These two Mumbai teenagers have designed a set of accessories with socially-relevant messages for kids and teens

ThePinCode is the brainchild of Mehek Doshi and Vedika Shah, students from Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Mumbai. It offers sticker-based unisex accessories for children and teenagers.
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The idea for ThePinCode, a startup founded by Mumbai-based teenagers, Mehek Doshi and Vedika Shah, students of Dhirubhai Ambani International School, was inspired by a tiny button.

“The thought of how a single button could hold up an entire shirt showed us how even those things we think trivial can make a major difference,” says Mehek.

This thought formed the idea for the young entrepreneurs to use small pins with designs that have meaningful messages for customers. This formed the genesis for their startup, ThePinCode.

“Trends influence today’s generation to the extent of even changing the way they perceive things. We wanted to use our products as a trend to not only reach out to customers, but also to increase their awareness on certain topics in a positive light,” says Vedika.

The change in mindsets can start with something as simple as a button!

ThePinCode sells sticker-based unisex accessories for young children and teens. At present, they specialise in making lapel pins and small keychains. These accessories can be worn on any item, like clothing, etc. One package includes four magnetic pins and one chain. Along with this, they also provide a range of designs, which advocate for change and just for fun to help customers engage their personality with their style. The ready-made stickers must be applied on the pins based by the customers themselves as per their liking and can be removed and replaced easily.

Mehik explains, “The name ThePinCode comes from an incredibly special phrase, “the girl code and bro code,” terms used by teenagers to keep a sense of security with their peers or more accurately their friends. In the same manner as a business, ThePinCode strives to ensure that customers not only look great but feel comfortable and secure expressing themselves through the products and their style.”

Socially responsible

The teenagers would like to think that their company is fashionable and socially responsible. Not only are they building a business, but also a better community as they spread awareness through their pins on various social issues. Also, part of the funds is donated to support a noble cause.

“Primarily, the product was supposed to be an accessory that looks great. However, we wanted to add something to the products to differentiate them from any regular accessory. Thus, the idea to use the designs on the stickers to send a message about awareness on social issues such as stopping rape, casteism, racism, or advocating for gender equality and LGBTQ rights was born,” says Vedika.

She adds that this also evolved into generating positive messages about self-love and self-care.

ThePinCode sells one package of 5 pins and 1 set of stickers for Rs 500, inclusive of delivery, which is an affordable range. Even though their customisation is limited to ready-made designs, the stickers can be changed according to the customer's choice, which makes the product reusable. The company offers over 50 designs, which provides the customer with a wide range of options to choose from. Additionally, these pins are simple to use and can be attached to items very easily.

ThePinCode primarily targets children and young adults ranging from the ages 5 years to 19 years. Their addressable customers are over 12 million people in parts of urban India. However, they do expect to expand their business globally in the future.

Since their launch in mid-March, ThePincode has sold more than 100 units through word-of-mouth and their Instagram page, thepincode_ gaining them a revenue of Rs 54,000. Another plus point, the founders say is that the product could address a large market, even though the target audience is a younger demographic. Realistically, the products can be worn by anyone as the designs are versatile enough to appeal to all age groups.

As members of The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), Mehek and Vedika received mentorship and training during the launch of the business. They also received seed funding from YEA and are now excited to represent YEA! India at the YEA! USA global competition in June.

The main challenge the youngsters faced was to make a perfect new product incorporating great quality and design. With extensive research, help from their families, and support from the YEA team, they were able to overcome this difficulty.

“In the future, we want to work with larger brands or businesses. We would like to collaborate with social media influencers to carry out effective marketing, make merchandise, and reach a new audience. As part of our social impact, we are also looking forward to tying up with charities and schools. We are also ready to move onto new accessories,” says Mehek.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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