Cultured Carrots: Danny Rutledge and Emily June are Pin Prosby Carrot
Carrot Creative is filled with colorful characters. Cultured Carrots is a series that shares the outside passions that inspire the very best work for our clients. This week, Junior Designer Danny Rutledge and Designer Emily June talk about the art of pin making and the extensive community that surrounds it.
Carrot: How did you get into making pins?
Danny Rutledge: I had a bunch of leftover illustrations for different projects at the time and pins were a quick way of manifesting them into physical objects and thus Superduper was born.
Emily June: PinPoint was started by me and my friend Sam. I’d had a shitty break up and needed to refocus on something else so one day we were crafting and just decided to go for it. We had been following other pin makers so we knew what the market was like. We named it PinPoint.Co after our neighborhood Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
C: Why do pins seem like a hot trend now? What sparked it do you think?
DR: Pins have been around for a really long time. I think now as the independent artist/designer rises, we’ve been able to use them as a canvas for easily accessible and wearable art.
EJ: I think it also provides outlet for independent artists to make something easily, with large margins and minimal overhead. Pins accommodate a huge market with little restriction. Who doesn’t love small shiny objects?
C: What is the process of making a pin from start to finish?
DR: Generally having an idea for something, double checking it isn’t already made by someone else, then design them and work with our manufacturer on colors, metals, and sizing.
EJ: Yea it takes a couple pins to nail down what all the options are and what designs will work best with which process. In your file everything has to be designed with a stroke that basically serves as the outline for the mold which holds the enamel colors. There is soft enamel and hard enamel, epoxy coating, different thicknesses, gold plated, silver plated, antique silver, etc... you get it. Then you gotta design and order your business cards, packaging, shipping materials, etc. With minimum quantities of 100 you don’t wanna fuck it up. One time we forgot to double check a pantone our vendor changed and we had to re-order a whole batch.
C: When and how did you decide to turn your hobby into a business?
DR: Haha I’d argue mine is still a hobby. I think customers get the idea it’s a much larger ship being run than just one guy doing mail order out of his closet. I think Superduper will eventually evolve into something other than pins as well, using it to create various design ideas I have in the pipeline like book publishing, comics, animation, shirts, whatever.
EJ: I would like PinPoint to turn into a business before the pin bubble bursts. We have only been around since Feb 2016 so we’re still very young. I recently developed a fascination with embroidery so we’re making patches but I would like to branch off into making custom apparel. I’m in this for making cool stuff more than the money but my partner might argue against that haha. We’re a good balance.
C: What are some of the challenges of the business?
DR: Similar challenges to any business, making sure orders go out in a timely manner, constant marketing on social media channels, creating new ideas/products and becoming positive makers within the community.
EJ: There are a lot of challenges when you enter a partnership with a close friend. Making pins is the easiest part. We have had amazing experiences doing this together and meeting the whole pin community. To make it easier, we split up the responsibilities; Sam handles communication and logistics, and I do the design and social media. Running a business Instagram full time is super hard and exhausting if it’s not something you do full time. There is a lot of pressure to grow the account and so finding a balance between work at Carrot, PinPoint and my social life can also be a challenge.
C: What kind of art do you like to implement in your pins?
DR: It kinda depends what I’m into at the time. A lot of the designs I end up making are because I haven’t found a similar one out there that I’d like to wear. Superduper’s general mission statement is creating things to remind you you’re extraordinary, so I try to keep everything within a consistent positive tone and bright colors.
EJ: We are mainly influenced by urban street culture, traditional tattoo art and punk/metal scenes. Quite the opposite of SuperDuper haha. I tend to gravitate towards all things dark, we should collab. We’ve worked with other artists who also have insta brands. Our most recent collaboration was with an awesome illustrator @matt_sabbath to do a dagger pin/patch combo. He was incredible to work with. I’ve recently gotten my mind deep into a style I refer to as the electric west, channels the 70’s.
C: How would you describe the pin making community in New York?
DR: Pin making community is super rad and thriving in NY. You can find them at every weekend market/fair/thing, and most of the makers generally know of each other.
EJ: It’s awesome! I met one of my best friends, @gravesltd, through instagram. We’ve engaged with a handful of other NYC pinmakers via IG DM chat groups and will be in a gallery showing in the East Village at Chinatown Soup August 2nd brought to you by @strikegentlyco. We’re also in @girlpingang which is a bunch of girl pinmakers who started a Facebook and IG group to empower, engage and promote the members of the collective. We share knowledge, business experience and grow our individual businesses via promoting through GirlPinGang social media accounts.
C: Is the pin making community competitive?
DR: There’s definitely an aura of competition, but the pin/indie artist community is extremely supportive of one another. You know who’s made which pin and get hyped when you see a new one out there in the wild that looks awesome. If you look at the whole Zara stealing artist’s designs thing you see each artist has everyone’s back as well bringing forth attention to a major corporation bullying independent designers.
EJ: There is some competition but it’s minimal. If you make something that was someone else’s original idea you will be called out. I’ve witnessed bigger brands bullying smaller brands which breaks my heart a little because we all started small. The Zara scandal is a whole other story… that’s just wrong but i hope the artists gained some good publicity from it!
C: Anything else you’d like to say?
DR: You can purchase some Superduper stuff at Superduper.supply. Also always looking for interns haha.
EJ: This past June, PinPoint worked together with Carrot to produce the Adult Swim pins for the iOS/Android Emoji keyboard release and Comic Con this July. This was a new experience working closely with Noah Atkinson, who designed the pins and Kathryn Farwell, who was the producer on the project. It was by far the largest pin production job PinPoint has ever done producing a total of 5,550 pins!
Secondly we updated the Jolly Roger logo for pin production and made a couple hundred pins for Carrot!