Q & A with Erin of Pulp Co
This week we chatted with Erin Kinnane, the founder of Pulp Co, which is a Rhode Island-based shop that supplies our adorable hats, perfect for those final beach days of summer or entering the new school year in style.
Here at Ollie + Squish, we love fellow eco-conscious brands, and Pulp Co definitely makes the cut. They are committed to being 100% ethical, responsible, toxic free, and all-natural makers.
Keep scrolling to learn more about the good-to-the-core woman behind this brand.
Where did you go to school/ what did you study?
I studied Graphic Design at the University of Massachusetts. Before I went there, I didn’t realize how much incredible talent there was among both students and faculty, but it ended up being an incredible influence on me as both a person and an artist. My time at UMass was the first time I was exposed to textiles and pattern making and I was able to spend my Senior year dedicated to learning as much as I could about this, which was the very beginning of what became Pulp Co.
How did you start making hats?
Oddly enough, I never thought I would end up making hats. I was working full time at a design agency in Boston before my son was born, and during maternity leave I was experimenting with prints and sewing patterns at home. I was hoping to start a small shop so that I could stay home with my son full time and I started posting photos on Instagram of the things I made for him. Keri Soltoski from Found Company saw a hat I made and immediately got in touch with me. We collaborated on some uniquely printed hats for her store and they caught on! To this day, I’m not sure if I would have been successful at all without that first job from Keri.
How did the name Pulp Co originate? Where do you get your inspiration for prints and colors?
Pulp Co originally started as a school project where I was marketing an imaginary paper company with products made only from re-sourced plant fiber. A classmate suggested the name Pulp Co. I loved that name and it stuck with me far after the project was over. The pulp of something is the very stuff it is made of, what is at its essence, and the ideal of wanting to make products that are good to the core (all natural, eco-friendly, fairly sourced, and well made) is part of what drove me from the beginning.
I think part of me has always been drawn to the eclectic, to things that are different or that we don’t see a lot. There is something so boring and redundant to me about anything that has become too trendy or normal, so I'm always excited to see someone do something that I hadn't ever thought of, however strange it may be. And at the same time, I am also enchanted by simplicity and am very drawn to minimalism, so I think what I really love the most is the fine line where those two worlds meet.
What is in the works for Pulp Co?
I’ve had so many people ask me to make more of the prints we did this summer, so I am hoping to do that at some point, but we also have a pretty full Fall/Winter collection lined up. We have a few new prints along with some returning prints and some new solid colors that I love. I took on a few collaborations with other artists as well, so there are some hand printed bandanas and hand knit wool socks coming this Fall as well.
What are your future goals for the company?
I’m definitely looking to have a greater variety of products, especially bags. I have a strange fascination with bags and have been making them since I was a little kid. I mentioned that I didn’t intend for Pulp Co to be a hat company, and part of me still wants to get away from that. I love all textiles, especially wearable, but I don’t see Pulp Co being just a hat company for much longer. At the moment that just seems to be what everyone wants! I’d also like to bring more people on board. I’ve gotten to the point where I really can’t manage everything by myself anymore.
Who works for pulp.co? Is it just you hand making all of the hats?
Aside from receiving a ton of help from my family and friends, I am still primarily running Pulp Co by myself. Over the past year I’ve had some close friends help occasionally with some of the sewing and fabric dyeing, and even employed my sister to help me for a short time, but for the most part it has been just me. I design everything, print the fabric by hand, cut, sew, package, ship, manage our website, and email customers directly. Slowly over the past year this has all become a bit too much, so I’m currently working on where to go next and beginning to outsource some of the work.
What music are you listening to these days?
My most recent faves have been Bon Iver, Lucius and The Japanese House, but I love music and I have so, so many favorite artists. I also listen to a lot of James Taylor, so there’s that too.
Favorite way to spend a non-working day?
Sunday is our non-working day! My husband and I both run our own businesses, which means working a lot to keep them going, but we always try to take Sunday to be together. We usually like to be outdoors. Hiking, swimming in the ocean, going for boat rides or motorcycle rides, or we often spend the day working on a project or building something together.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I don’t share a lot of personal information on social media, so I’m not sure if people know much about me at all, but we are expecting our second child this December!
Tell us how you really feel about orange juice …
Love it. With ALL of the pulp.
Looking to get your hands on one of these fun and eclectic hats? We have some available in our shop here.