How one woman turned pins into a ‘I’m black and I’m proud’ movement
Coloring Pins was birthed by Essence Hayes, after discovering that she loved wearing pins, but never seeing ones that represented “us” on the market. The pins, which are not only fashionable and culturally relevant, also serve as conversation starters because of their bold statements and creative display of all things blackness.
Hayes and her pins have been at the forefront the black girl lapel and patch movement and have been rocked by some of our favorite black celebs, giving the brand the ultimate seal of approval. A serial entrepreneur, Hayes is not only the founder of Coloring Pins, but also Essence Murjani, an inventory of handmade nameplate necklaces that allows black women to boldly display their #BlackGirlMagic.
Get to know Essence Hayes, and discover why Coloring Pins needs to be on your holiday shopping list.
What year were you founded?
I started thinking about Coloring Pins in May of 2016 and birthed it in July of 2016. It was a short pregnancy.
What inspired you to launch your business?
I wanted to wear pins but I didn’t see any that I truly liked or felt represented me. I remember searching for pins one day and I was not impressed by the abundance of pink unicorns and skulls.
What makes Coloring Pins unique?
Well one of the unique aspects of Coloring Pins is our backing cards. They help tell a story and some of the designs are super nostalgic. It’s amazing to see people connect on social media because a pin or patch triggered a memory.
Why should everyone #buyblack this holiday season?
People should always #buyblack, not just this holiday season. I #buyblack all throughout the year. I’ve spent years subconsciously putting money into corporations owned people not of color. Now, I make a conscious decision to support people of color, their families and communities.
How do you pay it forward within your community?
I created the Henrietta Lacks pin because I felt her (involuntary) contribution to the world, and modern medicine should never be forgotten. 100% of the proceeds goes to the Henrietta Lacks foundation.
What is your business mantra?
Right now, it’s “Never more than you can handle”. I’m a one woman show and it’s physically and mentally taxing. Its also one of my greatest tests; running a thriving business by myself. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I know that I’m more than capable of facing challenges and solving problems. Also, “Be consistent”.
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