Each Saturday, we're going to be featuring a different small business owner or content creator! Getting our content, products, and voices out there to the world can be tough, so creating an inclusive and supportive community is incredibly important. As a small business owner myself, lending a helping hand to others is a key part of our business plan - we want to give back to the community that has been so key to our success!
Our first installment is with Spectral Pins and Things who has been creating pins, earrings, clothing, and resin items inspired by their favorite fandoms since March 2021!
First thing's first - tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m from Massachusetts, and I went to school in Michigan for a BS in biology and in Connecticut for an MS in forensic science. I moved to Maine with my family about 9 years ago, and while I was living there I met my best friend Jessica (Outer Space Outpost). We decided to move to Las Vegas two and a half years ago, because snow is terrible, and Vegas is fun.
We have four cats: Izzy, Pepper, A Baby, and Natasha.
I’m a huge baseball (Yankees) and football fan (Patriots), and can often be found listening to or watching the games. I also play a decent amount of video games in my downtime. My favorites are Fallout76, Battlefront II, the Final Fantasy games (XII is my fave), Pokémon Snap, and Pokémon Go. I also love reading, writing, occasionally painting, and traveling.
What are your favorite fandoms?
Star Wars and Marvel are the two big ones, but I love most sci-fi, fantasy, and horror/suspense type things.
When and why did you start Spectral Pins and Things?
I started seriously planning Spectral Pins and Things in January and officially opened in March of this year. I worked retail management for fourteen years, and I kept talking about starting my own business, but I put it off repeatedly due to lack of time and energy and a lot of self doubt.
A lot of people I know (Jess included) started their own businesses or entirely changed career paths because of the pandemic, and I was really inspired by them. I started to sketch out ideas for pins, and I had saved a decent amount of money, so I left my job and committed to working on the shop full time so that I didn’t have the excuse that I was too busy any longer. I was ready to be my own boss and build up my own business, and most importantly, I wanted to put more nerdy merch out into the world!
What products do you sell?
I do a lot of resin work, mostly earrings and coasters/trinket trays, and I also make stickers. And of course the big one is enamel pins, but I’m taking it very slowly with those, because I really want to focus on pinning things I love. It was also important to me to find a manufacturer I really liked before I delved in too deep with the pins. Right now I design one pin and wait for it to be completely finished before putting the next into production.
Where do you sell your products?
What have been some of the lessons (both good and bad) that you've learned since starting your business?
Time management is a huge one, and I’m definitely still figuring out what works for me. For example, if I’m making earrings there are a lot of steps, several of them time or time of day sensitive, so I have to plan everything in advance and balance the production with packing orders, planning social media posts, working on new pin art, and doing all of the office work. Lists definitely help. I have also been learning to better recognize when I’m stuck on something and have to switch gears and knowing when I need a day off just to relax and recharge.
On the positive side, I’ve learned that you shouldn’t be afraid to take the leap to do something you’re really passionate about. It’ll never happen if you don’t give it a shot. Also don’t be afraid to make things because you think no one will like them. You never know who is looking for what nerdy thing out there!
What has been your favorite product or product line to work on and why?
I love designing pins and getting updates from the manufacturer on their progress and seeing them come to life. I also really love making earrings and coming up with designs and deciding what colors and foils to use for those. I definitely never planned to make jewelry, but doing it has been so much fun. I really loved using alcohol ink to make art on paper, but adding it to resin is fascinating to watch.
What is your favorite fandom to work on?
I love both Marvel and Star Wars equally and could never choose between them.
What has been your most popular product?
Clone earrings and the Bad Batch tie dye tees that are a collab between me and Outer Space Outpost using her dyes and my art. Everyone loves the clones!
What is one product you wish got more love?
Custom earrings! If I can fit it on one of my earring shapes and do it in my style, I’m happy to make it.
What is your favorite social media platform to use and why?
Instagram hands down. I interact with people way more there than I do anywhere else, and I just really enjoy the set up better than most other platforms. I love seeing snapshots of life and art in stories. I still haven’t quite figured out how reels work, but I don’t know that anyone has. You can find me at Spectralpinsandthings.
Where else can we find you on social media?
Is there anything else we should know about your or your business?
My goals going forward are to make other types of jewelry and other earring shapes as well as expand my fandom offerings. I’d also like to do acrylic charms and prints. In the more distant future I would also like to start up an indie nail polish line that would be fandom inspired, but that requires a very dedicated space that can be well-ventilated and have chemical storage.
Other than that, never be afraid to tag me in things or reach out to me for any reason. I’m always down for chatting whether it’s business related or you just want to scream about fandom (or show me cute pet photos). And if you follow me there will be many, many cat photos.