May 05, 2014
We constantly get asked: who came up with the idea for Push Pin Travel Maps? The short answer is that we both did in a way. To answer that fully, we have to go back a few years. Upon returning from Dallas on one of our football motivated treks, I started thinking that I wished we had a map so we could track all of our travels. When I was single I used to have a laminated map that I pinned to the wall of my apartment, but kept it in my bedroom because I didn’t want company to see my tacky wall map with push pins sticking straight into the wall. I didn’t want to do that again because I wanted to share our adventures with people who came to our home and wanted something that I was actually proud to display and that did not damage the wall. I told Mike that I wanted to get one so we started looking around at local stores and online and weren’t happy with anything out there. First of all, the maps we found were way overpriced. Secondly, we really didn’t like the look of any of the maps or frames. Mike came up with the idea of, well why don’t we try to make one ourselves? And that is exactly what we did.
We searched and searched and finally found a frame and a map that we really loved. We then figured out how to make it, with plenty of trial and error, and voilà…we had a beautiful framed world map that we hung up on our wall that we could use to mark where we have been and to plan future journeys. Some friends of ours told us how much they liked it, so we thought; well I wonder if we could sell this map. So we started out small and bought enough material to make a few more maps. We created a website (thankfully Mike is a computer whiz, unlike me!) and the maps sold really quickly. We originally hoped to sell a few a month as a side hobby, but when they sold so fast, we thought maybe we can turn this into an actual business. At that point we did a ton of research on the mounting and framing process and invested in the heavy duty equipment needed for a professional product.
We started out making the maps in our garage and stayed in there for the first year. At one point our garage was so full of pallets of frames and other material that we had to move them in and out of the driveway just to have room to work. We realized at this point it was time to get our own warehouse as this solution was not going to work when it started raining, not to mention the weird looks we got from curious neighbors. It has been a wild and amazing ride so far and a really fun learning experience. We took customer feedback to heart and invested in an engraving machine so that we could personalize the maps with a plaque, which really made our maps all the more special. We also added three new frame colors at the request of our customers. Additionally, we have begun having our own maps designed and have tons of other cool ideas planned as our company continues to grow. We honestly can’t believe how excited we get over maps now! :)
We both say all the time that it is such an unexpected and random path that our lives have taken. If you would have told us two years ago that someday we would have our own business making maps, we would have thought you were crazy. We never expected that my idea of wanting our own map to track our adventures and Mike’s idea of making our own when we couldn’t find one we liked would start this business. We feel incredibly grateful that this journey has gone so well to date. It has been unbelievably rewarding to hear from customers how much they love their map or how excited their loved one was to receive our map as a gift. It makes the success of our business all the sweeter and we look forward to continuing this journey and seeing where our path takes us next! So stay tuned and feel free to come along for the ride!
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