Female Founders No.22: Amy Collins, Pinhead

Female Founders No.22: Amy Collins, Pinhead

It’s time for another creative edition of our Female Founders series! With over 11,000 Instagram followers, Pin Head combines quirky designs, 90’s nostalgia and scouse pride to creative beautiful enamel pins. We caught up with Pin Head’s founder, Amy Collins, to discuss her journey as a female founder in the creative world.

1. Why did you start your business? What spurred you on?

At first, my business was just a little sideline to encourage me to be creative. I used to present a radio show for a while and realised then the value of having something outside of the day job to focus on. In my opinion,

having a project on the go, just for you, is crucial for building self-worth and helping keep mental health issues at bay.

2. What are the unique challenges that you have faced as a female founder?

I’m not sure that I have experienced any issues because I’m female since I’ve been working for myself. Although, I did when I was a retail manager working for a larger firm. I’m lucky that I only have to represent myself now which I can’t get wrong so long as I remain truthful and authentic. Thankfully, the reception I get to the business and myself is positive.

3. What were the 3 steepest learning curves in your first year in business?

Trial and error is a really valuable tool.  I’ve released designs that totally flopped and it can be disheartening but if you learn from it and move swiftly on, the failures teach you so much.  I’m not naturally organised so it is a constant battle with myself to try and be more structured. This is becoming ever more important as I’m getting busier. I learned that you need to adapt to people’s’ preferred communication and level of involvement. Some people want to meet up for a coffee and chat, others expect an order to be confirmed in a couple of email exchanges and are on a tight schedule. It’s down to me to be astute and tailor the service to their needs.

4. What is your favourite thing about founding your own company?

I love being part of a network up of like-minded entrepreneurs and creatives. Liverpool is so rich in these areas and it’s a pleasure to meet so many other passionate small business owners.

5. What is the best business advice you have been given by someone else?

Keep it simple. Absolutely nail what it is you do best before trying to venture into other avenues.

I can potentially provide so many different products to my clients but if I was just “the person who can supply lots of merchandise options” I wouldn’t be cutting through the noise the same way “Pin Head – enamel pin expert” does. It’s important to differentiate yourself.

6. Do you ever suffer from Imposter Syndrome? If so, how do you tackle it and move forward?

Absolutely! I do not have any formal training in graphic design. I have taught myself everything and I’m still learning all the time. Sometimes it’s difficult to recognise myself as a designer. I try to focus on the incredible stories that go along with the finished product, people raising money, glowing testimonials, and users sharing their pin photos online. Knowing something you’ve created has brought joy to people makes those niggling doubts disappear.

7. What’s the best book on business you’ve read?

I’m actually doing a Marketing degree in John Moores Uni now  (as a mature student) so I’m knee deep in business journals. I’m accessing reports and really valuable insights by academics that I think most people wouldn’t consider reading. I’m always telling people to jump onto Google Scholar to search for stuff rather than being limited to just books

8. Tell us about another brilliant businesswoman that you think our readers should know about.

Chelsea and Jo from Innovate Her have been really inspiring to me. They run an enterprise offering workshops and training for teenage girls in computer science and coding to help address the gender imbalance in that industry. They are making a real impact and spreading a powerful message to youngsters about equality and inclusivity.

9. What advice would you give to yourself if you were starting your business now?

As part of my degree, I’m doing situational and market analysis of my own business and I’d say it’s been a long time coming. My business grew unintentionally and quite organically but knowing the market better would have been useful earlier on in proceedings.

10. If you had a marketing budget of £1,000 what would you spend the money on?

As I’m looking to scale up when I finish uni in May, I would use this money to create a marketing campaign to attract new customers.  I would also add some features such as a live chat box to my website so people can speak to me about their queries in real-time. Improving responsiveness is one of my key objectives moving forward.  

Thanks for reading!

Can’t get enough of inspiring stories from female entrepreneurs? Check out our other posts in our Female Founders series. We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Ngunan Adamu, founder of iWoman!

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