From Intern to Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship comes naturally to some. Tanner Green, 18, is one of those individuals. A former Startup Junkie intern and an entrepreneur at heart since before he could get a driver's license, Green is diving headfirst into his latest venture: PigPin. He took the time out of his busy schedule to shed some light on the new project, the impact Startup Junkie has had on his journey and what lies ahead.  

Did interning for Startup Junkie inspire you to pursue your own venture or were you an entrepreneur before? 

At the ripe age of 14, I attended the Startup Junkie/ Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce Teen Entrepreneurship Bootcamp. It was at this camp where I truly got my first taste for venture creation, and my proclivity for creativity and innovation was greatly exercised. Working with Startup Junkie, the experiences at the camp brought my vision great clarity. Hearing the stories of other local entrepreneurs and their successes heightened my personal and professional aspirations. My newly embedded aspirations had me continually surrounding myself with like-minded, goal-oriented individuals, and truly working every day to become the best version of myself. Needless to say, my desire to be an entrepreneur has always been inside of me. However, Startup Junkie’s mission and impact nurtured my career goals even greater than I could have imagined. 

What impact did the internship have on you as a person, student and entrepreneur? 

As an individual, the internship at Startup Junkie elevated my confidence in almost every single way. I woke up every day grateful to be in the position while feeling just as appreciated for my work and contributions. The level of appreciation, cooperation, and culture gave me a real sense of what real-world leaders look like daily.

As a student, I found myself learning to balance work and play more than ever. The team at Startup Junkie was quick to offer advice and direction whenever I needed. Whether it was letting me leave early for math tutoring, or reminding me the value of a college degree, it was the “You Can Do It” attitude that left me motivated every time I walked out the door. 

As an entrepreneur, working at Startup Junkie was like living in the "entrepreneur's paradise." The crossroads of creativity, innovation, and community involvement reminded me that I was once a 14-year-old who truly felt the effects of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that Startup Junkie exists to create. 

What is PigPin? 

PigPin is an online, subscription-based platform that delivers enamel pins and other forms of wearable art to a consumer’s door every single month. PigPin exists to give enamel pin collectors and traders a platform to build a collection. In utilizing our monthly subscription service; PigPin makes pin collecting faster, more affordable, and more consistent than ever before. On top of that, PigPin is the perfect gift and monthly surprise for a good friend or family member. And if one doesn’t feel like committing to a subscription — we have an online store of beautiful, in-stock enamel pins available now. 

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What inspired PigPin?

PigPin is a division of Hogeye, Inc., which is a leading promotional product supplier for corporate retail companies across the country. At the beginning of 2019, in an attempt to expand into new markets, Hogeye made plans to create another division. Cliff Slinkard, the Founder of Hogeye, Inc., brought me on alongside Nick and Savannah Slinkard to establish this direction. PigPin is the brainchild of our founding team. We noticed a hole in the market regarding the lack of accessibility for individuals to start from scratch and build a pin collection. 

How did you turn this idea into a reality? 

As a division of Hogeye, Inc., we were handed the infrastructure to create something spectacular. In the last five months, we have worked toward perfecting the subscription box model and creating our own lane in the wearable art community. We had daily goals, weekly goals, and monthly goals that were all on a tight deadline so that we could launch at the beginning of June. Discipline, teamwork, and setting goals — that’s how you turn a vision into reality. 

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What is your vision for the company? Next year? Five years from now? 

My vision for PigPin is to become a common name in the pin collecting community and a platform that is regularly used by thousands. In the next year, I'd love to see if we can organically grow our following and subscribers one at a time and seriously establish ourselves in the wearable art market. And In the next five years, I believe we can join the ranks of other well-known and common subscription box names.  

What have you learned since launching the company? 

The importance of clear communication and understanding your strengths and weaknesses is crucial. While working with a team— everyone has their own vision for how the brand should look. One of the most important skills I have learned is the ability to properly communicate and share my ideas with others so that I am clearly understood. At face value, the ability to communicate well is a given. However, it is a skill that develops over time, and can only improve when mistakes are made, and everyone takes steps toward improving. 

What’s next?

PigPin is the first project that I have been involved in, and it will always have a special place in my heart. We have a wonderful team, and I have learned so much from everyone that is a part of it. I hope this is the first of many ventures I'll be a part of. And I can only hope that as I gain more experience, the businesses will become more impactful. Every day, I remind myself that this is just the beginning. At 18, I hope to inspire a few people, but through a lifetime of entrepreneurship, I dream the influence is limitless and can outlive me. 

Articles, including startup spotlights, are available to republish by media outlets with permission from Startup Junkie. For permission to use an article posted to this blog, please email caleb@startupjunkie.org.