Emoji-The New Language of Our Era

In an era where the art of cursive writing is becoming extinct, emoji have emerged as a new form of communication. Admit it. When was the last time you wrote out a longhand letter? But probably a day does not go by that you are not texting or posting to social media using emoji. With PinMart releasing several new emoji pins this year, I was wondering how these little icons that were barely around a decade ago, have wormed their way into being such a prevalent part of our culture.

The predecessor of the emoji was the emoticon. Remember typing 🙂 in an email? Emoticons became widely used in the 80’s and 90’s in email and online posts to denote emotions. The emoji we use today were invented in Japan in 1999 by Shigetaka Kurita, an engineer for mobile phone company DoCoMo. Kurita was inspired by local road signs and a set of Chinese characters called Kanji. Emoji translated means “Image Character”. While immediately popular in Japan, emoji did not really catch on in the U.S. and the rest of the west until around 2009 after Google and Unicode Consortium began using code points to ensure that emoji were standard across all types of platforms and mediums.

Kurita’s first set of emoji included 176 characters. Today, there are roughly 2,800. There was an emoji musical in Los Angeles, a 2017 film, The Emoji Movie and even Moby Dick has been translated into the language of emoji. In 2016, Emojicon, a Comic-Con like convention was held in San Francisco. There is no denying the popularity of these digital symbols and it does not seem to be waning. Face with Tears of Joy is the most used emoji and is just one of PinMart’s 19 emoji pins.  Express your many moods with these pins that represent the new language of the 21st century! 

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Ultimate Gift Guide to Personalized Pins & Patches

Even though there are a wealth of gift guides to browse through, it can still be difficult to find the perfect solution. Finding a trendy gift for Millennials can be especially hard, which is why we created a guide to the ultimate personalized and creative option to please everybody, from your nephew to your grandmother. 

How to Give Pins as Gifts

Shopping for any generation is tough – finding that perfect balance between budget, thoughtfulness, and practicality can be tricky. This makes a personal gift of pins and patches ideal. Mix and match a combination that reflects personalities, hobbies, inside jokes, or shared moments. Pins and patches can be packaged in many ways too!

  • Attach them on a backpack for kids
  • Give them to a co-worker on a cardboard frame
  • Pin them onto jacket or shirt pockets for fashionistas
  • Decorate a baseball cap or winter hat
  • Combine pins with a pennant display for the collector
  • Pair them with a vintage purse for the trendsetter
  • Push them into a picture frame with a photo of you and your loved one
  • Give them with a DIY craft project for the creative in your life

We created categories to help spark your ingenuity and find the perfect pin or patch gift. 

Creative Gift Inspiration

Animal Pins – Cute, stylish, and trendy, you’ll find animal themed pins popular for fashionistas and animal lovers alike so they can show their support for cute and quirky creatures. 

Nature Pins – These adventure pins are a great way to show your passion for the outdoors by adding them to camera straps, jackets, or backpacks. They can even be added to Fido’s leash on hiking adventures!

Plant Pins – These are ideal for the gardener in your life or even someone who doesn’t have a green thumb. Pretty pops of color and no weeding or watering necessary!

Fashion Pins – It can be hard to pick out clothing, jewelry, or accessories for fashionistas, so choose fun, trendy pins that are sure to delight even the pickiest fashionmonger.

Yoga Pins – Yogis will be able to decorate their yoga bag or prop these next to their meditation candles to help achieve that Zen feeling. Rest in Savasana. Namaste.

Pins for Travelers – Looking for a gift for someone with wanderlust? These are perfect to attach to a backpack, camera strap, or hat and small enough that your globe-trotting and adventure-seeking friend can bring them on their travels.

Pins for Pet Lovers – Pet owners will rejoice when they receive a pet-look-alike pin of their pup.

Ocean Pins – Sea life pins can double as support pins for cleaning up oceans, sustainable fishing, and protecting coral reefs while giving your outfit or bag an eye-catching upgrade.

Patriotic Pins – Sport these on your clothes in a variety of shapes and proudly show your patriotism during events or any day of the year you’re proud to be an American.

For Bikers – Even bikers are fashion conscious. Give them a gift that reminds them of their passion and adds a dash of style to their motorcycle gear or clothing.

Texas Pride – There’s USA proud, and then there’s Texas-proud. These are a great way to show your love for the Lone Star State, which was once its own country. Independent from 1836 to 1846, the Republic of Texas has deep roots that have been passed down generation to generation.

