Over the past couple of years streetwear pins have made a huge comeback. I remember the day that I had gotten my first pin when I was just a boy, visiting Disneyland with my family and a bunch of other Jews. Only recently did I find out that there is a huge pin trading community for Disney pins, phish pins, now streetwear pins, and more.
I had no idea that I would find myself developing a streetwear brand focusing on enamel pins. Now that it has been a while since I started the brand, I want to take a moment and talk about some highlights that I have experienced along the way.
Firstly, this project started over the christmas holidays of 2014, when I realized what a lazy a$$hole I was. My routine was simple. I would wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, sit on the couch, do some market research, and get into bed. If you are unaware of what I do for a living besides for making awesome pins you should follow me on Snapchat: RuinedRep. At this point I started thinking of what I can create and sell online that will allow me to have something with my mark on it. I had just started noticing that streetwear pins were becoming a thing, but not the thing that brands build their businesses on. I figured I would be the only guy in the world with a brand that is focusing on the creation of unique streetwear pins. Was I ever wrong.
Being that this was my first time designing enamel pins, I had no idea what the first Ruined Rep collection would look like. When the pins arrived, I was being happy with the way that they turned out and knew at that moment that I was onto something. When I got my first order I was tripping balls. It was one of the best feelings I have ever experience in my life. When you create something from scratch and people show interest, you just want to take a chairlift to the top of a mountain and yell… I’M THE MAN!!! (I would love to swear but I don’t think Google like that).
Another great moment during the Ruined Rep journey was when the pin community gave me recognition for my pin designs. It made me realize that all these streetwear pin brands don’t see each other as competition, but rather they see them as an addition to their community. As artists and creators we all have our own unique styles that will always differentiate us. Except for that rare occasion when two brands come out with the same pins.
Probably one of the coolest moments was when I had two huge Instagram accounts post my pins. The first Instagram account was a pin and patch account that goes by the name of, @PatchGame. This really helped launch the Ruined Rep brand into the pin and patch community, and allowed me to sell a bunch of pins and meet awesome people. The second account was @SlutWhisperer. With his one post for 24hrs, my Instagram account grew by 400 new followers, which helped me establish a stronger brand on social media.
Retail is something that took a while for me to get, but I have had the opportunity to have my pins placed in two incredible streetwear stores in Montreal, Off The Hook and Boutique Fake. Since then I am looking to branch out to other streetwear stores across Canada and the US so that more people can have access to Ruined Rep’s pin collection.
One of my proudest moments was when three out of five of my pins at the time were featured in a BuzzFeed article talking about pins that you should've owned by now. This was an incredible feeling since it was my first piece of press.
Something that I’ve learnt while on this journey is that the success is a direct result of the amount of effort you put in. I work my a$$ off on a daily basis to find new ways and opportunities to market my pins and grow my brand. Ruined Rep is more than just a brand making streetwear pins, we are a lifestyle.