Lapel Pins Fit For A King… THE King

I think this story is pretty cool. Not often in my job do I get to claim that what I do is in any way tied to rock and roll royalty, much less the King himself. But this morning an article found its way into my inbox that I thought was really unique..

There’s currently a celebrity jewelry estate sale going on, one that’s traveling across the country to garner praise and hopefully sales, with items ranging from the outrageous (Elizabeth Taylor’s peridot earrings that look heavy enough to give me a headache), to the truly sentimental. On the sentimental end are a pair of very simple lapel pins, an E and P. They of course belonged to none other than Elvis Presley, during his early days of stardom, lapel pinsand the jewelry experts in charge of them admit that they aren’t even real gold. Never the less, the man they represent, and the stories that the oft-handled lapel pins tell makes them right at home beside the golf ball-sized, diamond encrusted ring once donned by actress Lana Turner.

The woman in charge of the traveling show pointed out that while most of the lapel pinspieces in the collection were ostentatious to say the least, there were a few pieces that held their own despite having little to no actual monetary value. And that’s where the King’s lapel pins come in.

The story goes that they belonged to Presley in the mid to late 50’s, when his fame skyrocketed faster than anyone could have wrapped their head around. And so despite the fact that he could, and did, own much more expensive and glamorous pieces, Elvis often wore the two simple faux-gold lapel pins proudly beside jewels and precious metals. They were a gift of unknown origin. And the more remarkable turn of events comes when he gave them away one day, to a fan. The woman, Julia Mason, kept them for many decades until they were sold to the jewelry collector to ensure they went to another generation of Elvis Presley fans, to be loved and cherished like she had.

I just think it’s amazing that a pair of lapel pins that were given an estimated monetary value of about $.50, could be currently traveling the country along side items with price tags in the hundreds of thousands. The two well-worn lapel pins are currently going for nearly $10,000, but that number is expected to rise.

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Dancing with Autism Lapel Pins

Dancing with the stars is the kind of reality TV I can actually get into. I’m rooting not just for the novice dancers and their journey towards gracefulness, but also for the professional dancers and their ability to take someone with little to no ability into a rough approximation of Ginger Rogers or Fred Astaire. They need to be able to teach anyone, from the body conscious to the overly confident, all while cameras are rolling and capturing their every exasperated sigh and exalted cheer. It’s genuinely inspiring.

And last week, a favorite professional of mine, Tony Dovolani, took to the stage with his star partner, actress Marla Maples, in costumes of bright yellow and blue: the colors attributed to autism awareness. And on Tony’s canary yellow lapel? A beautiful, glittering blue puzzle piece lapel pin,autism awareness lapel pins which anyone familiar with autism will know is the official symbol of the disease. The dance itself didn’t relate in any direct way to autism, and when interviewed after the dance, there was no mention of autism, but to anyone with an autistic child in their life, or someone like me who makes it her job to know about the various awareness causes out there, it was beautifully clear that Tony supported and celebrated autism awareness.

It led me to look into the reason behind the costumes, figuring there must be more to it than it simply being Autism Awareness Month, and there is. Tony has 7 year old twins, a girl and boy, and the little boy, Adrian, has autism. Tony pointed out in an interview from 2014 that it has taught him so much about appreciating a person for what they are and not what they struggle with, and that  you can learn from everyone, especially a child with something like autism.

This revelation was quite inspiring and telling to me, because as a coach he has always appeared very patient, thoughtful, and positive in his approach to dealing with the different struggles that his various famous students have dealt with. And in part that has to do with his continued appreciation and personal growth from having a son with autism.

In general I thought it was really cool that Tony brought something personal as well as universal into this last week’s dance without letting it overshadow the competition: the beautiful costumes spoke for themselves and led to someone like myself, and I have no doubt, many others, to do a little research into the costumes. Without saying a word he raised awareness for autism, and that is exactly what lapel pins are supposed to do: start a conversation, serve as a reminder, and celebrate people while honoring their struggles. And all it takes is one bright blue puzzle piece lapel pin.

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National Doctor’s Day is Near

Next Wednesday is National Doctor’s Day. I admit I wouldn’t have known this except for the fact that our stethoscope lapel pins have been backordered since way early in the month and that seemed odd, so I did some digging. Turns out National Doctor’s day has been around for about 80 years but only became a nationally recognized day in 1990. And personally I can’t think of many occupations that deserve more thanks than doctors.

