Fashion is both ever-evolving and reciprocal. What’s in today is out tomorrow and what was popular twenty years ago is slowly creeping back onto the shelves of your favorite retailers. Bold colors, mixed patterns or prints as well as subtle and not so subtle accessories are often the focal point of a carefully orchestrated fashion statement. However, for Corey P. Speight, owner of Pins with Personality by Pernell, it’s the little things that say everything!
Before he could utter his first words, Speight’s sense of style was being groomed by his mother. Always meticulously dressed with matching nails before biweekly manicures were a trend, Doris J. Speight made a lasting impression on her son. “Her fashion sense is something that, as a child, I remember. She was in Corporate America, so she would dress up just about every day, and of course, she would dress up on Sunday for church. I got to see that day in and day out and it rubbed off on me,” he recalls affectionately.
Today, Speight is rubbing off on others by adding a tiny bit of personality onto the lapels of men and women with his line of handmade lapel pins. However, before it became a business, lapel pin making was a passion project for the NC State alum. Taught the art of lapel pin making by a friend a few years ago, Speight started out making them for himself. Soon he was making them for others upon request.
While some suggested selling them, he saw it as an opportunity to uplift. It was “the love of seeing people be more confident, having something that no one else has” that initially drew him in. It wasn’t until he was faced with a layoff that he decided to transition from passion project to business. “Once I went official, I had a website up in less than a week and I was in someone’s boutique in less than two weeks.” Needless to say, he hit the ground running and hasn’t looked back since.
Appropriately named Pins with Personality by Pernell, to know Speight is to know that he’s full of personality and his ability to be himself in any setting has served his business well. “When people say to make the business your own, I really took heed to that. Pins with Personality by Pernell is me! Not only does it bear my name, but everything about it is an extension of me from the fashion to the positivity,” he proclaims.
In just over two years, Speight has been able to penetrate the market locally as well as internationally with customers from Raleigh to Australia. “I don’t know anybody in Australia. I don’t know anybody in Europe. All I did was post a picture, a little blog about a pin and now I’m shipping to Australia.” But it’s more to it than that! Speight has found a way to inject his personality into his brand from his Urkel-Esque skits to his euphoric energy in his photos while utilizing the power of social media.
The online presence of the emerging brand is as multifaceted as its owner, whimsical at times with a classic vibe rooted in positivity. Perhaps that’s why it’s captured the eye of NC Central head basketball coach, Levelle Moton, who can often be seen wearing one of Speight’s creations on game day.
Although his social media savvy plays a significant role in his brand, part of the Pins with Personality by Pernell experience is in the presentation. The smell, the packaging and hand delivery, when possible, are some of the personal touches that have become synonymous with the brand. In his words, “I want to develop that relationship, that bond and give them that experience so they can become loyal customers.”
Whatever the future holds for this fashionable entrepreneur, he’s letting God lead. “I’m going to continue to walk by faith until I reach wherever I’m supposed to be. The pins are just the vehicle that I’m driving. It’s much more than fashion. I think it’s only the means to get me to wherever I’m meant to be,” he professes.
However, God leads him, you can expect his endearing personality and audacious sense of style to be along for the ride!