From Pin to profit: Inspiring small businesses that got their start on Pinterest

Coffee mug with Hustle printed on the side
Dean and Jeska Hearne, Co-founders
The Future Kept
We used Pinterest from the beginning. For us, it was the perfect platform to build inspiration for our future company. We found it super simple and very intuitive. We are both photographers, adventure-seekers and very visual people. Pinterest captivated us. We enjoy using personally, but as a business as well.
Chris and Cyndi Hileman | The Growing Candle

In good company: More and more people are interested in making candles for profit: searches on “candle making business” are up 34% year over year YoY.

In a growing market: More Pinners want to incorporate candles as part of their home look, with searches on candle decorations increasing 73% YoY.

After moving to Ohio from Florida, Cyndi Hileman looked for ways to survive a harsh winter in her new state. Turning to Pinterest, she discovered the Danish concept of “hygge” and the power of candles to create a warm and cozy atmosphere.

At the same time, she discovered seed paper—paper infused with wildflower and other plant seeds—and decided to combine both to add a sustainability angle by giving her candle containers a second life as plant pots. The Growing Candle was born, and her husband Chris quit his job to help her jump-start the business. “We also applied a lot of the things we learned on Pinterest to become a zero-waste company.” 

  45M Pinners are actively engaging with home content on Pinterest2 and 54% of weekly home Pinners use Pinterest to discover home products on their path to purchase.3

Co-founders

"When we moved to Ohio, my first search on Pinterest was: How to be happy during winter? A bunch of ‘hygge’ stuff popped up. That’s the first time I had ever heard of hygge. Candles are a big part of it. That’s when the business idea came up."

Mitzi Dulan | simplyFUEL

In good company: Many people are successfully turning creative ideas or passion projects into profitable side hustles at home: searches for this type of business are up 690% YoY (P100 trend).

In a growing market: People are looking for effortless healthy snacks, with “no bake energy balls” up 270% YoY. Searches on “health and nutrition” are up 617% YoY.

After posting a protein ball recipe on Pinterest that went viral, registered dietitian Mitzi Dulan had the idea to serve them to The Kansas City Royals. It’s not so farfetched—she was the team sports nutritionist at the time. Mitzi created the recipe to have an ideal ratio of protein, carbs and healthy fats for sustained energy with a satisfying and delicious taste. The snacks became an instant hit with the team, which sparked Mitzi’s business idea for simplyFUEL. Many colleges and pro teams now buy her protein balls; they are also available at different Pressed Juicery locations across the United States and online.

  70M Pinners are actively engaging with food and beverage content on Pinterest4 and 93% of weekly food and beverage Pinners use Pinterest to discover food and beverage products in their path to purchase.5

Mitzi with her fuel balls

“If it weren't for Pinterest, I probably would have never shared my recipe with the world and known that it was popular. What Pinterest showed me was that the proof of concept was very, very solid.”

Erin Pelicano | Erin Pelicano Fine Jewelry

In good company: This business idea is gaining popularity, with searches for ideas to grow a “jewelry business” increasing 72% YoY.

In a growing market: More Pinners are looking for the finer things in life, with searches on luxury jewelry increasing 91% YoY.

After a career in civil engineering, Erin Pelicano fell in love with jewelry making and started her line at home in 2010. Not long after she started posting her products on Pinterest, one of her Pins became viral and the platform quickly became her biggest source of revenue. “Today, Pinterest drives 45% of my website traffic, 77% of social media traffic and 64% of social media sales."

  35.5M Pinners are actively engaging with fashion content on Pinterest6 and 55% of weekly fashion Pinners use Pinterest to discover fashion products in their path to purchase7

 

Pelicano family

“It all started in May 2013. A popular Pinner saved a Pin of my jewelry, and it changed everything. Our highest performing Pin has since been seen over a million times. I attribute the growth of our business to Pinterest. It was a game-changer for us, and changed the face of our business.”


Pinterest is more popular for inspiration on starting a new business vs. strategy or development with 4x as many searches using “business ideas” than “business plan.”
Noelle Bryant | Oh Happy Play

In good company: People are looking for tips to kickstart their blogs with searches on “starting a blog for beginners,” which are up 28% YoY.

What she's making: Pinners are 45% more likely to be parents of young children than people who aren't on Pinterest.8

Mother of four Noelle Bryant, shared a photo of a makeshift trundle bed on Pinterest a few years ago. The Pin quickly became viral, driving significant traffic to her blog. It was the start of Oh Happy Play and a career as a top baby blogger and influencer—as well as a new, flexible work life that allows her to spend more time with her family. “More than 50% of my page views come from Pinterest every month.”

  Pinterest reaches 53% of household primary shoppers, and 86% of millennials who have a household income of 75K+.64% of weekly household and health Pinners use Pinterest to discover household and health products in their path to purchase.10

Family

“My blog is a business now. It never crossed my mind that I would become a work-at-home mom. It started as a creative outlet and now I have partnerships with brands. Pinterest opened me up to this market of mothers, bringing me views I would not have gotten otherwise. At the beginning, my blog would have only made it to the eyes of my friends and family. My parents go on Google, but my generation goes on Pinterest to find inspiration. It’s our visual search engine.”

Dean and Jeska Hearne | The Future Kept

In good company: We see a growing interest from Pinners to keep their businesses more sustainable, such as searches on “sustainable packaging” increasing 71% YoY, “sustainable logo” increasing 48% YoY and “sustainable materials” increasing 26% YoY. 

In a growing market: Searches on “sustainable lifestyle” are up 196% YoY and searches on “sustainable products” are up 50% YoY.

The Future Kept is a selection of consciously crafted, responsibly sourced, sustainable and ethical products for the home and for living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Husband and wife team Dean and Jeska and Hearne founded the company outside of London. They collaborate with independent designers, makers and artisans who are creating products that are better for the environment. “We used Pinterest from the beginning. For us, it was the perfect platform to build inspiration for our future company. Pinterest is the biggest referrer to our website driving 75% of the traffic every month.”

Co-founders of The Future Kept

“We see a lot of brands using Pinterest simply for promotion. For us, it’s also a platform to find inspiration and tell the broader story of our business and everything we are passionate about and stand for. Pinterest is the only place where we can capture a feeling surrounding our brand.”

Have a story of your own?

We'd love to hear how Pinterest has helped you grow your business, no matter what you do or where you are.

Notes

*Unless otherwise denoted, all percent increases throughout this post are calculated using normalized searches from May '18 to May '19.

1Source: GlobalWebIndex, US, SMB-Decision Makers on Pinterest, Jan 2019
2Pinterest Ads Manager, US, Nov 2018
3GfK, US, Pinterest Path to Purchase Study among Weekly Pinners who use Pinterest in the Category, Nov 2018
4Pinterest Ads Manager, US, Oct 2018
5GfK, US, Pinterest Path to Purchase Study among Weekly Pinners who use Pinterest in the Category, Nov 2018
6Pinterest Ads Manager, US, Nov 2018
7GfK, US, Pinterest Path to Purchase Study among Weekly Pinners who use Pinterest in the Category, Nov 2018
8Source: Global Web Index, US, Question: how old are your children?Q3 2018-2019
9comScore, US, June 2018
10GfK, US, Pinterest Path to Purchase Study among Weekly Pinners who use Pinterest in the Category, Nov 2018