Why the Poppy?

Lest ye forget, as you prepare for a weekend outside enjoying friends and family, Memorial Day is not just about pulling out the barbecue, opening the pool and watching the town parade. It’s a time to remember those men and women who have sacrificed their lives serving our country.

jw1095-poppy-collection-lapel-pin-badge-with-leaf-bh1A very popular symbol in remembrance of our service men and women is the symbol of the red poppy. We see them posted and pinned on lapels across the country. The poppy has a long association with Remembrance Day, but how did the distinctive red flower worn on the lapel become such a potent symbol of our remembrance of the sacrifices made in past wars? Why the poppy?

The beautiful flower does have a history all of it’s own, and it’s seems that it’s growing habit is one of the main reasons this flower has been adopted as a universal symbol of resilience and regrowth. The field poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is an annual plant, which flowers each year between about May and August. It’s seeds are dispersed on the wind and can lie dormant in the ground for a long time. If the ground is disturbed from the early spring the seeds will germinate and the poppy flowers will grow. In nature, scarlet corn poppies grow in conditions of disturbed earth.  As this relates to war: this is what happened in parts of the front lines; once the fighting disturbed the ground, the poppy seeds lying in the ground began to germinate and grow during the warm weather in the spring and summer months. The fields would then fill up with beautiful red poppies after a battle had been fought. Perhaps, to some, remembering the bloodshed and sacrifice made in these very field during war time…


The poppy, in its many forms, is sold and worn as a lapel pin on Memorial day in honor of lives sacrificed. Funds are raised through the VFW  and other war Veterans associations by selling  The “Memorial Flower”  lapel pin. The funds are then applied towards supporting those Vetrans in need of help, most especially servicemen and civilians suffering from physical and mental hardship as a result of war. Thus, the scope of the poppy and its connection with the memory of those who have died in war has been expanded to help the living too.

So,  the poppy is a symbol of remembrance, but also of  hope. Some liken their growing habit to the optimism for a world returned to peace after war. It is a flower that has many meanings. Whatever meaning you adopt, wear it proudly for our Veterans this weekend.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day, enjoy & remember….and don’t forget to wear you red poppy lapel pin!

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.

Black Market Lapel Pins in North Korea

North Korean Lapel Pin

North Koreans have to wear lapel pins with the faces of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. It is common for these lapel pins to have one face or the other, unless you are a high ranking official. High ranking officials have special pins that show both faces, while the average person will have a different pin. Due to their rarity, these pins have grown in popularity amongst the population. People who can afford it are going to the black market to purchase one for themselves. To them, it is an investment that they can use when low on funds. They can trade the pin for drinks, food, board, or other services if they have no cash on hand.

Going to the black market is the only way for the average North Korean to get these lapel pins. While there are a few pins available, this is one that only high ranking officials can have. Military leaders and high ranking executives in office are the only ones to receive this special pin. People who have these pins are high up on the social hierarchy, are trusted and respected. For the average person, having this pin can make them feel as if they, too, have a high rank in the country. It is only one motivation for the increased sale in the black market.

Another motivation is to have an item that one can trade for items or services. Years ago, the item of choice to have instead of money was methamphetamine. After the government began cracking down on the sale and use of methamphetamine, however, it was no longer a viable option. These double portrait pins of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il became the popular alternative soon after the December 2011 death of Kim Jong Il. Only a handful of people could have them and there were not many for sale on the black market.

At first, the price of these pins reached 130 Yuan. Over years of continued circulation, use, and popularity, the price dropped to 40 Yuan. Part of this is also because the sale of these pins is illegal. The reason that people have to go through the black market is the fact that the government does not want the average person to have this pin. This does not do much to hinder the popularity or sale of the pins, though. Citizens continue to use these pins as a way to invest their money in items they can later sell or trade.

Custom Lapel Pins for Fundraisers

Tufts Medical

When schools and non-profit organizations hold fundraisers, there are many different ways they can go about it. Some organizations hold dinners or other fun events, while other organizations prefer to partner with local businesses and sell food or other items. When it comes to charity, there are no wrong ways to raise money – it’s all going to great causes. Here at Pinsource, we applaud any effort to raise money for charity or schools, and we are always thinking of ways to help in any way we can. One of the ways we can help raise money for your organization is with our custom lapel pins.

