Contact The Pin People | Laurie Artiss LimitedWhere can I get custom lapel pins?
After years as Sports Editor with the Regina Leader Post and being an active sports participant, Laurie Artiss began searching for a new career involving sports. His love of curling lead to the development of selling curling supplies from his home, then to the Pro Shop at the Tartan Curling Club. Business continued to grow and relocation to larger quarters on Dewdney Avenue followed.
As chairman for the 1973 Silver Broom (World Curling Championships) and 1976 Brier, (Canadian Curling Championships), he was frustrated with unavailability of good quality, inexpensive lapel pins so popular at curling events. He found a family managed lapel pin factory in Taiwan, with whom they still deal, and the niche was filled and a viable sideline business began.
Little did he realize this decision would forever change the face of the company. Today Laurie Artiss Ltd. designs and sells pins around the world. Their sales network includes more than 50 agents across North America who represent their pin services. Although Laurie Artiss is now retired from the business, his daughter Karen, and Chris Pasterfield now operate it.
Although a successful company before 1988, being awarded the License for the Calgary Winter Olympic Games presented new growth opportunities. Initially, the odds of getting this License were daunting in that sixty seven other firms bid and preference was given to Calgary or Alberta companies. Since 1988, the company has continued its relationship with the Canadian Olympic Committee providing official pins for nine Olympic Games including Athens 2004!
In 1988 in Calgary, the firm, in concert with Coca-Cola, took pin trading and collecting to new heights. Laurie Artiss Ltd produced the 1988 Coca-Cola Olympic Pin Guide which became a Canadian best seller.
The effective partnership between the company and Coca-Cola lead to the firm being asked to manage similar Pin Trading Centers for Coca-Cola in Albertville. Barcelona and Lillehammer. This in turn lead to successful Pin Trading Centers at the other events including the 1999 Pan American Games, 2001 Canada Games and the 2002 North American Indigenous Games.
Laurie Artiss Ltd’s success with Calgary opened the door to the national corporate, sport and other licensing markets. “By 1994 we retired the curling supply business and remained exclusively with pins, managing its continued growth,” says Pasterfield, Vice President of Marketing. He adds, “Our Olympic experiences enabled us to secure the License for the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg and ten participating Countries chose us to produce their official Team pins.”
Their expertise with pins and major sporting events garnered them further appointments as an official pin supplier to the 2001 Canada Games, 2002 North American Indigenous Games, and just recently announced, the 2005 Canada Games. This will be the biggest pin event in Canada until the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The firm has also produced many pins for the 2010 Bid Committee.
Although sporting events are probably the most visible area of the company business, Laurie Artiss Ltd. also produces pins for other clients. They range from local schools, towns, sports groups to national associations and Lions Clubs worldwide.
The design of pins has remained the same but new techniques have been introduced. “Laurie Artiss Ltd pioneered the development of the ‘Die struck-Fine enamel’ process with its offshore factory. We also introduced the use double platings, (both gold and silver on the same pin), as well as pewter pins with gold screened highlights. This yields very beautiful jewelry-type pins which compliment our popular fully enameled ones,” says Pasterfield.
The company has always been on the forefront of technology and service having one of the first fax machines and ‘800’ numbers in the area. The art department is aided by the most up to date computer art programs in both PC and Mac.
In many cases, the design staff at Laurie Artiss Ltd. develop the concept for the pin, however, some clients will provide graphics and ideas from which they can work. The pins are then produced in either their reliable offshore factory, or their complimentary Canadian factory, which specializes in quicker deliveries.
The firm has had a very successful past and looks forward to July 3, 2003. At that time the IOC will hopefully announce Vancouver- Whistler as the host of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games! “No doubt they will need more pins and I believe we can help!” concluded Pasterfield.