Monogram International makes a little bit of everything, from lanyards and mugs to pins and magnets. But the company’s signature item? Adorable, 3D foam bag clips that are available in dozens of your favorite characters and fandoms!
This year, the company has added some exciting new shows — such as the Star Wars fan-favorite The Mandalorian — to its product lineup. The company’s The Child coin bank just might be the cutest thing you see today!
We chatted with Michael Normann, vice president of sales and marketing at Monogram International, about their newest products, this year’s unusual convention scene, and more!
Pop Insider: Can you tell us about some of the new product releases that you are most excited for and why?
Michael Normann: We are very excited about our expanding line of blind bags and [coin] banks. We’ve seen great success so far with The Mandalorian/Baby Yoda and Friends (the TV sitcom) products so far in both categories, with the Baby Yoda Bank, the Friends Couch Bank, and both 3D foam blind bag collections.
PI: All of Monogram’s bag clips have such a unique style. What is the process like for designing them?
MN: We have an amazing design team over in Hong Kong helping us bring the creative vision of both Monogram and the licensors to life and making all parties satisfied. We have a great time coming up with new assortments to launch each year. We’re always working to make each release better than the last with greater detail and charm in each little 3D foam bag clip character to keep fans and collectors excited for more.
PI: How do you choose which characters (or, in the case of Friends, which versions of the characters) to make as bag clips?
MN: It’s a mix of different methods. We look at what’s trending with staying power in pop culture and also what characters our retailers’ customers look for specifically. We also like to engage with our fans on social media for what they’d like to see in future products.
PI: Right now, it seems like there is The Child merchandise coming out everywhere. What makes Monogram’s The Child/The Mandalorian items unique and appealing to fans?
MN: What sets our products apart is the accessibility of our products to everyone. We really pride ourselves in being able to provide high-quality collectibles at a reasonable price point.
PI: Your bag clips are available in blind bags and also in sets. In your experience, do fans actually put the clips on their bags, or do they display them as a set? Or do you see a bit of both?
MN: Definitely see a bit of both. Some of our friends/followers on Facebook are always happy to share pictures of their in-home collection of bag clips hanging on their wall. And now and then we spot someone in a crowd with a bag clip or two on their purse or bookbag. It’s really cool to see!
PI: Friends and The Mandalorian are such different brands, but are both incredibly popular at this moment. Why do you think they are so popular? And how is the process different for creating merchandise for a decades-old sitcom versus a current science fiction action series?
MN: Given the current global situation, streaming platforms like Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+, have become the main way people get media today. The Mandalorian and Friends are so drastically different, but they both have that “binge-worthy” factor that brings fans from all ages and walks of life together. On the product development side, since The Mandalorian is a current show, there are stricter guidelines. But the folks at Star Wars have always been very generous creatively and have helped us get the products how we like for the fans. Since Friends is bordering on “retro” at this point in time, we have more freedom to play with different moments in the show’s history which is a lot of fun to work on with the Warner Brothers team.
PI: This year’s convention scene has been different, but Monogram still offered a lot of exciting con exclusives this summer. Can you tell us about your experience with the new, online exclusives setup and how it compares to the traditional exclusives experience?
MN: It was a lot to adjust to and really nothing beats seeing the excitement of the convention-goers in person when they get their hands on the exclusives. But overall, we’re happy it worked out and fans were still able to get the new exclusives online. We appreciated San Diego Comic-Con prioritizing everyone’s safety and health by still finding a way to bring everyone together online.
PI: What else should fans be on the lookout for from Monogram?
MN: Our anime products are also a big priority for us. Be sure to check out our new 3D foam blind bag releases this holiday season from My Hero Academia, Naruto Shippuden, Sailor Moon, and, for the first time, Dragon Ball Z!
Fans can snag these Friends and The Mandalorian items at a variety of retailers, including Target, Gamestop, FYE, Hot Topic, and BoxLunch. Love a specific product pictured above? Order the Friends couch bank here, The Child bank here, The Mandalorian bag clips here, and the new Friends bag clips here!