Video Game Pins – Also known as badges of fandom, players can unite with old but never forgotten gaming consoles.

Retro – Record players and vinyls are making a comeback, and these retro pins will bring back the feel of the good ‘ol days when good vibes, rock and roll, and manicured facial hair were all the rage.

Eco-Friendly – Show your support for our Mother Earth and promote clean living and sustainable choices. These can double as giveaway pins for any awareness events too!

Foodie – Food themed décor and clothing has made a comeback in recent years, with pineapple lamps and hot sauce t-shirts appearing on our social media. Perfect for the foodie in your life or the fashion-forward dresser.

State Patches – You can wear your heart on your sleeve and your state flag too. Cover up holes, or decorate clothes or backpacks with stylish state flag patches.

Men’s Fashion Stick Pins – Stick pins are a subtle men’s fashion accessory that can add flair to a plain suit with a splash of color or cool shape. They were a large part of fashion in the past, and are making a comeback for keeping ties and scarves in place.

Inspiration – These pins are perfect for the parents, coworkers, teachers, or coaches that want to encourage or reward!

Gifting Pins in Style

Whether you want to celebrate, inspire, personalize, or just make your friend or loved one smile, pins are a fun and affordable gift for anyone. There are even fun ways to package these for any occasion. Some DIY options include self-standing pin cards, jewelry boxes, or even including pins on an item you want to gift such as clothing or gear.

Pins are perfect for any special occasion – whether it’s Christmas, birthdays, or to commemorate an awareness cause or event. Giving a personalized gift allows you to express your creativity and reflects your thoughtfulness to the receiver. 

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PinMart Employee Spotlight

Dedication and family are the two common themes within our office.

But beyond those two, we’re as diverse and unique as they come.

We’re made up of many hardworking talented individuals with interesting stories to tell.

In our new Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do (on and off the clock), and how they keep PinMart growing and flowing — just the way we like it!

Introducing Gina Bastek, our Inventory Specialist!



Inventory Specialist.


I don’t have a particular moment in mind… For me, it’s growing within the company that makes me feel the most valued.


Fast Paced – Fun – One Big Family


Being a part of a forever growing company is exciting! I enjoy any opportunity that allows me to learn new skills.



My professional inspiration is my colleague Genni Escobedo. I think she has a great work ethic and has advanced within the company because of her knowledge of PinMart from being an employee for many years. She has a good balance between work and home and I am always working to find mine. I hope I can follow in her footsteps and continue to advance as she is!


My family! I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old. My personal life revolves around my babies, husband and immediate family and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!


Yes, one pup! A 4 year old Rottweiler named Daisy.


Every day is a second chance.

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PinMart Employee Spotlight

Dedication and family are the two common themes within our office.

But beyond those two, we’re as diverse and unique as they come.

We’re made up of many hardworking talented individuals with interesting stories to tell.

In our new Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do (on and off the clock), and how they keep PinMart growing and flowing — just the way we like it!

Introducing Linda Mancera, our Custom Product Administrator!



I oversee correspondence and custom costing.


When customers contact us after they receive their product and say what a great job our custom team has done.


Creative – Fun – Efficient.


I enjoy working with my team!



My mother.


Scrapbooking, going to sporting events and watching my kids play sports.


I have a Boxer mix named Fender.


Life doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger.

Posted in Awareness, Awareness Pins, Business, Culture, Custom Pins, employee, Employee Recognition, Fashion, Holiday Pins, Military Pins, Patriotic, Recognition, Trending, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

PinMart Employee Spotlight

Dedication and family are the two common themes within our office.

But beyond those two, we’re as diverse and unique as they come.

We’re made up of many hardworking talented individuals with interesting stories to tell.

In our new Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do (on and off the clock), and how they keep PinMart growing and flowing — just the way we like it!

Introducing Josie Divizio, our Marketing Team Leader!



I am the Marketing Team Leader and a partner on the Leadership Team here at PinMart.


I have 2 proud moments here at PinMart:
1. The launch of our new baby… the new PinMart Website (started in 2014).
2. Being selected to be on the Leadership Team (2016).


Home – Family – Growing.


 I fulfill my professional purpose while I work with outstanding people.



As far as I can remember my Mother, Antonina Conte inspired me. She came to the USA from Italy at 24 (leaving six siblings, her parents and dozens of family members and friends behind) with only a small trunk of personal belongings. She created a beautiful and fruitful life. She never let anything stand in her way. She had always been positive, kind, gentle, and always had a smile on her face, even in the most difficult of times. She was the woman who exemplified and taught me strength.