Back in the early days of our country, medicine was not the same carefully cultivated 574_1kprofession it is today. Before medical schools like Harvard and John Hopkins were established, most of America’s first doctors learned their trade apprenticing at the right hand of an established doctor who had come over from Europe, having gotten their degree in Edinburgh. But nowadays, doctors will train an average of 14 years before becoming independent physicians, and incur a staggering $170,000 in tuition costs. If that isn’t dedication and sacrifice, I do not know what is.

Despite the intensity of training now required for doctors, and the debt that is unavoidably accrued, America currently has well over 175,000 doctors of all specialties and practices. And almost all of us can count a doctor as being one of the very first people we ever meet when we came into this world. And from that moment on we depend upon them to keep us moving ahead, be that with vaccines, healing our superficial wounds, treating cancer and other deadly diseases, to helping us with the next generation of children. They’re an integral part of our American life.

So this coming National Doctor’s Day, March 30th, consider stopping by your local doctor’s office or hospital to thank the staff. Whether that’s with flowers, treats, lapel pins or a heartfelt card, I can guarantee they never get tired of knowing they’ve positively touched someone’s life. Because while we may count a bad day as one that consists of losing a big sale, or not landing that next project, theirs is literally life and death. And for that, they have my heartfelt, most genuine thanks.

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Like Australian Marmite? There are lapel pins for that.

So I ask you, which is better: to be mainstream trendy or hipster/indie cool? Personally I think it’s great to be either, and to just appreciate whoever it is that embraces you. I’ve seen a shift in custom lapel pins towards the quirky, the proud, and the unique, on social media and on websites like Etsy and Ebay. Individuals are coming to me to make lapel pins that speak for them, instead of waiting for someone else to do it for them. There was even an article recently discussing this, and I think it’s spot on.

It’s just another way the internet is liberating small businesses, because whereas an entrepreneur in Colorado wanting to sell political slogan lapel pins might not find a large 1369_1kenough customer base using a brick and mortar store, now has a flood of fans and paying customers because they shared their “Feminist with a to-do list” custom pins on Instagram. They were able to reach millions of viewers instead of the few dozen who might pass by their store out in Bolder.

Another thing I love about it is it makes niche interests and beliefs accessible. Fans of obscure bands (The Records, anyone? Or Fever Marlene?) can now easily display their obsession on their jacket, backpack, or anywhere else thanks to another fan somewhere else in the world who came to a pin company like us and got 100 custom lapel pins cranked out. Fans of obscure movie quotes, cat lovers, retro ads and slogans, topical memes… and really, just a LOT of cats. There is literally a lapel pin for everything and everyone now. Honestly, there’s probably a few dozen pins out there for everyone on every topic.

And so I raise my glass to you, internet entrepreneurs, and to your 100-200 custom lapel pin orders. You might be a small business, but you’re single-handedly bringing the world together, one bowtie-wearing-Scottish-Fold-cat lapel pin at a time.

 

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Jedi Mind Trick? Nope, just your run of the mill glucose-sniffing dog!

I read an amazing article today about a little boy and his dog. Sounds like your typical idyllic childhood, doesn’t it? Unfortunately it isn’t quite that simple. This little boy’s dog is not only his best friend, but he’s also been trained to help monitor his blood glucose. Luke, the little boy, has type 1 diabetes and has since he was about 2 years old. His blood glucose levels fluctuate so wildly that he’s often woken up at regular intervals in the night to take glucose tablets. And then there’s Jedi, his trusty canine companion and living, breathing glucose monitor.

The story goes that one night Luke’s mom had checked his glucose and then fallen asleep. Five minutes later Jedi had come in and woken her up, signaling that Luke’s glucose was low. Luke’s mom checked a digital readout that was broadcast into her bedroom from Luke’s, saw that it showed a safe number, and promptly went back to sleep, ignoring Jedi. Awareness ribbonsBut Jedi was not deterred and continued to nudge her until she humored him by going to Luke, taking a blood sample, and to her surprise his glucose levels were dangerously low. The digital readout was wrong! But Jedi wasn’t, and he was also, thankfully, stubborn! Luke was given what he needed to stabilize him and it was an all around happy ending.

