My own Etsy shop is shuttered until another New Horizons update comes out that introduces more amiibo functionality. Here’s what I learned for marketing in that time.
You will need:
- An Android device that is NFC-capable.
- Tagmo. If you have not installed Tagmo or have no experience with Tagmo, click here.
- NTAG215 chips. You can buy these cheapest from Play-asia, but the shipping is three weeks.
- .bin file backups of the amiibo that you want to create. If you own the amiibo that you want to make, you can get their .bin file off the figure itself using Tagmo. If you have misplaced the figure, you can find the file with a Google search. Be sure you have the rights to the .bin file of the amiibo you’ll be making. I am not liable for any penalties incurred by your actions.
How to program the chip, manufacturing-style
Get Tagmo running and ready to go. The above link is installation instructions, and it has a guide on how to use Tagmo.
Sit down at a desk and get all your materials ready and in front of you. Get the phone ready. Line up the tags that you want to write to. Load up the .bin file on the phone that you’re going to write to. Make sure it’s the right .bin file – once you write a file to an NTAG215 chip you can’t change the character.
All you’re going to is press “Write Tag” on the phone, and place the chip on the NFC touchpoint of the phone. It’ll search for the tag for a second, and then say it’s been written to. Boom. Tag’s written. Set that one aside and load up the next one to write to.
If you have a separate process for placing the chips into cards and figures, write down which character you just wrote very gently on the chip. Getting these chips mixed up spells disaster for the customer.
(Manufacturing tip – Write all your tags at once. Don’t Write a tag, then make the card, then put it in the card. Do many of them at once to minimize startup time.)
How to market the cards/figures
You can be very creative with what kind of card or figure you use. Right now, dirt-cheap cards or tokens are the favored way to distribute Animal Crossing amiibo, but there’s a much larger market available. For example, I sold this little number for $6.50 a pop:
If you’re smart, you’re looking at that and thinking “Is that a 3D-printed Animal Crossing medallion?”. It’s not the sort of thing you’ve ever seen on an Etsy store before, and it’s a lot more expensive than just the $1.20 Animal Crossing card that you normally see. It’s the same function as the card, but I charged five bucks more. Why would someone buy a product that’s identical and more expensive? Two reasons:
- Timing. New Horizons had just released, and the segment of the card-buying Animal Crossing fanbase was going bananas for amiibo figures. New Horizons has been confirmed to be receiving updates for years. Bank on these updates causing spikes in demand for amiibo, especially when new amiibo functionality is introduced.
- Uniqueness. There are no other 3D-printed figures for sale on Etsy, let alone one that you can wear and bring with you. My medallions are A. larger and better-looking, B. more durable than any card, C. Something you can show off to your friends. Animal Crossing fans love fashion, and love merchandise. Combine them.
The only mistake I made was not having enough in-stock. When the quarantine went into place, I lost access to my 3D printer. I sold through my entire stock of these in one day and wasn’t able to restock. When the next amiibo functionality update hits, be ready and have enough stock to undercut your competition.
(For the record, I paid outrageous prices for filament and printing, about $1/medallion, and still profited $4 each after shipping.)
Be aware that you can only produce amiibo that you already own. If you own a Tom Nook amiibo, then you can make Tom Nook cards and figures. You cannot sell them for profit: Nintendo still owns the copyright on them. This is not legal advice, and I am not a lawyer. You are ultimately liable for any amiibo cards or figures that you make.