How do I know your patches are truly old/vintage?
Because when we found our first 15,000 patches at a rundown flea market and recognized the potential of old patches, we began to learn. We spoke to grandchildren running their forebearers’ embroidery companies. We analyzed patches found in groups for similar traits and characteristics. We reached out to others who were selling supposedly old patches. And it helps that Adam is an old elephant who remembers some of the sixties and most of the seventies. Over the years our learning curve has flattened somewhat but we still are learning: we recently confirmed that iron-on applications were used in the 1940’s for example. We can take a patch, flip it over, flip it over again, smell it, stretch it and determine its age most of the time. I guess we’ve become experts. Patch sellers consult with us. And we are always researching…always. However, there is a limit to what we wish to know; we stay away by and large from police/fire/military and scouting patches. Those are specialties for others. YOU KNOW WHAT WE SELL IS VINTAGE BECAUSE WE STRIVE EVERYDAY TO DELIVER OUR PROMISE.
What does VINTAGE mean really?
Good question. It’s a widely bandied and abused term. For us Vintage means either 25 years old or legitimately made (under license, or in the times when licensing wasn’t a big deal – think 1970’s and earlier). A patch with a provenance of 2004 by a legitimate company that is made under license is a vintage patch because it is a patch that comes from a company that made it to reflect market demand, and made it legally. A patch from the 1970’s that a company made, either with or without permission, is after all a very old patch. The fact is, you could buy a patch in K-Mart or Woolco in 1975 that was made without any consultation with the copyright owner. Back then companies saw this as free advertising, times were cool and things were liberal. Companies didn’t get too bent out of shape about what today corporations see as egregious transgressions of intellectual property rights. Today if you made a patch that had Mickey Mouse saying “I love orgies” you’d go to jail (directly, no stop at the local tavern). Back then, it was all good fun. Vintage means it has age, a story, a legitimate appeal that isn’t artificially manipulated.
Who makes fake or counterfeit patches?
We don’t, and we don’t usually make any patches whatsoever. We did make a Hedonism patch because we could not find one (not the Jamaican resorts, but the philosophy to be clear). 90% of patches on eBay are counterfeit. We are aware of American embroiders making counterfeit patches for anyone interested in paying up. We have seen stores in Asia chock full of counterfeits. We know of retired military personnel on far away islands with their excellent knowledge of pop culture and sports and cars and music churning them out. Loads of people do.
Can you assist our company with IP Infringement Services?
Yes. We can reduce the widespread theft down to a trickle. But know this: you will need to participate in the process; we cannot do it alone.
Should my company consider patches as a serious revenue stream?
Most companies greatly underestimate the loss of potential revenue from patches. To the tune of millions of dollars. Go figure.
What are the different types of patches?
The most commonly known patch construction (or type of manufacturing technique) known to North Americans is the Embroidered patch. Embroidered patches are thick, have varying textures and are pleasant to touch.
In the UK they most often made (and make) woven patches. Woven patches feature more precise small details but have a universal thickness.
Printed patches are patches that have their imagery printed on one of many materials, including cloth, cardboard, plastic, and metallic foils (to name but some).
That thick border many patches have, a round tube-like finish is called a merrowed border, and it can be found on patches from different eras and on all three types of patches listed above. Until the early 1970’s merrowing was quite expensive and time-consuming and many patches from the early 1970’s and earlier had embroidered or simple stitched borders because it saved the manufacturer money to make them this way.
Can I send my jacket to you to get done up?
Sure. You pay shipping both ways. Our sewing services are excellent, very inexpensive ($5 a patch - or less based on volume!) and we get it right the first time. We provide design consultation at no charge. In fact, we’ve done many jackets for folks who walked out clicking their heels.
Are you looking for influencers?
There are some things in the works, but if you have a legitimate passion for patches and all things retro and you can justify your ask then we may just climb into bed with you.
How do I care for my patches that are on hats or clothing?
It’s best to hand wash. It’s also a pain in the ass. We throw our jackets and jeans in the front loader but we NEVER toss them in the dryer. Because we sew right through the centre of the merrowed border yo0ur patches won’t shrivel or distort as long as you keep them away from the dryer. Your clothes dryer will destroy your patches. Take care of your patches and they’ll outlive you.
Are patches a good investment?
Like all collectibles patches can appreciate in value. We’ve seen market prices go up quite a bit over the last two years. The round BEEP BEEP YUR ASS light blue merrowed border patch that is associated with both the Roadrunner/Coyote and Mopar is far scarcer than it was even three years ago. We’ve seen exactly one Frank Zappa patch from the 1970’s and Neil Young’s stuff is murder to find. Ditto Billy Idol and Bob Seger. Peter Max patches from the 1970’s are out of sight hard to find, and as groovy as they were you can expect to pay over $100.00 for one.
Do you buy collections?
Of course, But you won’t be getting rich. When we buy 500 patches from someone that someone must recognize that we are locking up capital in these patches for years to come. Because with thousands of patches to offer people that patch or this patch might sell only once every month or six months etc. You can expect $1-$2 per piece if we like what you have, we won’t necessarily like all you have or want them, and we are just as likely to trade as buy, or a combination of these two transactional methods.
Do you wholesale?
We have a short client list of companies and people we trust who appreciate patches as much as we do and we do sell them to them. Minimum $1000.00 per order.
There are companies we refuse to sell to because they do not represent patches truthfully (they mix our old patches in with reproductions that they also offer as ‘vintage’). There are companies who don’t exercise courtesy or respect our pricing. We’re selective and we may ask you for your elevator pitch business model (we do not want to see you fail).
We do NOT manufacture patches.
Do you do costume design?
Not specifically but we’ll help and advise where we can, and yes we have sold to costumers and clothing designers in the past, and some of our current clients are up and coming clothiers.
My question isn’t here….
Better write to us then, and we’ll do our best. We always have time to talk patches!