Being a dog lover, I couldn’t help but be impressed and amazed at this dog’s ability to sniff out an unacceptable blood glucose level in a little boy. And considering March 22nd is National Diabetes Alert Day, I thought the article was very apropos.

It also brings to light the struggle that those with Diabetes have to deal with on a daily basis, of monitoring their levels and having what they need on hand all the time to combat a spike or drop in glucose. They need our support, and so for anyone who can’t sniff out glucose levels (so… everyone) that means donating to diabetes charities, being there for the diabetics in your life, and wearing awareness ribbons lapel pins to let them know we’re fighting for them.

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Red Carpet Season

Apparently Business Insider, a site with, you guessed it, insight into domestic and world business markets, also has a “lifestyle” division! And with award season in full swing, they took aim at the fashions that are making their way down the red carpet at events such as the Emmys, Grammys, and Oscars. In a less typical move, they concentrated on men’s fashion, specifically: lapel pins and brooches.  I must say I was surprised at what they said.

The article was more of a rant than anything else, lasering in on rapper and TV personality LL Cool J. He hosted the Grammys a couple of weeks back, and for the event wore a fairly basic tuxedo, with matching bowtie and his ever present newsboy cap. On his lapel was a 191Red_1kbrooch in silver and diamonds, a cursive “LL”. And the Business Insider thought it was a train wreck. To contrast, they pointed out another celebrity who had been sporting a lapel pin, Rami Malek. His equally unremarkable but well-cut tuxedo was adorned with a black flower stick pin. They claimed that it did not draw the eye away from the rest of his outfit, and therefore served its purpose.

I gotta say, I couldn’t disagree more! Maybe it’s because I’m witness to every color, size, style and shape of lapel pin known to man on a daily basis, but LL’s pin didn’t come off as any more ostentatious than any other statement piece that celebrities wear for a special event. A diamond necklace, bejeweled earrings, a massive canary diamond ring. When you’re going to the Grammys, or the Oscars, it’s not time to keep things conservative, it’s time to pull out the big guns. And LL’s elegant, if perhaps slightly narcissistic, pin, was definitely not the eyesore that the Business Insider is making it out to be. To go one step further, Malek’s black flower on a black lapel display seemed almost a waste of time. If you’re going to wear a lapel pin, it might as well be seen, not camouflaged. A pop of color would have definitely made all the difference.

So with the Oscars this weekend, we’re sure to see more examples of over the top, and completely outrageous fashions. I’m personally hoping people take risks, whether that’s with gaudy brooches and lapel pins or feathers and flounces. What can I say: I’m a lady who loves a risk taker.

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Votes For Women!

I’ve been thinking a lot about politics recently, for obvious reasons. You can’t turn on the TV or open a news website without being inundated with coverage of the primaries and the candidates running for president. So as I’ve always done since I became old enough to vote, I’ve been thinking about my options and boning up on the platforms of the candidates. And today I was reminded that Susan B. Anthony day is coming up on the 15th, which to further tie things together, is also Presidents Day. Needless to say, politics is in the air.

Despite the crazy way some presidential candidates act, and the circus that our political 272_1k1system sometimes seems to be, voting and taking part in the political system is perhaps one of the most important things we as Americans can do. It’s right up there with serving your country in the military and donating blood to the Red Cross. And then let me remind you that half the voting block in this country has only had this right for the past 96 years. As a part of that voting block, I couldn’t be more eager to vote, and to pay homage to amazing women like Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

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political pins

These women went out into the world, without the legal rights we have today, or the autonomy, and stood up for what they believed in. They rallied, waved banners, wore gold political pins, all proclaiming “votes for women”. This led to ostracization from family and friends not supportive of their cause, police brutality and sometimes imprisonment. That’s a lot to ask from a culture of women who could not own their own property, who still wore corsets and couldn’t dare even show an ankle for fear of being called a loose woman.