I enjoy long dinners and vacationing with my husband and my adult son and daughter. I love cooking and having family and friends for Sunday dinners. I love tending to my flowers and my parent’s garden. I especially love watching and attending football games with my family. I am a proud supporter of Heart Disease Awareness, Lung Cancer Awareness and Parkinson’s Disease.  I am blessed beyond belief to have a great support system of friends. They stem back to my High School years – especially my best friend who resides in Arizona and one group named the HE-MEN.


I have THE cutest Multipoo (Maltese and Poodle mix) named Niko! He is the best little 11 lb. furry family member I had ever hoped for!


Be true, be you!
Today I will make a difference.
Integrity Is Everything.
Wife first, mom second, lover of friends & family.

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Easy DIY Projects with Lapel Pins

Please welcome our Guest Blogger Anna Chudzinski, a recent graduate of Loyola University and self-proclaimed DIY extraordinaire.

Today I’d like to share with you some simple DIY projects that you can make using your PinMart lapel pins. 

The first DIY project is a super quick and easy way to use lapel pins that you can give to a friend or keep for yourself! It is a self-standing pin card. It’s the perfect way to gift pins because it is a note, décor piece, and gift of lapel pins all in one! The recipient can choose if they want to remove the pins from the backing and use them elsewhere, or keep it together and use it as a décor piece. 

Making these is honestly so simple. All you have to do is take a rectangular piece of cardstock and fold it in half, turning it into a little “tent” that will stand up by itself. I embellished the front of mine with decorative masking tape, but you can use whatever you have on hand – stamps, stickers, or even just pens to write a handwritten note. If you’d like, you can add a personalized note inside as well. Then poke your desired pins through the front, fasten on the pin backs (the backs will be on the inside of the “tent”), and you are done! 

You can gift these in so many ways. Pop one on your coworker’s desk with pins you picked out just for them and it is sure to make their day. Put one on your child’s dresser to see first thing when they wake up on a special day (pins are a wonderful way to commemorate events and achievements!) These are a great presentation option when you would like to gift pins that don’t already come as a set. These little stand-up cards are so cute, you’ll definitely want to make a few to keep for yourself! 

The next DIY project is perfect for custom pins, but works just as well with stock pins. Use your pins to create take-home gifts for your next event. In the example pictured, my cousin had pins made out of the logo she designed for her wedding. Then for each place setting at the wedding, she attached the pins to a ribbon tied around a box of chocolates. Another great idea would be to attach the pins to a wider piece of ribbon to tie around napkins. Or, use the cardstock “tent” process and write names on the front to use them as table place cards! It’s the perfect way to create functional décor that doubles as a gift. 

Whether you are using your favorite stock pins to spice up your desk, making a personalized gift for a friend, or using custom pins to create functional décor for an event, these simple projects are the perfect way to add a personal, creative touch.

About Anna

Anna is a recent graduate from Loyola University with a degree in Creative Writing. Obviously, without question, she has what most only wish they have, and that is the gift to DIY. Personally, I’m more of a BUY type of gal. But props to her! She has been crafting since she was just a little girl and just never really stopped. It was at the young age of nine that she fell in love with crocheting. But that is only one of her many talents! For some crafty inspo check out her Instagram @thescrasppykoala. P.S. Her Etsy Shop won’t disappoint!

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Earn a New Badge in 2019

New Years Resolutions abound this time of year. Everything from losing that ten pounds gained over Christmastime, to finally going back to school to get your degree, but something I intend to do in the new year is a little different. I’m going to step up my Volunteer Pinsvolunteering. No it won’t help me fit into my skinny jeans, or earn me a higher salary, but it’s going to help me and my community in a big way, and I’m excited!

Volunteering is a really great, diverse, and personal thing to do. You pick a cause or a group that you feel passionate about, and you dig yourself in. For me that’s animals. Shelters are almost overwhelmed out here in California where I live due to the wildfires that ravaged the San Diego area this winter. So many families lost their homes and lost track of their pets Volunteer Pinsduring the wildfires that most local shelters are at capacity. So come the new year, now that my holiday travel is over, I plan to spend some Saturdays at my local shelter socializing dogs and cats, cleaning crates and filling food dishes.