At Pinsource, we can customize every style of lapel pin to be in support of your school or non-profit organization. All you need to do is send us your designs, or you can work with one of our professional graphic designers to help you design an attractive lapel pin. We can even create lapel pins that commemorate a specific fundraising event, like a 5K race or auction. Not only can these lapel pins be sold to help raise money, they can also serve as a small advertisement for your charity. When it comes to fundraising for charitable organizations, you want to be sure you maximize your fundraising potential – let Pinsource help you continue to help others!

Why Buy Lapel Pins From Pinsource

Pinsource Team

A Lapel pin is a special kind of accessory that is used widely in the corporate world. Different multinational corporations and business organizations have their own uniquely designed lapel pin. The most common use of lapel pins is to identify the workers of a company. You must have noticed employees wearing shirts and jackets with a lapel pin on top of it. The lapel pins on their shirts signify the association of the person with an organization. Besides being used for identifying workers, lapel pins are used extensively during various events, fund raising activities, promotional activities, branding of products, etc.

Well if you’ve recently launched your business company, then make sure that you purchase a lapel pin quickly. The lapel pin you select should be an impressive one as it will represent your business and promote the brand among the people to a great extent. There are many companies in the market which manufacture a wide variety of Lapel pins. However, the best option still remains to be the PinSource. PinSource is a world leader when it comes to the manufacture of high quality lapel pins. You can also buy wristbands, hard enamel pins, dog tags, magnets and many more amazing promotional items.

Great Items for Collectors from Pinsource

VT City Marathon Pins


There are collectors for just about everything you can think of these days. At Pinsource, we create several items in particular that have become very common as collector items, which adds some extra value to the items that we create. While most of the people who order from us are placing their orders for business, organizational or marketing purposes, having that added benefit of collectability certainly is nice!

Here are some types of items we design and create that are commonly collected. Consider handing these out at your next trade show or event:

  • Coins. Coins have been a collectable item for hundreds of years. Today, people collect a wide variety of coins, including specialty coins, foreign coins and coins that are no longer in circulation. We create coins for corporate, military and other purposes, and can create them in standard or custom shapes depending on the type of design you want. Collectors are certain to appreciate the variety we provide
  • PVC coasters. Coasters are a particularly popular collectible with people who have bars in their home. We create PVC coasters with unique designs for your company or organization that are colorful, resistant and appealing. These are great promotional items that collectors are certain to want to grab!
  • Magnets. Just about everyone knows at least one person who has a refrigerator or filing cabinet covered in magnets. That speaks to how effective magnets are as a marketing tool; people want to take them home and collect them. We make magnets in aluminum, acrylic or metal in a variety of shapes and designs to fit your needs.
  • Ornaments. Ornaments are a particularly popular giveaway during the holiday season, and people are always looking for new ornaments to add to their Christmas tree. You can have custom ornaments made using our etched process or from cast, and can customize the look of the ornament with company colors, logos or unique shapes.

If you run a company or organization, take advantage of the natural tendency people have to become collectors with these particularly collectible items. Contact us today for more information or to place your order; we look forward to working with you!

A Brief History of Lapel Pins

Live Free or Die Hard Enamel Lapel Pin


Many organizations and individuals come to Pinsource to create their own unique lapel pins. But how did these pins get to become a traditional accessory and means of recognition? The answer stretches back many hundreds of years.

Though it is unknown who actually created the original lapel pins, what we do know is that a key design process often used for these pins known as “inlaying” was extremely popular during the 13th century in China. At the time, Chinese artists and craftsmen created fired enamelware items during the Yuan Dynasty. This process became even more popular during the Xuan De period of 1426-2435,which coincided with the reign of Emperor Zhu Qiyu. Relics of small yet ornate enamelware products greatly resembling pins have been found from those periods.

