Andrew Yung of PINTRILL: Putting a Pin in Pop Culture, Obsessions, and Things We Just Love
Who doesn’t love an enamel pin? We do! That’s why we’re so excited to announce our official collaboration with PINTRILL! Our goal was to create a collection that was quintessentially Pearl River — from lucky cats to lucky bamboo, a classic (and punny) Pearl River fan, and yummy Asian eats — and that would bring people joy, the store’s mission from the very start.
We’re also proud to be partnering with a small, independent business. Established in 2014, Pintrill is a pin and lifestyle brand based in Brooklyn and founded by two pop culture fans. We had the chance to talk to one of those fans, Andrew Yung, co-founder, marketing and partnerships, about how he started the company, what he’s obsessed with right now, and his love of beverages.
Let’s start with the basics. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a suburb outside of Toronto. It has a pretty substantial Chinese population.
Was your background artistic?
Not really. I went to school for economics at McMaster University. In my last year, I had a kind of crisis. I thought, What am I doing with this degree? I kind of always knew that I wanted to move to New York and I was a pretty big media junkie. I ended up getting an internship at Thrillist, then ended up working for a couple of years — I really needed a job — in partnerships and marketing. I also ended up doing partnerships at JackThreads. That was my entry point into the fashion world.
By then I was pretty excited about the idea of starting my own thing. I met my current business partner through my roommate. Jordan [Roschwalb, Pintrill co-founder] and I were both big comic book guys, big pop culture guys. One day he came to me with the idea of starting a pin company. He had already quit his job at Mercedes Benz, and at that point I was like, “Cool, let’s start this thing.”
We made these six pins, set up the online store and we ended up hitting the culture just right and got all the press from the places we wanted. We also grew with strategic partnerships. We worked with musicians, artists, people in fashion and tech. Collaborations are central to the DNA of PINTRILL.
What advice would you have for someone who wants to start their own business?
Trust your instincts. Take some chances. Don’t get in the way of yourself. Also, there’s a lot that you can figure out just by doing yourself these days. You can go on YouTube and watch graphic design tutorials or learn how to code.
Do you have a favorite pin?
Aw man, it’s so hard to choose —
How about your first favorite pin?
That would be our Zonin’ pin. I’m obsessed with Arizona Green Tea and so we flipped the logo on the can to say “Zonin.” We put it out there and ended up getting an email from Arizona. I thought they were going to ask us to take it down, but one of the execs there loved it and we ended up doing an official collaboration with them.
Another favorite was a pin that came from a collaboration with Nickelodeon for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. [Co-creator and comic book artist] Kevin Eastman made an original design that we turned into a pin.
Speaking of food, we love the foodie pins you all designed in collaboration with us. Do you have a favorite Asian food or snack?
I’ve been really into Pokemon sodas. They're these fruit sodas with different Pokemon on the cans. There’s a pear one, a peach one, a bunch of flavors.
So you’re really into beverages.
Oh yeah I’m obsessed with beverages. I also love Ramune.
Do you have your dream travel spot?
I’d really like to go back to Taiwan soon. That’s where my dad’s family is from.
What are you obsessed with right now?
So many things! Like The Watchmen. I’m super into it. I’ve also been telling literally everyone to see Parasite. It’s the craziest movie I’ve seen this year and probably one of the best that I’ve seen in the past 10 years. I’m also obsessed with Super Smash Brothers.
If you could have a superpower, what would that be?
Definitely teleportation. Or flying. The experience of flying sounds cool, but I also like the idea of instantly transporting somewhere, of being anywhere immediately.
What are your memories of Pearl River? Do you have a favorite product?
Yes! I have family that lives in New York. Growing up I used to come to NYC all the time, and my aunt would take me to the Pearl River in SoHo. I loved it. I loved how big it was. That’s where I would always buy Apple Sidra [a Taiwanese apple soda].
Sounds like we have our next pin! In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled right here for the reveal of the Pearl River x PINTRILL collection. You can also learn more about our designers and collaborators in our entrepreneur interview series.