Pop Mart Guide 

Thanks to social media platforms such as TikTok and Xiaohongshu, Pop Mart has become increasingly popular in recent years. But most people don’t know that the Chinese company actually got its start 12 years ago – that’s the same amount of time needed to give birth to a child and nurture them till they’re old enough to take the PSLE.

Still, it’s never too late to start your own Pop Mart collection. We consulted ardent collectors to gather a list of things to take note of when you’re starting out, including ways to tell if you’ve accidentally bought a knockoff, tips to maximise resale values, and how to show off your brand new collection.

What exactly is Pop Mart?

Image adapted from: POP MART

Pop Mart’s influence has quickly spread outside of Asia thanks to word of mouth. In China alone, the brand operates 288 outlets and more than 1,800 figurine vending machines known as “roboshops”. Though Pop Mart is best known for their coveted figurines, they also sell dollhouses, ball-jointed dolls, and lifestyle goods.

Now, you may be wondering, “How are they different from Funko Pop?” Don’t let Pop Mart enthusiasts hear that question unless you’re looking for trouble. Unlike Funko Pop, Pop Mart figurines aren’t designed based on a vaguely cubic template, and they’re considered a little more highbrow. 

7 Pop Mart Tips & Hacks For Starting Your Collection That'll Confirm Make Others JellyImage adapted from: Pop Mart, The Toy Chronicle

The company calls their figurines “art toys”. Though that may sound pretentious, Pop Mart has teamed up with museums and independent artists to produce highly sought-after designs. All in all, designs run the gamut from mainstream Minions to the Mona Lisa. Go figure.

1. Sell or trade your repeats on Carousell, Facebook & Telegram

Unless you’re supremely lucky because you saved an entire nation in your past life, chances are you will pull repeats in your blind box journey. But don’t fret – there’s a thriving Pop Mart community in Singapore, which means it’s easy to buy, sell, and trade (BST) your figurines.

Image adapted from: Popmart Figurine Trade/Sell Singapore

The easiest way to get started is to join the Popmart Figurine Trade/Sell Singapore group on Facebook. It’s primarily a group for buying, selling, and trading Pop Mart Figurines, but as you go along, you’ll find yourself connecting with other enthusiasts.

Prices of all figurines up for sale are clearly listed, making it easier to shop around for the best bargain.

BST groups can also be found on Telegram. One prominent group is POPMART SG, which has close to 2,000 members as of September 2022. The similarly named POPMART SG 🇸🇬 group is a tad smaller, but it’s just as active.

Image adapted from: Carousell

Brave souls can consider venturing onto Carousell – though some sellers find transactions tricky, it’s a good place for buyers to source for Pop Mart figurines. For peace of mind, look for sellers with “Carousell Protection” in their listings. 

2. Stay away from boxes with dull or blurry printing

Pop Mart figurines aren’t cheap – a chonky 60cm model was priced around $4,500 on the official Pop Mart Singapore site when we checked in early September. Regular ones typically go for $10-$20 on the resale market, though coveted models can fetch much, much more.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that there’s a flourishing market for counterfeits. If you’re only buying from the official channels, then there’s no need to worry about fakes. But those diving into the world of resellers should take note of the following tips to avoid getting fleeced.

7 Pop Mart Tips & Hacks For Starting Your Collection That'll Confirm Make Others JellyDull colours on fake box (left) vs vibrant colours on authentic box (right).
Image adapted from: Air-Shooting嵐攝

Compared to fakes, authentic figurines come in boxes with vibrant colours and clear printing. In other words, dull and blurry printing are giveaways that the product is a knockoff. Fakes may also have printing inaccuracies, missing logos and credits, as well as misspelt words.

Authentic One Day of Molly boxes (right) have anti-piracy stickers, as well as Facebook and Instagram logos.
Image adapted from: Air-Shooting嵐攝

Also, look out for security features such as QR codes and holographic stickers bearing Pop Mart’s logo – these are reliable indicators of the product’s authenticity. Unfortunately, not all series may have these features.

