Tell me about the inception of GAYPIN’?
It happened pretty naturally over a bottle or two of wine. We started discussing the pin trend blowing up, and noticed there was a gaping hole in the market for a company that focused on gay and queer pins. A few months after that night, GAYPIN' was born.
Is it just me, or is gay-pin a double entendre?
If you saw us from behind, you’d know the answer to that. ;) (So yes. Yes it is a double entendre) - We love it because not everyone clocks it right away. Some people have known about us for months, follow us on social, come to events and then all of the sudden you see that moment in their brain when it clicks.
Pins are so retro! What are your thoughts on the resurgence of the enamel bling?
Retro is the new black! As children of the 90’s we’re huge fans of the denim and enamel pin comeback happening. It makes complete sense with so many emerging artists showcasing their work through social media. Enamel pins give those artists an opportunity to offer little affordable interpretations of their work. We love showing off pins from all our fav artists and makers.
Your instagram says “enamel pins and accessories for homosexuals and their friends.” Can you talk about the history behind gays and pins? What sparked your interest in creating a brand for the community?
It’s always been important for LGBTQ+ people to be visible, and pins give us an easy way to say “I’m here. I’m queer. Fuck off if you can’t handle it”. Even though the social climate has improved for queer people, we still have a LONG way to go. Creating GAYPIN’ was a way for us to channel all of our pride, hope, fear, anger, courage and outright faggotry into a voice for and with our community.
What do you look for in a collaboration? How do you find your co-collaborators?
Our collaborations have all happened really organically. We look to partner with people that share our brand’s values of inclusivity, sex-positivity, human equality and being queer as humanly possible. When people want to make a pin with us, we usually look at what their message is, and try to see how we can bring it together with some GAYPIN’ style. One great example is the Tom of Finland Leather Jacket Pin, because it’s a perfect pairing of Tom’s original work married to our bold solid-lined style. It ended up being pretty badass.
What is the production like?
Everything starts with a silly idea one of us feels that we NEED in our lives. After we chat and sketch it out, Stevie turns it into a vector design that would go well as an enamel pin. We then choose coloring and size, and send it off to our manufacturer. Within a few weeks our new GAYPIN’ baby is in our hands.
Can you give some advice on how to style a pin? Do you have favorite places to put them?
Pins almost always look best in groups. We like grouping up 3 or 4 pins of different sizes together on a jacket or hat. We’ve also been using our hankies to sport some pins lately to change it up.
What are your favorite collaborations? What tends to be the best seller?
The Tom of Finland ones have honestly been some of our favorites. We’ve both been huge fans of Tom’s work for years and it’s been an honor to see that collab come to life. Not to mention the TOF Leather Jacket pin was our FASTEST item to EVER sell out. We’ve also had a lot of fun with some of the drag queens that we’ve had the opportunity to work with. It’s really rewarding to see our collaborators hold their pin for the first time and be super excited to see that shiny little representation of themselves.
How did you get involved with TOM House? I personally am a huge fan and the historical landmark pin— what is that collaboration like? Will it be ongoing?
Our first collaboration was with Stuart Sandford, a resident artist of TOM House, and he introduced us to the crew there. The historical landmark pin is a memento of a piece of history. The TOM House has created so many opportunities for gay artists and we think it’s really cool to be able to own a piece of that. We would love to keep those collabs going and find new ways to transform the TOM House legacy into pin form.
You’re pretty sassy via social media and on your website. Would you say that’s part of your brand?
It’s part of our brand and a part of WHO WE ARE, henny! The honest truth is that we hang around a lot of drag queens, and they inspire a lot of the language and sass that we use with GAYPIN’.
What’s your dream pin, and what are you looking forward to creating in the future?
That’s such a hard question! All of our pins are our dream pins. The dream part really comes out when we see our customers wearing our pins and being so excited to wear them. It truly warms our gay little hearts. With that being said, we have tons of new pins and other products coming soon that we’ve been dreaming of. We can’t share anything just yet, but we’ve been having a lot of fun exploring new products to accompany our pin collection. We’re just gettin’ started. Our voice is fun, and our message is clear, so why not get everyone to hear it?