Guide to grading Enamel Pins + manufacturing expectations

Guide to grading Enamel Pins + manufacturing expectations

Liam B.
5 minute read

How do you know your Enamel Pins are high quality?

Welcome Creators to the important world of Pin grading!

 

You are most likely here because you have found out that not all Enamel pins are created equal and you care about the quality of your enamel pins and you just want to know more :)

This guide covers why and how to grade enamel pins and flaw rates. To start, not every artist or manufacturer cares about grading, with any good manufacturer or store should have a page like this to explain their grading process. 

Always trust an artist & manufacturer who understands the enamel pin grading process, it shows they care for their craft and customers.

Our strict grading process and quality checks include each pin individually assessed by two different team members, protective packaging for shipping, dustproof manufacturing area and only using the highest grade materials. Since grading can vary between creators and collectors, this guide compiles various grading methods to create a true guide/standard for grading your enamel pins.

Why does grading matter?

Enamel pin manufacturing is significantly handmade, making this product uniquely beautiful, no two pins are exactly alike. Being handmade makes enamel pins like pieces of art, and being handmade means there is a much higher chance for imperfections. A grading scale informs other artists and customers what quality to expect from your enamel pins.

Pin grading simply refers to when pins are being quality-checked using a predetermined grading scale.

Enamel pin flaw rates

Flaw rates are obvious flaws or major imperfections, from your order depending on your manufacturer you should expect from 10% to 50% considered. Anything below 10% is considered great, and our quality is well within this range. To help artists with this low imperfection rate we also deliver more than the number of pins you ordered. Be careful, a common horror story is a lower-priced or lower-quality factory that ends up costing you much more with the pins you can't sell. 

Flaw rates can increase from which manufacturer you work with, the degree of difficulty in your design, the size of the pin and size of areas needing enamel fill, and the amount of colors needed to manufacture your design. It is impossible for all pins to be flawless which is why the pin grading system was born :)

"A great way to get value out of enamel pins that are lower quality or have major imperfections is adding them to customer orders as an added gift, or if you sell at conventions, give them away for free to staff/volunteers to say a big thank you! You will create lifelong fans and friends"

Some artists choose to sell these at cost heavily discounted rates but doing this can really take away some value from your store value.

 

The standard for grading your Enamel Pins 

A GRADE

This grade is for serious collectors and perfectionists. To avoid upsetting this kind of customer be really strict on the following criteria as these are set at the very worst in A grade. When in doubt downgrade your grading score or let your customer decide :)

Guidelines include:

  • tiny air bubbles trapped in the enamel
  • minor enamel underfill
  • minor metal plating imperfections or scratches
  • small nicks on the enamel or metal plating
  • imperfections around the sides or back of the pin

B GRADE                                                              

These are pins with flaws that are more obvious. While some people display their pins, many wear them. B-grade pins are mostly intended to be worn on jackets, bags, and hats.

These are intended to be worn on bags and backpacks, so it is important that they don't fall off. Since they aren't perfect, these are the best option for people who enjoy showing off their pins. 2 pin backs...still recommend locking backs for heavy use.

Those who can't justify dinging up what is an otherwise perfect pin.

Guidelines include:

  • small areas of missing enamel
  • moderately scratched or nicked enamel or metal
  • small gouges in the enamel or metal
  • multiple imperfections
  • incorrect glitter
  • missing plating or flaking plating

C GRADE

These are the pins no creator wants to have, it generally means these are pins need to be remade and aren't able to be sold. There will always be flaws in manufacturing (check the flaw rate section above) but a good manufacturer will have measures to help when there are too many flaws and prevent them in the first place with higher quality checking.

Expectations of manufacturing

Each enamel pin is individually made by hand, meaning, they are all unique on their own. So variations in your order of pins can happen.

All enamel pins go through rigorous quality grading before they leave our factory. Although no order can be 100% perfect, we help to deliver the best experience for our creators by manufacturing more than the paid order and sending these with the order.

Below is a handy table to let you know what is acceptable in pin manufacturing.

 Acceptable Unacceptable
Small areas of dust, fibers, bubbles Missing/ chipped enamel paint
Uneven/overspill enamel paint/glitter Variation of Pantone color in the same order
Slight variation in Pantone color Highly Tarnished
Minor variation from a previous order Missing cut-outs
Some slight marks Broken fixing
Minor flashing on edges Fixing position makes pin hang upside down
Variation in clutch position

Now you have the knowledge to grade your enamel pins like a professional, it's time to teach others and keep the quality high :)

Our team is so excited to work with you! Want to know more? Contact us below

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