Humble Beginnings: How PinSource Came to Be

Rob Rothman - Then

Rob Rothman – Then

Rob Rothman - Now

Rob Rothman – Now

After over 29 years in business, PinSource has evolved into one of the most successful lapel pin manufacturers out there. However, like many successful businesses today, this did not happen overnight.

At 34 years old, Rob Rothman was a simple guy, and lived a simple life in Vermont with his wife Lorrie and their newborn, Jessica. He was a man of routine; he would start the day with an early morning run, have his usual breakfast with his New York Times, and then begin his long day as an Agway plant manager. Rob’s need for routine however, coincided with his extremely hard work ethic that he never let slide. He soon worked his way up to general manager at Agway, and began to make a name for himself in the corporate world.



“It was a big deal being a general manager at 34,” Rob recalls as we sit down for tea in his current office, located in his beautiful new home in New Zealand. For the President of an international company, his office doesn’t reside in a high skyscraper or luxury building—it is built into his garage, with a minimalist work space, and desk that faces a wide open window facing the ocean. While this is what one might be able to call the antithesis of corporate America, it perfectly suits the lifestyle that Rob strives for. As we sit in the garage, letting the ocean breeze cool our tea, Rob discusses with me his time at Agway. “I wore a jacket and tie everyday and it made me feel important. But I wasn’t happy.” Like many other things in his life, Rob didn’t feel like he fit into the cookie-cutter nature of the corporate culture, and thus began to open himself up to other options.

It turns out that opportunity wasn’t so far away, as Rob’s wife Lorrie had just recently started selling promotional products out of their living room. When sales picked up, Rob decided to join Lorrie, and together they launched their own business, driving through the Vermont countryside selling hats, mugs, and calendars out of their cars. After a few years business hit a roadblock as Vermont’s economy fell. Rob then decided to make a bold move—to narrow the niche of the business and broaden the marketing. “We decided to concentrate on just lapel pins,” he explained, as they met a wide range of promotional needs. Soon there after, PinSource was born, and neither Rob nor Lorrie ever looked back.

“Business is all about risk,” Rob says as he carefully pours the tea into two small Chinese cups. “You have to be smart, but you also can’t be afraid to fail. You have to accept that you will try many different things, and many of them will not succeed—but it only takes one right move to make it all worth it.” Rob further described how both his mistakes and successes opened up new doors for profit and opportunity in his business. This became particularly true for the international sector of PinSource, as Rob began to travel the world opening new companies in Hong Kong, Costa Rica, and Austria.

Rob always has believed in the power of the individual, and continually strives to never fit the mold of anyone else’s expectations. He wanted to do something that made him happy, but also made him successful. “I didn’t start the business to make money, but instead so I could be independent,” he explains. “What motivates me now is the challenge of opening new markets that promote interdependence among companies and brands.” Rob always has new ventures going on, and constantly tries to keep things interesting and fun. “As long as we keep doing new things, it’s fun. Being successful is just a nice side perk.”

A lapel pin is just a small piece of the journey for Rob Rothman. It signifies both his failures and his successes, but ultimately symbolizes his pursuit for happiness, independence, and undeniable work ethic. While these humble beginnings shaped PinSource’s business track, they have also shaped the way Rob continues to look at the world today, and everyday to come.

The Luck of The Irish

St.Patrick's Shamrock

St.Patrick’s Shamrock

Every year on March 17th, people around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Whether Irish by blood, or Irish at heart, the day has become a celebration of Irish culture, food, parades, and all things green. But how did we come to celebrate this holiday? What many people do not know, is that the day originally started as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, who died on the 17th of March in 461 AD. The day then became an official holiday in the beginning of the seventeenth century when the Catholic Church began to observe it.

Having both cultural and religious significance, St. Patrick’s Day has become a global celebration of the Irish that lies within all of us. But beyond just the multiple celebrations, parades, and copious amounts of green beer had on this day, there are other traditions that take place that are equally as important. One of these is the wearing of the Shamrock.

The Shamrock is undoubtedly the most treasured symbol of Ireland. During the time leading up to St. Patrick’s day, shamrocks can be seen decorated, displayed, worn, and cherished by both Irish and non-Irish alike. Most notably, people wear fresh Shamrock’s on their coat lapels, as a sign of both honor and respect for the Saint.

However, it is not always possible to wear a fresh shamrock (especially for those of us who are stuck in an infinite winter.) Not to worry though, because while the snow may still cover any sight of green, there is always the shamrock lapel pin! With the high quality nature of the hard or embossed enamel technique, you can now show your shamrock pride today, tomorrow, and for many years to come.

Let Pinsource help you show your Irish pride this March 17th.