Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Long Beach Patches & Pins Expo; hotbed for stan culture

Matthew, the founder of Monster Island, holding up peace signs with a smirk as he stands next to the head of a creature. Photo credit: Stephanie Revolorio

Patches & Pins Expo came back to Long Beach City College at a greater capacity than the previous year.

The artistic exposition sponsors a variety of businesses fueled by creative people and their passion for music, pop culture, and art.

The more dedicated fans compile a collection of memorabilia and merchandise to sell.

One such fan is the founder of the Monster Island brand, known only as Matthew, who is a longtime fan of the horror genre, specifically the classic horror films such as “Frankenstein” and “Creature From the Black Lagoon.”

Monster Island offers a variety of different items pertaining to the horror genre from apparel to smaller things like stickers or hats. It’s a store that has a little bit of everything.

“It’s just stuff that I get from my artist friends and I carry a couple different brands too like Rock Rebel and Trick or Treat Studios,” said Matthew.

Matthew recalls his affinity for classic horror to have been sparked at around the age of ten.

Over the years, he has amassed a sizable collection that eventually inspired him to create a store for horror fans like himself.

The idea to profit off of his collection came to fruition when the horror market became mainstream in the last decade. It would greatly expand his clientele to cater to all different groups with similar interests.

Monster Island has been standing for seven years featuring at several pop up-events and Halloween markets.

Unlike many small businesses, Monster Island did not see its start on online stores such as Etsy and Amazon.

The founder stationed himself at expos and pop-up events and found it to be the perfect place for his store to thrive.

Not even the COVID-19 lockdowns were able to slow the growth of Monster Island with outdoor events becoming more popular during that time.

Other fans take their dedication a step further by designing their own collectible merchandise.

Pinderland Production is just the perfect store for enamel pin collectors to find truly one of a kind pins.

The store is run by its founder and sole entrepreneur, known simply as Cambria, who has been a collector for twenty years.

“I like owning a small business because it allows me to create my own schedule and I like working for myself,” says Cambria.

Her collection stemmed from her love for classic fairytale heroines and villains. Pinderland Productions follows a similar formula with its theme being fantasy pop culture.

Cambria has dedicated herself full time to her store for three years and throughout all that time, she describes her experience being the owner of store to be a positive one.

With pin collecting increasing in popularity, Cambria would seize the opportunity to profit off of her own collection.

Her top selling items are the purses and her “snapshot series.” The snapshot series are special pins fashioned with enamel and stained glass inspired by iconic scenes from popular movies.

Cambria keeps her shop ever changing by making each of her pins limited edition. She only sells fifty of each pin per batch which allows her to release new limited edition designs.

Collecting and reselling is a lucrative business that keeps stan culture alive. Pop-up events are a good outlet for aspiring creators to market to the thriving market of fan merchandise.

Patches & Pins, and other events like it, attract a diverse clientele of fans with its variety. Customers leave the event with an empty wallet and bags full of items to add to their collection.

Patches & Pins is a gift to the community that keeps on giving. It allows independent stores and vendors to make a living and it feeds the ever present fan market.

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Long Beach Patches & Pins Expo; hotbed for stan culture