Today when you see exhibitions of the women’s suffrage movement it is boiled down to grainy black and white images, moth-eaten gold and purple sashes proclaiming “Votes for Women!” and small, circular gold lapel pins that to our 21st century eyes look downright demur. But back in 1916 being caught in public with one of these political pins was enough to get you arrested. It’s amazing that something as a small as a pin could be that subversive. Come to think of it, it’s amazing that voting rights for women could be considered subversive.

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Embroidered Patches Are the New Black

I don’t think it’s self-deprecating to say that I’m not the most fashion forward person I know. And I’m OK with that. But it turns out that PinMart, if not me, is actually very trendy! Recent articles in fashion magazines are filled with men-and women-wearing understated or outlandish pins on their lapels, and just recently someone pointed out an article about Tommy Hilfiger, a name even I’m familiar with.

PM0608 Embroidered Patches

Embroidered patches

It appears the American clothing designer is teaming up with a creative, entrepreneurial model to create a new line of clothing for the brand. And one of the first components leaked to social media? A bunch of really collegiate and military-style embroidered patches! The model, Gigi Hadid, shared the patches on her Instagram account and I was surprised and thrilled at how similar they looked to many things we have right up on our website. That’s called being “on fleek”, right?

So while many people will rush out when the line is released in order to get in on the latest trend, there will be just as many creative individuals who go out and make their own versions of these styles, putting their own spin on them with customized embroidered patches or by using our stock patches in tried and true ways.

I’m hoping that as this trend follows through and people get creative, they’ll share their designs with us at PinMart. We’d love to share your unique brand of fashion, using any of our products, on our Instagram or Pinterest accounts. And if you’re already rocking our pins, patches, lanyards or bracelets, by all means show us! Get in touch on our website, or any of our social media outlets.

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Resolve to Donate Blood

Ah, New Year’s resolutions. The time when we’re all dedicated to losing 10 pounds, increasing our savings, and finally taking up the Hawaiian electric pedal steel guitar (or maybe that’s just me?). Whatever you set your mind to do to improve yourself, I wish you the best of luck! And if you’re still looking for something to add to your list of resolutions, may I suggest making a habit of donating blood?

January happens to be National Blood Donation Month, and I think that the timing couldn’t be better, because while the idea of giving blood can scare some, so does the idea of brewing coffee at home every morning instead of dropping $5.00 on a venti caramel macchiato. And resolutions are all about facing down fears, and dedicating yourself to things that are good for you even if they may not be easy. Though to be fair, giving blood IS pretty easy.

The entire process of giving blood takes roughly 15 minutes, with only about 12-13 of those778-1 minutes being devoted to actual blood donation. It’s safe, you get to relax in a reclining chair the entire time, and best of all? You get cookies, juice, and sometimes even red cross lapel pins afterwards! And just one pint of blood, which is all you donate, can save up to three people!

So however you decide to celebrate the new year, consider resolving to donate blood whenever you can (and you can every 56 days!), and don’t hesitate to brag about it afterwards. Because donating blood doesn’t tend to make people jealous as much as when you brag about your amazing weight loss.

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Merry and Bright!

Happy holidays from PinMart! As Hanukkah has just concluded, and with Christmas a mere 10 days away, I thought it high time to wish everyone a very happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, or even Festivus! I’m sure I’ve left some folks out and for that I’m sorry, but I wish everyone happiness and cheer this winter time regardless.

It was great walking around the city and seeing increasingly bright menorahs, some colorful and others more traditional, some silver and still others gold. And with the 504menorahculmination of Hanukkah yesterday, let me speak on behalf of PinMart when I say I hope it was a great holiday for everyone.

And now, as I said, Christmas is practically right around the corner. I can say with some relief that I’ve got the majority of my gifts bought, but that I still have to get the rest of my stocking stuffers. I’ve come to learn though that that is the easiest part, thanks to PinMart! Whether the recipient celebrates Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or just enjoys the snowy weather, I can help them share that with holiday lapel pins. And beyond that, for pins that can be worn year round, there are hundreds of pieces dedicated to hobbies, state, country and military pride, and even beautiful flower stick pins for the fashionista in your group.

It’s great to know that when I give things like pins I’m insuring that my friends will have 513more than just “fluff” to stuff their stockings, and that it will help them express themselves during special occasions, or just every day.

So again, whatever you celebrate this winter season, we at PinMart hope it’s warm and bright. Season’s Greetings!

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