Funko Star Wars

Funko Star Wars

The growing list of pop culture event cancelations due to the spread of COVID-19 just scored a big hit against one of the most iconic players on the convention scene: Funko.

The Washington-based maker of Pop! Vinyl figures and Loungefly accessories has made the difficult decision to furlough “a significant portion” of its employees beginning April 5. The company is also implementing salary reductions across its executive team and upper-level management while working to execute reductions in operating expenses and non-product development capital expenditures. Some of the additional moves the company is making relate to proactively managing working capital and reducing incoming inventory to align with revised sales forecasts.

Store closures + canceled events = a ton of unsold merch.

“During this uncertain and unprecedented time, it is essential we take actions to best position Funko for our employees, partners, and shareholders,” says Funko CEO Brian Mariotti. “We are making difficult decisions that we believe will put us in a position of strength to navigate this crisis and support the long-term health of our company.”

Traditionally, Funko does a lot of its business by engaging with fans directly at events such as Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC), Star Wars Celebration, and New York Comic Con (NYCC). For Funko, the hit was immediate due to the postponement of last month’s Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC). The company was set to debut a host of exclusive merchandise at the event, some of which was sold online during a virtual con. As of this writing, no one knows for sure if events such as SDCC will even take place this year.

Furloughed Funko employees will maintain their health benefits, and subject to local regulations, be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Our fingers are crossed that this COVID-19 situation gets nipped sooner than later so that life can return to some form of normalcy.

Photo: Funko

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.