The Pin Theft Problem

Oct 01, 2023Lauren Guardala

Whether you’re trying to convince the world that your passion is worth investing in or you’re struggling to find inspiration for your next set of work, being an artist is tough. But many pin artists also have to deal with the sad reality of pin theft where their work is stolen, reproduced and sold by large marketplaces like Amazon, Wish and AliExpress.

Since we started Pinultimate in 2018, our goal has been to support and spotlight the talented artists within the pindustry and help buyers understand the counterfeit pin problem that exists.

We believe that, together, we can help fight pin theft and teach other caring individuals like yourself how to become more responsible shoppers. We’ll probably never be able to fully eradicate the issue, but we can make sure more people are aware of it and significantly reduce the demand for counterfeit pins.

So what are counterfeits?

As far as the pin theft problem goes, we’re not talking about artists getting *a little too inspired* by other artists. We’re talking about factories taking a pin design they find online, tracing it, and then making it into thousands of pins to profit off of. These counterfeits are inexpensive to make in bulk and tend to sell for only $1-2, so despite being extremely low-quality, people buy them without a second thought.

Not-So-Fun Fact: shops on AliExpress will frequently steal the original artist’s photos to advertise their counterfeits, so the buyer thinks they’re getting a high-quality pin and ends up receiving a low-quality fake.

What should you know about the pin theft problem?

  • According to, more than $460 billion counterfeit goods are sold each year. This is an international issue with many global companies like Alibaba, Wish and Amazon contributing to the problem.
  • The process for getting your designs removed from these large-scale marketplaces is extensive and artists have to fight these battles on an individual basis every. single. time. More often than not, they give up fighting after a certain point.
  • While AliExpress and Wish tend to be the direct source, small business owners will shop from these places for inventory to resell, completely unaware that they’re buying counterfeits. Apps like Poshmark actually encourage it.

How can you help?

The biggest way you can help is by supporting artists and their work. We can #cancelcounterfeits by reducing the demand.

  • Do your research: Make sure the shops you’re supporting are selling original work and not reproductions. If the artist isn’t visibly named in the product listing, it’s likely a counterfeit.
  • Educate yourself: Learn more about the pin theft problem and start using your voice and wallet to effect change. There’s a ton of insightful information available at
  • See something, say something: Report artwork that you think may be stolen by notifying the artist.
  • Share with others: Help educate your friends, family, coworkers, and peers on the pin theft problem so they can do their part to help as well!

While the pin theft problem is huge, we can help lessen the blow to artists by making thoughtful and responsible choices and being really freakin’ loud about it along the way.

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