For Mayumi Roehm, “the happiest place on earth” isn’t Disneyland — it’s My-D Pins and Collectibles, a shop in Anaheim, California, where she sells Disney pins and other pop culture items to a community of enthusiasts, both in person and on eBay. Mayumi was recruited to work for My-D Pins by the owner when she was trading pins there as a hobby in 2014. Since then, she’s grown the store’s business exponentially, as well as its community of avid Disney fans.
Get to know Mayumi, and visit her eBay shop My-D Pins:
A Disney enthusiast with a passion for pins
I’m what they call a “childless millennial” and in my twenties I was spending all of my time at Disneyland. I had an annual pass and my friends and I were going to Disney every chance we got. Once I’d gone on all of the rides I needed a new way to enjoy the park, so I started buying pins and showing up for the new releases.
I’ve been collecting Disney pins for over ten years now and I’m finally very content with my collection. It's actually hard for me to find pins that I'm missing or haven't acquired yet.
One pin that I really cherish is a portrait of Rapunzel. At Disneyworld in Florida there’s a fairytale hall with six hanging portraits of princesses. Disney’s Imagineers took them and made them into pins, and I have the special Rapunzel set with a full body portrait that hangs in my home. (Editor’s note: Mayumi sells a range of Rapunzel pins in the eBay My-D Pins shop.)
From pin collector to professional trader
I started pin collecting back in 2011, and by 2014 I was attending pin trading events and swapping with experienced Disney collectors instead of just buying to keep them for myself. It was fun to see everyone show up to the events, schlepping metal, sometimes with backpacks and suitcases full of pins.
I was a big fan of My-D Pins and Collectibles before I started working there. The shop’s been around for 15 years, and they have a great community of pin collectors. I went to all of their pin trading events and the owner, Josh, liked how I was trading both with him and other people. He also noticed I was trading a large number of pins for someone who was fairly new to the community.
He offered me a job buying and selling pins and I’ve never looked back. I like helping people build out their pin collections, it’s really fulfilling. In addition to selling in person at the shop, I’ve grown our eBay store by putting our entire pin inventory on the platform instead of just the doubles.
Sourcing pins from coast to coast
We currently sell pins from Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney's Soda Fountain & Studio Store, Disney Auctions, and even overseas destinations. Whether it’s a classic Mickey Mouse pin or a Villains pin from the Disney Store, we usually have it in stock.
We source our “pinventory” from all around the United States. We participate in a lot of trade shows and conventions up and down the west coast and we travel to certain events in Florida and Washington. While we’re on the road we also check Craigslist and Facebook to see if we can find people selling interesting pins in the towns we visit.
A few years ago I came back from a Florida event with 150 pounds of pins. Not 150 pins, 150 pounds of pins. I was shocked when I saw a photo of them come up in my Facebook memories recently.
Authenticating pins and uncovering knockoffs
There are a lot of knockoff pins out there. It's unfortunate, but a lot of people buy fake pin lots and trade them for real Disney pins in the theme parks, essentially laundering them.
That’s why we try to authenticate as many pins as possible at My-D Pins and Collectibles. People come to us when they want to know if what they have is a real Disney pin, and sometimes they’re not. I often buy pin collections, and a good percentage of the pins are fake. I throw away a ton of imitation pins, because I don’t want them in circulation.
Once we’ve confirmed that a pin is authentic, we price it and use eBay as a benchmark to see what it’s selling for.
The Holy Grail of pins
One time I found a very sought-after Disney pin, and it felt like I had struck gold. It was from a series of beautiful, limited-edition pins autographed by the artist Elisabete Gomes. They’re hard to find in good condition, and I found one with Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty snoozing in her blue dress. I took my time finding the right person to trade it with, a special collector who kept it for themselves. (Editor’s note: Recently a similar pin was listed for $3,089 on eBay. Mayumi sells a variety of Princess Aurora pins in her eBay My-D Pins shop.)
Advice to sellers on finding community
Pin lovers should definitely check out Disney Pin Forum, as well as Reddit. Enthusiasts use the forums to share photos of pins and swap intel. Instagram and Facebook are also great places to connect with people looking for their pin fix. Searching hashtags is really helpful way to find pin collectors on Instagram such as #disneypintrading or #disneypins.
If you’re looking to meet other hobbyists like yourself, try to find people in your local area at social events. If there aren’t events related to your hobby happening near you, consider scheduling one yourself. Meetup is a great app for that. Just start off in a low key way and see if other people in your community share your interest.
Recently I attended eBay Open (eBay’s annual seller event) and that was a great way to find community as well. Everyone was so hospitable and friendly, and all the other sellers were so eager to share their experiences. It was very eye opening, and I even ran into some people I knew from Florida and Wisconsin. There were a lot of fun happenstances.
Where you can find Mayumi
Our shop is on eBay at My-D Pins and we use the same handle for Instagram. If you're in California, in the Anaheim area, we're open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Come visit if you’re a pins enthusiast or you just want to relive your childhood memories with us!
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