Funko, funko, funko… so much funko at London Toy Fair 2022

To read a bit more about their new releases for 2022 from Toy Fair these are in my Toy Fair 2022 round-up article, but I wanted to take some time to write a little more about these guys as they were the main company I was there to see and who I managed to get a closer look at.

As I mentioned to them while I was there I am a Funko collector myself and it is the company that really help to fuel my renewed interest in collecting, to the point where I have a very nice collection myself now (of Funko and beyond), run this site in my spare time and even launching my own line of sustainable figures later this year. No matter what I will always have a special place in my heart for this pop culture giant.

Now I want to start by saying that the collector in me has from time to time become a little disillusioned by Funko and I wanted to address these issues because seeing their stand today did just that for me. I am still a collector of Funko, albeit a slightly more selective one so it’s not all bad what I’m going to say now!

So why is the collector in me sometimes a bit fed up with Funko?

Depending on why you collect you may well want your collection to be a bit more exclusive… a little bit special. When Funko first came out this was easy! Their product lines were smaller and limited releases were much more limited. Many of their limited-edition releases now run into the tens of thousands regularly. They are finite so technically still limited but they just feel that bit more special. To be honest, they have started to address this anyway as the Fundays packages have returned in the states with nice limited edition figures, those soda figures don’t have insane release numbers and NFTs have actually helped too. Funko digital releases also come with real-life products which bring those limited numbers right back down… hopefully this is a trend that will continue.

However there is something much bigger to consider!

At the end of the day, we’re collecting toys! Products made for the masses to be enjoyed. I know, I know! Playing with a pop figure is a sin for many of us… even getting them out of the box is! But at the end of the day, this is what they are and it is us who have made it such a collectible. We… very much including me shouldn’t be bitter about their success because it feels like it affects the collectibility of our beloved pops.

This leads me on to my second gripe… which to be honest is actually more of a worry.

Why are they making so much stuff!

I do sometimes worry that with all the different things they make and sell… at their booth they had around 800 items on display and that’s just the tiniest fraction of what they do. I do worry that this might affect quality, productivity or even cash flow, because the last year has seen so many new lines being tried… popsies (this year), masks, gold, Christmas tree ornaments, and more. However, they seem to be doing well and their ranges are pretty secure. Most of all, when you see it all in one place, it actually makes sense. I can see why they make so many products and why shouldn’t they make something for everyone to enjoy?

Let people collect what and how they want to collect!

The final issue is my ongoing issue with their art series.

I don’t think it has been entirely resolved – I still don’t like most of them and think the recent art series teenage mutant ninja turtles figures for Target are a bit of an eyesore… BUT! I saw one of the Winnie the pooh ones today and have to admit that in real life (having just seen renderings before), I can actually see the appeal of some of these.

Even the gold figures, which I reviewed in the large figures actually look much better in person in the smaller size. I wasn’t a huge fan or convinced by the premium figure sales point for the larger ones but these small figures really do work! It sounds like they have got a lot of plans in the pipeline for this range beyond what they offer now, so we may well see some major improvements with these figures for the wider collectors audience… going back to rejoining that they’re trying to make their products accessible to anyone, no matter what you’re in to.

So as I said at the beginning, check out the toy fair roundup to see some more of what they had on offer along with everything else I saw while I was there, and in the meantime let’s stop focusing on which things we don’t perhaps like about the Funko direction these days (and let’s face it they’re never going to please us all, all of the time, and that’s ok), instead focus on why we started collecting them because of what we continue to like about them. Afterall they are the best pop culture collectibles on the market right now, so success and growth are only going to be natural!

Thank you Funko for showing me around and removing my collector’s blues… although I was kind of hoping for one of those nice little black funko bags 😉

3 thoughts on “Funko, funko, funko… so much funko at London Toy Fair 2022

  1. Q: Why are they making so much stuff?

    A: Funko is a business like any other, whose board of Directors will have a simple remit to increase profits. The simplest way to increase profits is to grow sales, which you can achieve initially by growing your customer base, but eventually your customer base will plateau so then you need to expand your product range in order to keep it going.

    Eventually your entire product range across all customer bases will reach saturation point, after which your sales will enter a period of decline. For a typical successful collectible range, that process takes around 20 years, although the diversity of Funko and worldwide success could see it take a bit longer. Once you enter that decline you end up with masses of unsold stock (often sold off cheap through discount retailers), values on the secondary market will start to fall, and collectors will enter the capitulation phase where they start to sell off their collections whilst they’re still worth something. This capitulation phase marks the beginning of the end, during which values continue to plummet. Eventually you will have only a handful of figures that are worth anything, whose value is only maintained by a small minority of collectors who refuse to let go (usually as a result of addiction to the brand).

    Funko know that day is coming, so they will not stop churning out everything they possibly can before it happens. Every collectible bubble bursts eventually, so all that matters to them is how much money they can make from now until it does. You can trust me when I say that looking after their collectors won’t be a core objective. Milking them for all they can get on the other hand, now that’s an objective they’ll be on board with.

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    1. I agree, this all comes back around to them of course at the end of the day being a business and at that being in the business of making toys, not necessarily purely the collectibles market – which I think has always to an extent been the case because of the price point they’ve always worked towards, as opposed to companies such as Mezco and Hot Toys where the price point is out of reach for your average child and where runs are slightly more limited. After all if the price is much higher you can afford to limit the numbers more.

      This is something which I had lost sight of by being constantly bombarded with new announcements, some times with several new ranges announced in a single day, but seeing it all together did help put it in to context. Whilst it is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to be a collector of Funko products the market is however open to collectors of so many different franchises. I think at the toy fair they had a drop of their franchises but still represented around 250 different ones! I’m not a big anime fan for example but there are plenty of options for those who do.

      As I mentioned it also comes down to why we collect. I have recently sold off a big part of my collection, but not to raise funds, many of them weren’t worth much, but instead to make some space (for both more pops and other companies too), allowing me to focus my collection more rather than single pops from within sets here and there. The only pops in my collection which are really worth anything are my Beavis and Butthead pops.

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