Lack of air holes in fake One Day of Molly foil packaging.
Image adapted from: Air-Shooting嵐攝

Auths can also have foil packaging emblazoned with Pop Mart’s logo.
Image adapted from: 雪糕頻道

A few Taiwanese collectors on YouTube have uploaded tutorials on how to spot fakes. One pointed out that the foil packaging of knockoffs lack air holes, while another channel showed that auths have foil packaging emblazoned with Pop Mart’s logo. 

Missing copyright logo on the fake figurine (left).
Image adapted from: 雪糕頻道

Knockoffs tend to have sloppy paintwork, missing copyright logos on the bottom of the figurines, and rough detailing around the seams where parts of the toy are joined together.

Knockoff on top, auth below.
Image adapted from: Air-Shooting嵐攝

Basically, anything that looks low-effort and shoddy is likely to be a fake. Your best bet is to do your research beforehand – check out product reviews from reliable buyers, then compare them with the online listing that you’re eyeing.

And if the price is suspiciously low, then the product is unlikely to be authentic. 

3. Buy whole boxes to avoid repeats

7 Pop Mart Tips & Hacks For Starting Your Collection That'll Confirm Make Others JellyImage credit: Pop Mart

Though a large part of Pop Mart’s appeal comes from its blind box concept, some people place the goal of completion above the joy of surprises. Those with deep pockets can buy what’s known as “whole boxes” – full sets containing all the figurines in a series. That way, it’s impossible to get repeats.

Some series include secret designs also known as “chase” figures. And since these full sets don’t have repeated figurines, the chances of getting a secret design is higher than buying the boxes individually.

If you do end up getting a secret design in your whole box, it will take the place of a regular design in your whole box. In other words, you’ll have to go on the hunt for that one last regular figurine to truly complete your series. Still, it’s much easier and cheaper to get your hands on a regular model on the resale market than it is to get a chase figure.

4. Get the best pro -tips from other fans on Discord & Xiaohongshu

Image adapted from: Discord

Besides Facebook, you can also find Pop Mart communities on Reddit and Discord. The r/VinylToys subreddit is a good starting point even though it isn’t primarily Pop Mart-focused. Use it to get in touch with other fans, who will be able to recommend Discord servers where you’ll find like-minded collectors and tips on where to score the figurine of your dreams.

According to Reddit user u/LiarDimoo, Yahoo Japan Auctions and Mercari Japan – a website similar to eBay – are treasure troves for people in search of highly sought-after toys. They also recommend joining toy Discord channels such as My Plastic Heart and Strangecat Toys.

7 Pop Mart Tips & Hacks For Starting Your Collection That'll Confirm Make Others Jelly
Image adapted from: Xiaohongshu

Seeing as Pop Mart is a Chinese company, it isn’t surprising that the brand has a large following on Xiaohongshu, a China-based social media platform. Think of Xiaohongshu as a mish-mash of TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook on steroids.

7 Pop Mart Tips & Hacks For Starting Your Collection That'll Confirm Make Others Jelly
Image adapted from: 泡泡玛特 POP MART

The brand has an official Pop Mart Xiaohongshu account where they upload sneak peeks of upcoming collections and unboxing videos. You can even purchase figurines through the app itself, though it does require a working knowledge of Chinese as there’s no translation function on Xiaohongshu.

There are tons of life hacks and tutorials on Xiaohongshu, though it takes a while for the algorithm to recognise the content that you want. To help the algorithm along, search up Pop Mart fan accounts and browse through the #popmart hashtag. Once the algorithm gets it, you’re all set. 

According to a colleague who is deep into the Pop Mart life, the platform is home to figurine collectors who are so hardcore that they can tell apart figurines in blind boxes based on their weight alone. Meanwhile, other users also routinely share tips and tricks on how to get the figurine you want. 

7 Pop Mart Tips & Hacks For Starting Your Collection That'll Confirm Make Others JellyImage credit: 泡泡玛特 POP MART

TikTok is another great way to find unboxing videos. You get to see what the figurines look like in real life, and it’s also a good reference when you need to determine the authenticity of a figurine you bought from a reseller.