Animals shelters are just one idea out of literally thousands that are available in any area, and finding the one that’s right for you is as simple as a google search for a cause you believe in, or, if you want to see what’s going on in your area, check out websites like GiveGab.org or VolunteerMatch.  They can suggest organizations in your area that desperately need your help. From there it’s up to you, andVolunteer Pins while you won’t necessarily lose any weight, you’ll certainly gain experience and pride that will make you feel lighter. And let’s face it: everyone looks better wearing volunteer pins.

Volunteering, on top of being a feel good experience and a chance to give back, also builds skills and creates new opportunities for those involved. And if you don’t see your cause being represented in your area, consider starting up something grassroots and lead the way in 2019.

So follow your heart in the coming year, and give back. Happy New Year from PinMart!

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Conditions without Awareness Ribbons

awareness ribbonsEven with nearly 500 different causes represented by awareness ribbons, there are those that are not. Here are a few that we found that do not appear to be associated with a specific ribbon color:

  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy – Knowledge about this condition has become much more widespread in recent years due to a number of well-known sports figures being diagnosed. CTE appears to be caused by repeated blows to the head sustained over a series of years. It’s most often seen in military veterans and athletes, including boxers and football players.
  • Cooley’s Anemia – Also known as thalassemia major, Cooley’s anemia is a genetic blood disorder characterized by the absence of beta protein in the blood. Without this protein, blood cells cannot carry sufficient oxygen, leading to significant problems throughout multiple organ systems. People with this condition must have frequent blood transfusions and typically do not live a normal lifespan.
  • Frostbite – While mild (first degree) frostbite can cause numbness and superficial damage to the top layers of the skin, more serious or “deep” frost bite can lead to long-term sensitivity to cold, persistent pain, severe damage to the skin and deeper tissues, and even permanent damage as tissue dies.
  • Shingles – Caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chicken pox, shingles affects more than 200,000 people each year. This infection is rarely dangerous, but frequently causes a severe, painful rash. In some cases, shingles can cause complications, including neurological problems, skin infections, and vision loss.
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders – While spinal disorders are represented with a cream ribbon, musculoskeletal disorders in general do not have one unifying awareness color. Other individual conditions that do have colors include degenerative disc disease (cream) and spinal cord injuries (lime).

Perhaps we don’t need a new ribbon for every condition – or maybe sticking to something awareness ribbonslike the zebra-stripe ribbon, which represents all those many rare diseases for which there is no specific designated color, is a solution to the overabundance of colors. But there’s nothing wrong in raising awareness and showing support for those who are living with the challenges those ribbons represent. Find your ribbon, ribbon pin, or ribbon charm and wear it with pride. And maybe choose one with the name of the cause printed on it to make your cause crystal clear.

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Infographic: Awareness Ribbons by the Numbers

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Have We Reached Awareness Ribbon Saturation

Walking down the street on your way to get lunch, you see a young man walk by with a blue awareness ribbon pin on his lapel. But wait – what’s he raising awareness of? Is it forawareness ribbon pins victim’s rights? Hurricane victims? Maybe Huntington’s disease. Wait – was it light blue or dark blue? Light blue could be prostate cancer. Dark blue, maybe Epstein-Barr virus. There are well over 50 different causes associated with the color blue alone, particularly when you add in navy, periwinkle, and color combinations. And when you consider all of the different ribbons, you’ll find that about 500 different diseases, conditions, and causes have specific ribbon colors associated with them.

Awareness ribbons make a meaningful statement. The red HIV/AIDS ribbon that first began appearing on lapels in 1991 was a visually striking reminder of the crisis, and it has awareness ribbon pinsbecome an internationally recognized symbol for the cause. Using ribbons as a way to raise awareness spread from there. For many people who suffer with an illness, who struggle to live with a life-altering condition, or who want to bring attention to a crisis situation, wearing a ribbon can bring a feeling of pride and visibility.

But with nearly 500 different causes represented by awareness ribbons, how much does a ribbon mean outside of a particular community? The red ribbon and its historical association with HIV/AIDS, the pink ribbon for breast cancer, the yellow ribbon to support our troops – most people know these associations, although all of those ribbon colors are used for other causes as well. Do people know what orchid or lavender or burgundy mean?

Ultimately, maybe it’s not so important to know off the top of your head what a pearl-colored awareness ribbon means if that leads to you asking or looking it up. Wearing a awareness ribbon pinssilver ribbon to represent CMT disease may simply make the wearer feel seen and recognized, since it’s considered a rare condition. Many organizations also use awareness ribbons as a fundraiser or giveaways to conference attendees. And while colors like blue and green and red might be used to represent dozens of different causes, each of those ribbons also represents a person who someone loves.

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