THE HISTORY OF THE HAIRPINS
The Blue Ribbon Hairpin Flowers holders are a vintage classic made exclusively by Floral Genius. This is their story.
There is so much to love about the Blue Ribbon Hairpin Holders. Beyond their amazing versatility, the story of their inventor, Ida Sinclair, is (literally) one for the history books.
Ida was a floral visionary. She won many blue ribbons in the 1930s with her floral arranging skills and was known as quite the "tinkerer" growing up. An avid gardener, Ida became frustrated with getting her cut flowers to sit properly in the vase, and even after trying glass flower frogs and chicken wire, simply wasn't satisfied.
One evening, Ida returned home from a lecture to find her son pouring some melted scrap metal into an old rusty mold. A light bulb went off. Ida eagerly pulled a few pins from her hair, stuck them into the hot metal, and the first hairpin holder was born.
Ida's prototype received rave reviews at the next garden club meeting and she walked away with 16 orders. Ida's first challenge was that the hairpins she pulled from her bun that fateful day was patented, and couldn't be used to make the flower holders. So, she took matters into her own hands and designed and patented the signature double-crimped pins still used to make the flower holders today.
From Ida's basement, The Blue Ribbon Flower Holder Company continued to grow. During the war, Ida had to shut down the business for three years after having to surrender all of her metal to the government, but she vowed not to give up on her dream. By 1947, the Blue Ribbon Flower Holder Company was alive again and busier than ever. Ida had five full-time women diligently setting and painting hairpins and a shop foreman pouring the metal.
Ida's girls were a driving force behind the Blue Ribbon Flower Holder Company. They did every aspect of the production except for pouring the lead. In this photo, the girls are setting hairpins, a sight that we find familiar because it's exactly how we still make them today.
In 1959, Ida sold the company to Rod Johnson, the son of Dorothy Biddle, where the hairpins were manufactured by the family until 2017. After nearly 60 years, the Biddle family passed the torch to Floral Genius (that's us!). We continue to make the hairpins the exact same way Ida did - setting each and every pin by hand.
Is it the most efficient way? Probably not.
Are we proud to carry on the dream of a noble female entrepreneur? Absolutely.
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