weasley chess popRon playing Wizard’s Chess

Ron may not be known for his book smarts but he can play a heck of a game of Wizard Chess! Ron sacrificed himself to save his besties, Hermione and Harry, during a very intense life-sized version of the dangerous game. Not only is this Pop worth having based solely on its artistic merits alone, but it’s also a beautiful symbol of friendship and courage. We love you, Ron!

harry potter hogwarts popHarry and the Hogwarts Express

We’re cheating a little here since this is actually two Pops in one, but it’s well worth the display space. This Harry Potter Funko rides the Hogwarts Express on his way to his first year at Hogwarts. The beginning of all his adventures start here and it’s where he first meets Ron and Hermione. In fact, Funko didn’t want to break up the trio and even sells Ron and Hermione Funkos in their own Hogwarts Express cars so they can be displayed together! It was a much more innocent time and a moment every Potter fan cherishes.

harry potter pop 1The First Harry Potter Funko

We’re taking it back to the very first-ever Harry Potter Funko Pop ever released, none other than #01 itself, Harry Potter, the original. Our first place pick has all the Harry Potter essentials, glasses, lightning bolt scar, a tie in Gryffindor colors, and a magic wand that we can only assume contains a phoenix feather. If you’re only going to add one Harry Potter Pop to your collection, it should be this one! If not for the character, then for the history it represents. The entire (now giant) line of Harry Potter Funko Pop!s began here. Luckily, they’re still available!

Are Funko Pop Figures the Next Beanie Babies?

funko pop collectionHave we fallen for another collecting fad? When will the Funko Pop bubble burst? Or will it ever?

Many collectors were burned once already, and apologies if the following two words trigger any kind of collector nightmare flashbacks: Beanie Babies. Some folks look at Funko Pop figures with a little bit of apprehension because of those bean-filled money pits, and with good reason. Our rose-colored glasses are off, and now we sit back and watch the Funko prices climb with understandable uncertainty. Many people are selling the rarest Funkos they can find with unbelievable speed, hoping to capitalize before the expected (and inevitable?) crash. We are all wondering the same thing: will Funkos go the way of Beanie Babies?

beanie babiesIt’s hard to see exceptionally rare Funko Pops like the Destiny Crota Target Exclusive Glow in the dark Chase (which sells for as much as $25,000), and not be amazed at how far they have gone. Fortunes are made in plastic if you pick up the right Funko. But can they last? The Big Difference: Beanie Babies captured us with their cute floppy forms. Children and adults alike loved the multicolored, adorably-named animals. The problem was, once the cuteness wore out, people got tired of them.

But the good news for Funko fans is that there is one thing that gives the vinyl figures more staying power, and it can be explained very easily. Pop Culture vs. Plaything. Beanie Babies were never meant to become fluffy goldmines, it was a side effect. Funko Pops bring our favorite fandoms to life.

funko pop collecting

That difference might seem small to outsiders, but to collectors, this is HUGE. Fans will be clamoring for Star Wars or Doctor Who Pops for years to come. Funkos are low-cost collectibles that anyone can get their hands on, which makes them appealing even to people who don’t consider themselves collectors. Who doesn’t want a cute version of their favorite character on their shelves? And don’t get us started on the Chase Pops and the exclusives! If you really love Funkos, these rarer Funkos sell for much higher prices than their common counterparts. Beanie Babies never had such a collector driven mindset.

So will the Funko boom end?

disney funko popEventually, Funko toys may not be as popular as they are now, but the truth is, they have a much better chance for survival than the Beanie Babies craze ever did. When you mix constantly evolving fandoms and cost-effective collectibles, everyone wins. We’re pretty sure Funko will be around for a long time. Their adorability and size make them attractive to almost anyone, and their links to fandom make them irreplaceable in any collection!

The bottom line… if you collect what you like, you will likely be happy. Collect as an investment… well, you take your chances. But let’s hope this bubble doesn’t Pop!

Frodo Baggins Invisible Funko Pop! Returns… if You’re Allowed to Buy it

Were you able to get your hands on a Frodo Baggins Invisible Funko Pop! figure earlier this year? If not, the following news will either excite you or infuriate you.

invisible bilbo baggins popAustralian pop-culture retailer is currently accepting preorders for the iconic Lord of the Rings Pop! figure, with shipments estimated to go out by the end of May. The limited-edition Frodo Baggins Invisible figure debuted exclusively at Barnes and Noble in February, 2017, and already it has become widely sought after by collectors. Second-hand markets currently have the figure marked up to the $35 price range, and collectors estimate that the value will only increase as time goes on. After all, the invisible Bilbo Baggins figure released in 2014, and since then has seen its value hike as high as $90.

invisible frodo baggins popOn one hand, international collectors will finally have a chance to obtain this incredibly elusive figure at a reasonable price. On the other hand, residents of the United States and Canada are stuck scouting the second-hand market if they want their own Frodo Baggins Invisible Pop! figure. If you’re one of the lucky ones who nabbed the hobbit when he was originally available at Barnes and Noble, then consider snapping a photo for us so we can all tell you how jealous we are.

Either way, if you aren’t a North American resident and you know a Funko collector who is, expect to hear from them very soon. An unexpected journey indeed!