You could even make an argument that lapel pins date back to the time of the ancient Egyptians, who (as far as we know) invented the process of inlaying. The Egyptians would inlay colorful and ornate enamel materials on top of a (usually copper) base, and then secure those layers together using soldered wire. This technique dates back to 1800 BC.

By the 13th century BC, the Greeks had put their own spin on the inlaying process, using colorful powdered glass to fill cells that were made by soldered wire. They would then put the pieces into a fire to produce beautifully decorative objects.

We have also previously written about the history of lapel pins as worn by soldiers during battle as unit markers. This practice began during the Revolutionary War and continued through World War I and the Civil Rights area. Today, many politicians and political supporters wear lapel pins during important rallies. You will rarely see the President or other politicians without an American Flag lapel pin when giving an address, or without a campaign pin when out advertising their campaign during election season.

Today, pins are used for a wide variety of reasons, but the trend is nothing new. They have a deeply rooted history in all corners of the world.

Contact us today if you’re interested in having custom-made pins designed for your organization!

Specialty Pins from Pinsource

CA Athletics Pin


Sometimes we have customers who come to us with a truly unique design for a lapel pin, and they tell us that they want to make a big impression. This is where our expertise comes in handy! Our experienced team has the ability to fulfill all of your needs for specialty pins, including danglers, bobbles, lights and more. They are particularly great for pin-trading events or corporate trade shows, where a first impression is key. Many customers choose to include cards that have more information to get paired with pins that they give away.

Here are some of the types of specialty pins that we create:

Danglers. On a dangler, you have the main pin design with spots where you can hook on smaller, dangling pins. These are a great idea for companies to have their corporate logo as the main pin, and have danglers for special positions, years of service, achievements and more.

Bobbles. Bobble head pins feature two different pins that get held together by one spring. One pin gets affixed to your clothing, and the other moves freely on the end of the spring. These are a fun type of pin to use as a give-away.

Pins with lights. Want your pin to stand out right away? We make pins with blinking lights to guarantee that it will be seen from across the room. Choose to add one light or many depending on the design you’re looking for.

Pin-on-pin. Add another dimension to your pins by layering them. The plating and color combinations you use can truly help your pin to stand out.

Stones. Adding stones to your pin can create a very luxurious and special appearance. This is a great option for pins that will be given to people for special commemorations. We offer both synthetic and genuine stones of varying types, colors and sizes.

Years of service. Create pins with blank areas where we can engage years of service. These pins are great to give to loyal employees as a gesture of thanks for all they have done.

For design questions or any other information about our specialty pins, contact us today at Pinsource!

Case Study: How eSurance Rewards Employees with Pins

While the idea of giving out recognition pins has been around for a while, some modern companies are starting to use the old concept in an exciting new way.

eSurance, an online insurance company, has instituted a new employee incentive program for its elite division of insurance claims investigators called the Special Investigators Unit (SIU). This program offers employees unique lapel pins for completing difficult challenges in the workplace. The pins feature a die-struck design with an antique silver finish on the back, with a full-color print of the eSurance mascot on the front.

What makes this program unique is the way it’s managed. The company uses lapel pins to reward employees for meeting specific benchmarks. For employees working under this program, striving to earn these pins is a little bit like trying to unlock trophies and achievements in a videogame. It helps managers add a little excitement to the ordinary workday.

Rewarding employees with lapel pins is a great way to take an ordinary quota system and turn it into a stimulating competition. By offering a wide range of pins for various accomplishments, employers can keep better track of their employees’ job performance and create a fun incentive for meeting workplace goals.

For employees, these pins serve as a source of pride and offer a tangible record of their various professional accomplishments. A lot of companies have instituted additional incentive programs by establishing currency based on recognition pins and coins. By earning a certain number of die-struck coins or pins, employees can be afforded special privileges or trade them in for various rewards.

Lapel pins are an excellent motivator for a wide range of employee accomplishments. They can be used to reward employees for meeting or exceeding sales quotas or completing difficult tasks or projects. They can also recognize employees for their years of service to an organization.

With the range of applications being limited only by employers’ imaginations, it’s a sure bet that we’ll be seeing other companies following in eSurance’s example by leveraging the power of lapel pins to increase employee engagement and performance.