CUSTOM PACKING TAPE CASE STUDY: 7 BUCKS A POP
7 Bucks a Pop (7BAP) is one of the leading independent resellers of Funko Pop products, a wildly popular line of whimsical and nostalgic pop culture collectibles, accessories, and toys in themes such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Seinfeld. 7BAP was founded by a husband-and-wife duo of Funko Pop (“Pop”) collectors who graciously refer to their business as a labor of love. It started when the couple would spend months selling Pops that they didn’t need to purchase the Pops they wanted. They discovered a significant market for previously owned Pops, marking the beginning of an exciting small business venture. The founders used the attainable $7 price-point as inspiration for their company name, allowing Pop collectors to purchase budget-friendly common, exclusive, and vaulted collectibles.
Besides its $7 Pops, 7BAP also sells premium and grail Pops at competitive prices ranging from $2 to $100 depending on varying factors, including condition and rarity. The company purchases more Funko Pop collections than any other company on the planet. It has proudly built a reputation for stocking the hard-to-find Pops that other collectible and toy companies cannot get. With the help of its 11 employees, 7BAP has sold over 100,000 previously owned Pops from their Catsonville, MD warehouse, and they show no signs of slowing down. “We kind of knew we had something right off the bat, so we started growing very quickly,” said Lee Biars, Co-Founder, 7 Bucks a Pop.
Our relationship with 7BAP began in 2017, the same year the small collectibles company launched. It started with a phone call from 7BAP’s Co-Founder, Lee Biars, to our Director of Sales, Matt Clarke. Lee described his unique business venture to Matt, highlighting his desire to find custom packing tape for shipping 7BAP’s orders.
“Relatively early on, I reached out to a bunch of tape providers,” said Lee. “I found Matt at Phoenix Tape to be the most communicative about how it works and what my options were. It didn’t seem like it was cookie cutter; it seemed like he was actually trying to get me the best product for the best price.”
Like many innovative entrepreneurs who turn their passion into a small business, 7BAP depends on brand recognition. As Lee explained, custom packing tape is an integral part of 7BAP’s marketing plan because Funko Pop collectors often share their unboxing experience on YouTube or other social media platforms. When these social media-savvy customers receive their Pop in an attractive box wrapped cleverly in 7BAP branded packing tape, it provides valuable online exposure for this budding small business. Our mission became determining the best custom printed tape for showing off 7BAP’s logo and website to help them succeed in a highly competitive Funko Pop collectibles secondary market
In our quest for the ideal custom printed tape to help promote 7BAP’s newly launched brand, we worked to find a solution for three primary challenges.
1. Risky two-color design When Lee provided the design that he wanted us to print on 7BAP’s branded packing tape, we were immediately leery. The bold two-color design featured purple and yellow remarkably close together, posing a risk that the white tape could peek through where colors meet. Matt talked to Lee about eliminating the yellow to make the print a safer bet. However, Lee felt strongly that the tape must include both colors to ensure brand continuity, making the risky two-color design our first challenge to solve.
2. Limited budget While companies of all sizes are budget-conscious, small businesses are especially apt to watch every dollar, as was the case for 7BAP. However, 7BAP’s logo design included a custom purple color, driving up the tape’s price. So, the second challenge we encountered was finding a branded packing tape solution that wouldn’t break the bank for this startup designed for Pop collectible lovers.
3. Package security Because 7BAP only sells previously owned Pops, it uses a rating scale to grade each Pop box’s condition, from barely visible flaws to more severe damage. This strategy helps its customers feel more confident about purchasing Pops online, knowing the condition of the merchandise before they buy. Understanding this aspect of 7BAP’s business, we identified package security as another challenge we faced in finding the best branded packing tape. They needed a solution that deters and avoids damage, pilfering, and tampering that could downgrade the Pop box’s condition while in transit from the company’s Catsonville warehouse. Such a shipping misstep could risk the company’s credibility and reputation.
Immediately following Lee’s initial call to Matt, our sales and design team began strategizing the best custom packing tape options to solve 7BAP’s challenges.
We started with identifying the print technique that would avoid white spots appearing between the yellow seven in the 7BAP logo and the purple background. Our solution was to print the yellow "7" first and then add the purple background so that it overlaps the yellow seven slightly. This solution ensured a seamless transition between the yellow and the purple. We achieved the design’s clean white text using a reverse print, where the ink prints all around the copy to reveal the white tape in the background.
Next, we recommended the most cost-effective branded tape for a limited budget: polypropylene. We also took a closer look at 7BAP’s logo to see if we could find a more affordable solution that would eliminate the custom ink charge. It turned out that our standard burgundy ink was a close enough match to the logo’s purple, making it a no-brainer to swap it out to save money.
Lastly, we addressed the challenge of package security. We initially recommended the standard 1.9 mil polypropylene tape to keep the costs down but encouraged 7BAP to go for the wider 3-inch width instead of the 2-inch option to provide more adhesive gripping area. After about a year, 7BAP upgraded from 1.9 mil to a heavy-duty 2.5 mil thickness with a more aggressive adhesive for added package strength.
ResultsAutographed Care Package Unveiling—Franchise Kicks
When 7BAP began ordering branded packing tape, they purchased two cases at a time. As this small business grew, it increased its order size to five cases. Today, 7BAP orders 10 cases of 110-yard HD polypropylene tape in the 3-inch width at a time. The steady increase in order quantity demonstrates the company’s significant growth since its inception in 2017. “It’s kind of blown up a little bit the past three years,” said Lee. To date, 7BAP has ordered over 79,200 yards of tape.
Over the years, Lee has received pitches from other branded packing tape providers. Still, he has stayed loyal to our team because of our commitment to cost-effective solutions and quick turnarounds. “Even if I had someone who was a little lower, I’d stick with Matt,” Lee commented. “I find that loyalty works both ways. It’s not about saving money; it’s about having a company you can rely on.”
Lee also loves working with us because of our easy-to-use online ordering system. He only needs to log in to his account, select a previous order from the history, and click to reorder. Our user-friendly platform saves precious time that business owners like Lee can appreciate.
When the pandemic started in 2020, 7BAP launched a sister website called Mystery Grail, where customers can order a box containing a random Funko Pop collectible and other fun freebies. When the company needed a branded packing tape to promote its new venture, Lee knew precisely where to turn. He logged into his account and uploaded the Mystery Grail artwork. Within a few days, we sent him a proof featuring the yellow, red, and process blue logo, he approved it, and we went to work printing this new print on 3-inch, 110-yard white 2.5 mil heavy-duty polypropylene tape.
Having partnered with 7BAP from the beginning, we have been honored to witness its continual growth and success. While there’s a lot that goes into ensuring that a new company thrives, we’re proud to have played a part in helping 7BAP and Mystery Grail enhance brand awareness and promote customer loyalty through our custom packing tape.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur launching a small business or a side hustle, custom packing tape can deliver that first and lasting impression you need to establish and retain loyal customers. In addition to expert advice from industry professionals and advanced printing capabilities, we offer samples of many different tapes to try, so you can find the best solution to meet your needs and budget. Trust our team to be there as you take your business venture or idea to the next level. Head to our website to shop branded packing tapes online or contact our team for a personalized product selection experience.