Similar to several hardcore collectors on Xiaohongshu, there’s a grandmother on TikTok who can predict the figurine inside blind boxes just by shaking them. Though we can’t magically absorb her powers simply by watching these clips, the videos are plenty entertaining by themselves.

5. Don’t open the foil packaging if you’re planning to resell

Image credit: @ellyho07

Don’t open the foil packaging unless you’re sure that you want to keep the figurine. Otherwise, the resale value will plummet. 

Resellers will usually have phrases such as “still in foil” or “BNIF” (brand new in foil) to indicate that the foil packaging is still intact. So if the integrity of the foil packaging is something you care about, now you know what to look out for. 

7 Pop Mart Tips & Hacks For Starting Your Collection That'll Confirm Make Others Jelly
Image credit: @kkmxtoys

Though some sellers will have phrases such as “opened foil to check” in their listings, there’s actually a better way of knowing which figurine you’ve pulled. Each box comes with a card indicating the model inside, so you don’t actually have to open the foil packaging to check which one you’ve pulled.

That said, a colleague wisely commented, “Some people just like the thrill of opening it and seeing the figurine itself first without knowing what’s the design.” Treat the packaging like you’d treat your significant other’s heart – with loving care and tenderness.

Lastly, to ensure that your figurine sells for a good price, don’t rip the box. 

6. Buy acrylic display cases to keep your babies dust-free

Image credit: @kks.neverland

To keep your babies in tip-top shape, protect them by keeping them in acrylic display cases. These cases can be purchased on online shopping platforms such as Shopee. A simple 3-tier box costs around $20 from reputable sellers.

This 3-layer acrylic display case has over 2,100 sales to date, while another LED figurine display case has sold around 1,400.

Taobao also carries a huge selection of acrylic cases – search for “亚克力展示盒” (translation: acrylic display case) and pick sellers with ratings above 4.5. 

Image adapted from: Tmall

Pro -tip: sellers on Tmall – it’s like Shopee Mall, but for Taobao – are generally more trustworthy and their refund policy is more customer-friendly.

Keep your figurines out of the sun or the paint will fade faster than that guy in your OG who claims to hold his liquor well. But if you aren’t precious about keeping your figurines in mint condition, it’s fine to leave them out in the open. Ultimately, your collection should give you more joy than anxiety.

7. Set aside a budget

7 Pop Mart Tips & Hacks For Starting Your Collection That'll Confirm Make Others JellyImage credit: @spin_bound

Completionists are compelled to collect ‘em all, but it can be easy to veer into addiction. 

Case in point – a Financial Times article details the story of “an avid collector [who] bought 106 KFC meals at once just to get his hands on a Pop Mart toy as part of a promotion. Others paid proxies to order food for them or simply discarded their meals after buying them.”

If you know you’re an “all or nothing” kind of person, set some hard limits for yourself. Give yourself a monthly budget to spend on the figurines and don’t exceed it. Again, collecting figurines should be a hobby that gives you happiness, but not at the expense of your quality of life. It’s not worth giving up rent and grocery money just for an extra figurine or two.

Pop Mart collection tips & tricks

7 Pop Mart Tips & Hacks For Starting Your Collection That'll Confirm Make Others Jelly
Image credit: AliExpress

Jumping headfirst into a new hobby can be daunting, but it’s not difficult to start your own Pop Mart collection. In Singapore, there are 18 roboshops and 6 Pop Mart retail stores at the time of writing, so it’s easy to get your hands on authentic figurines. Check the Pop Mart Singapore store finder page for a full list of locations.

Those who prefer to shop online can check out the official Pop Mart Shopee store, Pop Mart AliExpress store, and Pop Mart Tmall store.

And if you want to try your luck on the resale market, bookmark our guide for easy reference.

Other cool hobby-related content to check out:

Cover image adapted from: @kks.neverland, Pop Mart, 雪糕頻道.

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