There are countless websites that sell creepy-cute dolls and horror-themed accessories, but Pins & Needles represents more than a business specializing in the spooky and weird. Founded by UK-native Victoria Malin, Pins & Needles was born out of a desire to prove doubters wrong, after being told she’d never amount to anything if she opted to do things her way. It’s a passion project, from a woman that wasn’t afraid to go against the grain; an empowered response to being told her art wouldn’t amount to anything from people because they just didn’t understand it. As horror fans, many of us can relate to being looked down upon and misunderstood for our interests; solely because our tastes don’t meet society’s definition of ‘normal.’ Not only did Victoria prove all the naysayers wrong, but her success is an inspiration to anybody who’s ever been shunned for being different.
Pins & Needles accepts people for who they are, and encourages everyone else to do the same. It embodies embracing individualism, while serving as a symbol for doing what makes you happy – and making a successful business venture out of it should you decide to go that route. Pins & Needles is different to your average company because it strives to dispel negative stereotypes and encourage self-empowerment. it has meaning, and every creature Malin creates is a reminder of that.
Fittingly, Pins & Needles spawned last year on every horror fans favorite holiday – Halloween. What better occasion for a lifelong horror buff – raised on The Munsters, Jeepers Creepers and Saw – to go against the advice of the establishment – the ones who told her never to give up her day job – and do just that. She recounts quitting her job as “nerve wracking,’’ as she was leaving a job that offered her a comfort and luxury most would be content with. But, like anyone with ambition, she threw caution to the wind and took a chance.
“It’d been a couple years where I’d just been drawing the little characters,’’ she recalls casually-as-can-be. “I thought I’m going to go for it, and just quit my job on Halloween.’’
So that’s exactly what she did, and thankfully, the risk paid off. Pins & Needles has enjoyed a wave of immediate success, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. When buying a doll from Pins & Needles, you’re purchasing more than a product to place on a shelf, or take to bed with you at night. Each doll has its own personality – representing aspects of Malin’s own – which gives each creature its own individual nuances. However, their traits extend far beyond than that of their creator, as customers tend to be drawn to those with stories they can identify with, or lift meaning from. And, while they might be spooky little creatures with murderous tendencies, there’s something very human in all of their biographies.
“I thought that it would just be a slow thing, but at the moment it’s been a bit crazy,’’ she says. “I think the popularity is because everybody can relate to at least one of them. I had a lady at a fare last weekend who was actually crying at the story.’’
While every single one of them represents a facet of her personality, Malin relates herself mostly to ‘Beast’, a feisty creature who carries around the eyeball of the evil scientist that kept her locked up in a cage. Thankfully, Victoria herself was never locked in a cage for the purpose of twisted scientific experiments, but the creation of ‘Beast’ stems from a nickname given to her by an ex-boyfriend.
“It was meant in a nice way, like a cutie beast,’’ she clarifies, before jokingly comparing a resemblance. “It came from there and I’ve been told that she looks a lot like me.’’
However, the creatures that make up the Pins & Needles bunch are a family, perfectly complementing the other, while bringing something unique to the table; both in personality and appearance. Take ‘Fiend’ for instance, a devious little creature with his pink guts adorably spilling from his body; or Clot, an escaped convict from Germany looking to make your home his hideout – and you his next victim. These two – along with many more – typify Malin’s endearingly demented imagination and incredible talent, making each doll feel like a character with its own background, as opposed to a product.
Pins & Needles is an emblem for positivity: to take years of rejection, criticism, and negativity and mould it into a positive speaks volumes for Malin’s character, not to mention her ambition and determination to succeed. When Graham Moore told kids to “stay weird’’ in his infamous 2015 Oscar speech, he gave many alienated people a reason to take pride in being different. That being said, not everybody is going to grow up to become an award-winning screenwriter; and not everyone has the talent or imagination to create a gang of adorably creepy dolls like P&N. But, if there’s a lesson to be learned from both examples, it’s just be yourself and fuck what everybody else thinks.
Naturally, Malin would encourage everyone to pursue their own journey, even if the rest of the world doesn’t understand their vision. This is the principle Pins & Needles was founded on, and it’s the message it will always promote.
“If they think they’re going the right path, then carry on that path. You shouldn’t listen to anyone else unless it’s good advice. Don’t listen to people being negative as they just want to make you feel bad. I call them “jelly-fishers’’; you get those people that tell you it’s never going to work stinging you. Take no notice. Carry on. If you think it’s going to work, then go for it.’’
So, whether you’re just looking for a charming decorative to add to your household, or a gift for somebody with a fondness for the cuter side of the macabre, then look no further than Pins & Needles – you will not be disappointed. Who knows? Maybe it’ll inspire you – or someone – else to take that big step towards pursuing a goal. But hopefully it’ll at least remind you to enjoy being yourself, and accept others for being who they are as well.
Want to see how awesome Pins & Needles is? Head on over to the website and see yourself HERE.