If you haven't noticed yet, the biggest category in the directory so far is by far Accessories. And of that category, the largest sub-category is Pins. It's easy to see why. They're affordable, make great gifts, and they're an easy way for artists and designers to create wearable art. Because of that, the enamel pin market has become pretty saturated and it's been increasingly harder to stand out.
In a sea of pins and accessories, Bobby Pins Co. stands out. Gabriela Companioni, the designer behind the brand, has created such kitschy, fun pieces that aren't so easy to just scroll past. Many of items have a retro, pinup style, and even the ones that aren't manage to have the same level of fun and confidence. I've always loved seeing Gabriela's obvious enthusiasm for her work, and her passion is evident in her answers here. Enjoy!
Q: Let’s start from the beginning. Can you tell me a little bit about the process of starting your business? What made you want to do this and how did you turn your idea into a reality?
A: Well I’ve always looked for different ways to express my creativity ever since I was a kid! Designing is so fun to me! I got a big push to find a way I could make money creatively when I got pregnant. I wanted to be able to work from home/be a stay at home mom, so I put my entrepreneur hat on created Bobby Pins Co!
Q: What was your first product to take off or find enough success that you were encouraged to do more?
A: I was super lucky my very first product sold well and I was able to reinvest a good amount of profits to produce more successful products!
Q: What were your friends and family’s reactions to you starting a business? Were you nervous to share it?
A: I come from a family of creative entrepreneurs! My dad started his own business as an immigrant in the US and he really passed that spirit down to my sister and I! My sister also started her own successful business as a wedding photographer! So while my friends and family were super proud of me they weren’t really surprised if that makes sense!
Q: Did you work another job while you were starting or do you currently still work another job? If not, how long did it take you to turn this into a full-time venture?
A: I did work at Urban Outfitters when I first started Bobby Pins Co, and it was such a great place to work as they really valued and cultivated creativity! It was truly inspiring and actually helped/motivated me to start Bobby Pins Co! I hope one day I might be able to have them carry one or more of my products!
I was able to start working for myself full time within a couple of months of starting Bobby Pins Co, though I know that’s definitely not the norm for most people starting a business!
Q: It seems to be pretty common for entrepreneurs to start their shops because they have a specific talent and then have to learn the business side of things (marketing, finance, eCommerce, etc.) as they go. Was this case for you or did you go into it having that knowledge? What was the most challenging part for you?
A: Well if I’m being honest I don’t consider myself super talented when it comes to art but I LOVE designing so I kinda just figure it out and I’ve gotten better over time! And it’s kinda the same for the business side, I didn’t know much about marketing or eCommerce but I loved what I was doing and learning about it so I eventually got good! My biggest challenge so far as deff been.. taxes!
Q: What has been the biggest marketing tool in your experience and how have you utilized it?
A: Probably Instagram, but that platform is becoming increasingly more difficult to utilize for marketing.. I’ve been having a lot of organic luck with Pinterest lately so I’m currently trying to learn how I can utilize that plat