6 of Our Favorite Pin Makers Tell Us Their Origin Stories

This piece comes to you from Issue #02. For more stories like it, grab a copy here.

We spoke to 6 female pin makers that we admire from all over the U.S. to get the scoop on what gets them inspired. From feminism to history to childhood memories, they translate their diverse experiences into tiny pieces of wearable art. Find out how they got into the pin game.


The Hermosa Co.

Co-creator: Krystal Peralta

How did you get into the pin game? We had been watching the pin scene grow and noticed the lack of Latinx presence/representation in it, and decided to give it a shot. Our first release was the "Ni Santas Ni Putas" pin. We wanted something bold, but that would also stand the test of time. We are so pleased that we have been able to create something that resonates with so many different people and are excited to keep creating! My partner is my husband, Andrew Garcia. All of our designs are a result of our collaboration!

What inspires you most? We draw inspiration from our experiences as Xicanx, Mesoamerican history and mythology, pop culture (and the lack of Latinx representation within it), feminism, all POC and our resilience.

From where do you operate? Our living room. :)


Founder: Essence Hayes

How did you get into the pin game? I wanted to wear pins and didn't see any that I was itching to buy. I couldn't relate to anything being sold. I knew if I felt that way, there were others that did too. When you see a void, fill it. 

What inspires you most? Possibilities. Seeing other people do what most believe is unachievable. It lets me know that anything is possible if you work for it. 

From where do you operate? Out of my home in New York City! 

Salad Days Pins 

Creator: Julia Carusillo

How did you get into the pin game? I became an avid pin collector last year and starting thinking ‘Why am I not doing this myself?’ I have a degree in illustration and my masters in set design and thought I could enter a pretty niche market that combines my interests: history, film, mythology, architecture, and portraiture. A lot of my favorite pins I see and buy are pop culture based, but what I wanted to do was sort of the opposite, visually, but similar in concept. Historical pop culture and architecture, if you will. My style and color palettes are much more emotional that photorealistic. 

What inspires you most? I'm inspired by heroines and monsters in mythology, history, and art history. I was a Latin student—always fascinated and inspired by the stories of honor, family and conviction—and I try to bring that dignity into all the work I do, both in my pins and my other art. I'm also an avid reader of biographies and always wondering who would make the best niche (but somewhat recognizable) pin so that people actually buy it. Could I feasibly make a Rosemary Kennedy pin into a top seller? Very dubious.

From where do you operate? I'm based out of Chicago, which has a rich, lovely, supportive community of pin makers. Girl Pin Gang forever!


Sparkle Collective 

Creator: Britt Saunders

How did you get into the pin game? I made my first pin on a whim (I had only done handmade brooches up until that point), and was amazed by the positive response I received from it. I think pins are such a great way to customize clothing, and I have so much fun designing them!  

What inspires you most? My rescue cat, Milo!

From where do you operate? Toronto, Canada

Shiny Apple Studio

Creator: Julia Walther

How did you get into the pin game? I'm a potter, and on a whim this spring I turned one of my cup designs into a pin as a small souvenir of my work at craft shows. I was so enamored with how they turned out that I started scheming about other pin-worthy designs and haven't been able to stop! Enamel pins are so fantastic in that they have a wonderful graphic quality that is beautifully translated into a tangible object. 

What inspires you most? I've always loved tiny things, and through nostalgic or humorous imagery, want my pins to be a token of something precious and dear. One of the functions of jewelry is to communicate to others, and I like the idea of adorning yourself in nudges of delight.

From where do you operate? My home office in Washington, D.C.

Justine Cristle Gilbuena

Shop & creator: Justine Cristle Gilbuena

How did you get into the pin game? I always liked the idea of art made into tangible goods and for me, pins are like tiny pieces of art that I can share with others. I didn't plan on designing pins but I had a few ideas that I shared with friends until one of them said "well, just do it." And so I did, and it grew from there :)

What inspires you most? Memories from my childhood, mom's stories about growing up in the Philippines, coming-of-age stories and films, vintage illustrations, or the little things like wildflowers in a recycled tin can. 

From where do you operate? Queens, New York.