Today we’d like to introduce you to Jaclyn Gerakios and Yasmin Greene.
Jaclyn and Yasmin, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Our story begins at Shark Con, a shark convention in Tampa, where in the year 2016 we first met and bonded over wearing the same shark leggings. As we are both biologists who love the ocean, we quickly became best friends (“seasters” as we like to say) and not too long after had the idea to start a project that would make a difference for the oceans that we love. Jaclyn is the one who suggested we start with enamel pins and since then we have expanded to sharing our passion for marine life through products like stickers, apparel, jewelry, bags, and reusable straws which donate to marine research and ocean conservation. We are a small business that is run out of a house, and we ship globally!
Jaclyn is an avid ocean advocate. She has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University in Marine Biology and a master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in Environmental Education. She has worked as an aquarist, marine science educator, water quality technician, classroom teacher, expeditions manager, SCUBA instructor, and even a mermaid! She is a volunteer supervisor with her local sea turtle patrol and lives in Florida with her husband, son, and rescue animals.
Yasmin is an artist and ocean advocate. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tampa in Biology and a master’s degree in Environmental Science from Drexel University. She is currently working on her MBA from Florida International University. Yasmin believes art plays a powerful role in fostering environmental awareness and creates all our designs with that goal.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Looking back it wasn’t easy, but we also have been enjoying this journey together. Just like other small businesses, we have had our fair share of struggles. Both of us had no background studies in business so it has been quite a learning experience for us on the operational side of things! It was also challenging at first learning how to design and source our products. We definitely made many mistakes initially and still do so whenever designing a new type of product. We’ve learned to be patient with this process and laugh through silly prototypes. It’s often hard running the social media aspect of a small business. Since we are an online shop, we heavily rely on expanding our audience through social media. This has been draining at times when facing hurdles growing our online audience. We both also work full-time jobs in addition to Fin Pin Shop and that has been a challenge as we continue to grow. We hope to both be full-time solely with Fin Pin Shop someday!
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We are most known for our quirky ocean puns which accompany our nature illustrations. Each design is drawn with the purpose (or porpoise if we’re staying on brand) of inspiring others to love and care for our oceans. We are most proud of the awareness and support that has been brought to the species we’ve illustrated. This past year we got to name a stranded sea turtle, “Greene Bean”, pay for his care, and even film his release back to the ocean. It’s so amazing when people come up to us at shows or engage on social media and mention Greene Bean, the release, and how it impacted them. We are so happy we’ve been able to partner with so many amazing nonprofits over the past several years and have contributed to such important research and conservation efforts. We have met so many amazing people on this journey and every day we are humbled by the support we receive from our customers, who we lovingly call our “Fin Fam”.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
Those who we jokingly call our “unpaid interns”. This is our husbands, family members, and close friends who have been there through it all! We love our “unpaid interns” and they help us with everything from event staffing, order packing, and most importantly moral support. Running a business is a lot of work and emotional investment, we are very lucky to be surrounded by incredible people who cheer us on.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.finpinshop.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/finpinshop/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/finpinshop
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/finpinshop