My itabag / pin purse

This is the first pin bag I ever got, and currently my only one. I’m calling it a “pin bag” and not an “itabag” — that’s because its lack of a cohesive theme means it doesn’t qualify as a traditional itabag (although I do still refer to it that way for brevity’s sake). Most people won’t get, like, actually upset at you if you call your unthemed bag “ita,” but it is a term with its own history and community behind it, and knowing the difference will make you look cool and savvy to other itabag enthusiasts.

It’s a generic cat ear backpack I got from Amazon (*The Price Is Right losing horn*) in late 2021. I’m not going to provide a link to the shop because, one, I’m trying hard as a new adult to decrease my use of Amazon, and two, I later found out that said shop was just an Aliexpress/Taobao reseller, and that they were selling this bag in particular at over twice its original cost — a practice that’s become increasingly common on Amazon. This same bag can be found on a laundry list of other shopping sites with the keyword “cat ita bag,” and there are some pretty cute handmade designs on places like Etsy that are similar in spirit to this one.

Some recurring themes: Pokemon TCG pins, plague doctors, and the Great Wave Off Kanagawa.

Favorite pieces

Sasha (ACNH) keychain by Nerdile Art

I got this charm from Nerdile’s booth at Beckley Causeacon 2022. It’s double-sided with a nice matte finish. The material is very soft for an acrylic charm and very, VERY prone to scratching, but it’s barely noticeable when not viewed up close. It also came with a working Sasha amiibo card with custom art, a cute and practical bonus. Sadly Nerdile doesn’t appear to be selling their ACNH charms on their online storefront, but if you can catch them at a convention you may be able to bag one.

Knife bunny pin by Mimosa Studio

I got this pin from Mimosa Studio’s booth at Beckley Gaming Expo 2021. This was one of the first indie (read: not from Hot Topic) pins I bought, and it’s quite a fitting first since I still haven’t found many designs that appeal to me in quite the same way this one does. Mimosa’s pins are absolutely wonderful and they have an extremely varied catalog that can be easily viewed and shopped, so go pick up a few!

Spooky the Fox Glow in the Dark Pin by Planet Plush

Another Causeacon 22 find (I also bought the Water Kabuki Fox pin from them, as well as the absolutely delightful Cinnabunny plush). I just really, really like this little guy. A friend and a boy. He was a little more expensive than a regular pin at $15.00, but the glow-in-the-dark accents as well as the larger-than-average size more than makes up for it.

PowerA Mario Kart Collector Pins Lakitu

Yes, these are from that PowerA! Turns out they make other things, too. Anyway, I got this pin (along with the Peach one from the same set) in May 2022 at an all-purpose ‘nerd’ shop in Pigeon Forge. Lakitu is one of my all time favorite Mario characters, and there really isn't that much merch of him out there. These are blind bag pins, so the fact I was able to get the exact character I wanted in two tries is something of a miracle.
As for the technical side of things, these pins are pretty big and hefty for their price point, with some impressive detail in their molds. The Shigehisa Nakaue 2D Mario illustrations, with their crisp lines and clean colors, lend themselves really well to soft enamel pins.

I’ve got some other pins I could talk about, but they’re mostly either your average Hot Topic selection or I don’t exactly remember where I got them.

HALL OF SHAME — my beloved (and bootleg) Squirtle pin

This pin right here is an Amazon best seller. It’s also a very blatant ripoff of a design by MaracuyasArt. I took the L on this one, folks.

When I discovered this, I ordered the artist’s official Pikachu pin to display alongside my poor little bastard child, both as a cute piece and a sardonic reminder that we’re all human, and we all fuck up.

(pic to be uploaded later)

It arrived four days before the beginning of Etsy's estimated time frame, which I was pretty happy about. I ordered a seconds/B-grade pin, and as advertised, there were some small issues with the piece (cloudy spots in the enamel, surface scratches, fuzzy lines). They're all very minor, to the point I actually had to look at it from multiple angles to spot them — other reviews of the seconds pins echo this sentiment.
Right off the bat, the pin is much larger than its bootleg, the colors are nicer, the metal parts have a really nice shine to them, Pikachu's widdle face is just so cute, it's all there. Even when not displayed next to the bootleg, it looks and feels like a premium product. The more I look at the official pin, the more flaws I find in the bootleg. No wonder it was half the price of the real thing!

General tips for itabagging

Shopping for your itabag (WIP)

Itabagging is often viewed as a somewhat expensive subset of collecting, and while that can be true, there are certainly ways to make the process easier and more affordable.

Official merchandise

Depending on what franchise/character you're collecting for, official merchandise can be the easiest part or the hardest part. The difficulty of finding official merch usually depends on two factors: how many different items are/were actually produced, and how rare/available those items are.

If you haven't already, you might want to make an account on MyFigureCollection. Despite the name, the site catalogs all kinds of character merchandise, not just figures. By adding items to your wishlist, you can sign up for alerts when site users or partnered storefronts are selling the item you want.

Useful Japanese terms

The following search terms tend to get better results when looking for official goods on Japanese marketplaces.

MyFigureCollection also provides the original Japanese names for characters and items.

Fan merchandise

Fan merchandise can be a great alternative (or supplement) to official merchandise for a whole lot of reasons. Even if your subject has a lot of official merchandise already, you should still have a look at what fans have to offer! Oftentimes fan designs are cute, interesting, and unorthodox when compared to official ones.

How to buy fan merch

This section of the site is still under construction.