Officially Licensed Merch or Fanmade Merch?Officially Licensed Merch or Fanmade Merch?Ask MFC

I know this website is mostly for officially licensed merchandise, but recently become more interested in fanmade merchandise due to Esty and finding artists through Instagram. I have seen some really cool keychains, enamel pins, clothes, and art prints from small artists in the past couple of months and I've become much more interested in those than in officially licensed merchandise. I feel like fanmade stuff is a lot more unique and I enjoy supporting artists and small businesses over large corporations even if it can be a little bit more expensive. I'm just curious if others feel the same, so I've decided to make a poll to get a feel for others opinions.

Also, are there any clubs or forums dedicated to showing cool fanmade anime merch? If not, then would anybody be interested in making one?
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Do you prefer officially licensed merch or fanmade merch?

24%Officially Licensed
66%Both(no preference)
2%I Don't Buy Merch Outside of Figures


Man I love fan merch, especially art prints! I also have keychains and other fan merch too. It's very unique and special :) I enjoy both aspects though.
I used to be a 100% official merch kind of person, but that was back when I was into series that had a wide variety of official merch offerings to choose from, and that I could easily find either locally or online.

I started buying fanmerch more when I got into Persona 5, and then Granblue Fantasy. I bought a LOT of fanmade Akechi stuff before official merch caught up to how popular he was, and then lot of the official merch of him just... didn't look great lol. Meanwhile, while Granblue does have a healthy amount of official merch, they tend to do limited/exclusive releases at stores that don't ship overseas. Since my fave is literally the game's most popular character, it can be hard to find his official merch secondhand for a decent price. Fan merch helped fill the gap :') However, I would still say that most of the merch I have from these titles is official.

Fast forward to 2020, when Final Fantasy XIV got a solid grip on my heart and has yet to let go. I was quick to discover that XIV's official merch offerings are.... abysmal. Just awful. There are a ton of mascot items and lifestyle items (lamps, blankets, computer accessories, mugs, that kind of thing), but all of these feature minions or monsters from the game. There is basically 0 character merch. If you're *lucky* your fave will get a prize figure or an acrylic stand. It's completely baffling considering this is the critically acclaimed MMO Final Fantasy XIV with a free trial that now includes Heavensward we're talking about here!!!! You'd think something so popular would have more merch????

Anyway, needless to say the fans have been filling the niche need for character merch, and I have bought a TON of that in the last year.... my whiteboard is just about full up on xiv keychains and I keep buying them dfkghfk. What I like most about XIV fan merch is that the fans have a pretty good idea of which characters are popular/people want as keychains, so I am able to have multiple items of all my favorite characters. :') Plus there's so many creative keychain designs that official merch wouldn't DARE do lmao (i'm thinking in particular of my "tied up" Haurchefant and Zenos keychains, ehehe....)

anyway tl;dr I go both ways; it mostly depends on what the merch scene for a particular title looks like!
Personally I'm leaning towards fan merch, as I tend to fall for the characters and series that barely get any official merch (or nothing at all) or the official merch is boring. Generally I also like it much more to see an artists very own interpretation of a character(s) in their own unique style. Meanwhile official merch by its nature usually just replicates assets from the source without contributing anything new or fresh.
Fanmerch is great! There are some characters I like that only have one or two pieces of official merch that are loved (or were once loved but are now kind of irrelevant) by the fan merch community, and I was able to grow my collection of those characters almost through fan merch alone. Best example of this would be ENTRY #55339, even though I'm not into FE or him much anymore: the only official merch I have of him is the acrylic charm by empty, but in terms of fan merch I have 2 postcard sized prints, 3 buttons, 5 charms, and even a plush. He's super irrelevant now so if I wanted to find more stuff like that now I'd be SOL, though I suppose fan merch is a very 'in the right place at the right time' kind of thing anyway.
Fanmade stuff for me all the way. I don’t dislike official merch but I think it’s rather boring most of the time and you get to see the official art in the manga/show/artbooks all the time; you just become used to seeing it and fanmade stuff can be both beautiful and refreshing to look at.

Every single poster I have in my room (over 30 rn) is fanart, I only have two official posters from Attack on Titan because that’s my favorite series and even the official art from that show is badass haha. It can be a bit more expensive but aside from posters I don’t really have a lot of merch since I don’t collect acrylic stands, keychains, buttons, etc. so it doesn’t really add up for me. If I did collect those though then I think I'd still go with fanmade stuff.
I have a fair amount of fan merch but I definitely prefer officially licenced goods. Mostly because it's already hard enough to sell licenced merch you don't want anymore, it becomes next to impossible to sell second hand fan merch (and I feel terrible about it too).
I used to buy mostly fan merch, since before I figured out where to find merch online, I only really bought stuff at cons and the dealers rooms often either didn't have a lot of stuff I was interested in or was hit-or-miss on bootlegs, so the artist alleys became my haven. These days I'd say most of the merch I buy is official because now I know how to find it, but I still buy fanmade stuff if something really catches my eye. I particularly like that with fanmade merch, you can see different styles and ideas that don't usually see in official merch. Part of the problem with no cons happening now is that I often gotta pay expensive shipping just for one or two small items from fan artists, so the costs rack up pretty quickly if I order from more than one artist TT-TT
I absolutely love what fan artists are doing these days in terms of fan merch. So much variety, creativity, and accessibility that I appreciate! Especially when doujin artists sell merch, THAT SHIT SLAPS.
I prefer or look at officially licensed stuff first. Helps support the IPs I'm interested in, and the good are generally of decent quality.

I do buy some fan goods though(especially doujinshi) like acrylic stands/charms if I like their designs and quality however.
If doujinshi counts as fanmade merch, then I do go for both sides.

Other then that I stick more with official licensed merchandise.
With fan stuff, I tend to be quite nitpicky when it come to art styles.
It needs to click with me for a very long time or else it becomes an unnecessary impulse buy.
Pre-owned figures in top quality and good value

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