Patch Together has just rolled out a new feature they are calling Product On Demand. What happens is that people can pre-order a design and then Patch Together will set a production run quantity depending on if there is enough demand. As soon as the quantity is met, they will begin production. So these will be smaller runs, but the artist doesn't have to win Patch Together's competition in order to see their design produced
This might be a leap of faith for some collectors. In the current Product On Demand offerings, you'll just see what the design is (no actual product). So if you like the 3D rendering or the artist sketch, you can pre-order it (without having your credit card charged). I think this is a cool idea, but I know there will be some issues since the company has yet to release any actual product yet.