Hillary Clinton made history Tuesday, when the former secretary of state became the first female presidential nominee of a major party. But the votes and party-rousing speeches are only part of the fun of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week. The city is also teeming with promo products, with slogans like “Hill yes!” “Love Trumps Hate,” and even “Hipsters for Hillary.” Buttons, whether handmade or mass-produced, were particularly prevalent throughout the City of Brotherly Love.
“Buttonista” Delia Paine of Bend, OR, set up a table outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center to sell her handmade pins, featuring black lettering over colorful, whimsical patterns. She’s been selling her creations at conventions since Denver in 2008, when she strapped a children’s bucket to her chest and filled it with custom political buttons. “I was mobbed,” she recalled. “I continually sold out. They picked the buttons off my hat.” Paine had to give her family a long-distance tutorial in her button-making method and have them overnight fresh batches of her pins to keep up with demand. She came to Philadelphia prepared, with around 4,700 buttons bearing an array of slogans and designs. Business has been brisk so far, she said. One of her most consistent sellers is a pin with the catchphrase: “Make America Kind Again.” Said Paine, “It’s cutting Trump, but it’s not hostile.”
Philadelphia native Lexi Eveleth, owner of custom-engraving business Ever Laser, was selling her laser-engraved wooden buttons outside the convention center. In elegant script were slogans like “Feel the Bern” and “I’m With Hill.” She also had a version of Hillary’s red-and-blue logo, the familiar H crossed with an arrow, cut from wood. “We figured this is a good excuse to get involved and check out the scenery,” Eveleth noted.
Inside the convention center, plenty of special interest groups had set up shop to sway delegates, offering an array of swag to help their causes. The Working Families Party gave convention attendees the chance to see how the sausage was made – creating buttons with slogans like “Tax the Rich” on demand for anyone willing to sign up for their email list. “We like to pride ourselves that all of our buttons are hand-crafted, artisanal, Brooklyn hipster-made buttons,” joked Reuben Hayslett, the man behind the button-making machines.
Delegates were quick to snap up the many pins available, both the freebies and those with a price tag. Twenty-year-old Caitlin Glidewell was well on her way to reaching her goal of covering her messenger bag with political buttons. In addition, the Colorado native was sporting Bernie earrings, silicon bands for various causes, a temporary tattoo of an equal sign for marriage equality on her neck and one of her homemade hair flowers with the slogan, “Women for Bernie.”
See a few Instagram videos from the DNC, below.