I think we’re witnessing some movement that’s shifting the entire trajectory of Funko and all its beloved product lines. I’m optimistic in this respect. I think everyone’s collection, rarest chase to most vanilla, might see value and rarity increase across the board. It’s a brave new world for collectors moving into 2024 and I’m betting everyone’s Pops will gain a rarity boost. After this year, I might propose referring to all Pops from ’98 to ’23 as “Mariotti Era.” Really, there is a huge shift happening and I think it only spells out huge benefits. Let me explain:
When I say “Mariotti Era,” I’m referring to the fact that now-former CEO Brian Mariotti stepped down from his role back in July. While he really just stepped aside and remained on the board, this move was in the aftermath of Funko’s stock unfortunately plummeting 70% from last year. That is no small disruption, that’s essentially a tank. The major cause of that sink is simply sales are down. I’m guessing that most collectors know by now that Funko also removed or destroyed $30 million worth of inventory.
Funko hasn’t been the only company that has had to remove inventory. Many brand supply chains wanted to ensure that through the coronavirus pandemic they could meet increasing demand without suffering losses due to empty shelves and backorders, i.e. stockouts. The classic bullwhip action occurred where Funko increased their inventory while at the same time the overall market slowed down.
The brighter side is that what Funko and every collector essentially wants, aside from not just owning a fun piece of their favorite pop culture genre, is that the value of their Pops either hold or increase. And that simply won’t happen when the market is oversaturated. Funko claimed they destroyed so many because the new distribution center was woefully overcapacity, having to rent out storage for the excess. Hence, greater net loss from inventory storage costs only made things more volatile.
Where the excitement arrives for every collector and Funko is that this kind of fiscal drama almost always moves companies to restructure and innovate a better product. And I think this fresh new collab they’re doing with Marvel and VeVe has potential to change things greatly. At New York CC, Funko introduces a new GOLD Iron Man as a mystery box collectible. Perhaps more interesting and cool, in my opinion, is that it comes with an NFT component. For anyone still kind of wondering what an NFT is, the best way I’ve heard it explained is that it’s like a unique and rare item or skin in a video game. No two are the same and this could be a big win for all collectors if Funko plans to expand the idea into more product lines.
According to Funko Blog, GOLD Iron Man will release October 18th this year as a limited 3,000 run with 5 versions: Classic Red and Gold (50% chance); Silver Suit (22% chance); Gold Suit (15% chance); Silver and Black Suit (12% chance); Black and Gold Suit (2% chance). Each mystery box includes a card that notes its number of 3,000 with a unique NFT code for a virtual render of the Pop.
It seems like this little product venture is sort of a test for what’s to come. Also, I wonder if this relates somehow to Funko Fusion coming out next year. I guess we’ll see how that rolls out. But I’m excited at the thought it’s a move in the right direction, specifically with collectors in mind. It has potential to increase value and lower concerns over chances the Pop you bought online is a fake. The entire concept of an NFT is that it’s unique and one of a kind. Honestly, how Funko hadn’t maximized this previously is a little confusing.
I believe this is great for all Pop collectors and Funko as a brand. The shaky market leading to miscalculations, disruptions and restructuring only make previous iterations and collectibles more valuable over time. There are many examples of this in the realm of collecting. It’s an exciting time!
JEFFREY WELLS | Writer
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