If there was ever a model serial entrepreneur, Tina Roth Eisenberg would be it.
For one, this New York based Swiss designer is the creative mind behind the CreativeMornings talks. And within just eight years, Tina has built up a community of design lovers who flock to her blog swissmiss by the millons.
As if running two businesses and a household with two kids was not enough, Tina has also entered the tatooing business. “What's a designer doing in a tattoo parlor,” you ask? Well, we are talking temporary tattoos, and the company Tina has built by her boot straps is the polar opposite of a tattoo parlor: Tattly.
Tina on Lifestyle
"Are you having a yay day or a rosy day?" We are at the Tattly tradeshow booth at the National Stationery Show here in Manhattan. "A yay day," I respond instinctively, because we are finally meeting face to face with Tina this morning. Before I know it, I am sporting a nifty typography Tattly shouting "YAY"!
Tina explains: "I started Tattly for my kids. But now I am realizing that the grown-ups are way more into temporary tattoos than the kids are." Ironically, it is the parents who would stop by to ask whether Tina has any new designs: "What have you got?" We share a hearty laugh.
In the past three years, Tina's brainchild has grown to a team of 11 employees distributing Tattlies from Brooklyn all over the globe. What makes the business model so unique is that Tattly licenses art from professional designers and illustrators. This way, the collection is never complete as there is always another cute dinosaur or inspirational message waiting to be turned into a temp tattoo.
We wonder out loud: What is it about temporary tatooes that has caught on with people? Tina knows: "It's a way of expressing yourself. It's a way of sharing a moment. And it's a conversation starter. But most of all, Tattlies are playful. People want to have a good laugh."
In short, Tattly is a lifestyle!
Tina on Swissness
Tina's tagline has been "Swiss designer gone New York." Originally from the town of Speicher near Appenzell, Switzerland, Tina made Brooklyn her home many years ago. So we challenge Tina about that tagline: In which moments does her Swiss side come out – if ever?
What is for sure is that Tina loves to improvise and make the best out of any situation. "That's my American side which would likely not be appreciated as much in Switzerland." She subscribes to the notion of flipping it: "No matter what challenge comes at you, you can always flip it on its head and turn it into something positive. The more you do this, the more natural it becomes."
Swiss readers, are you taking note? But even after 25 years of having lived abroad, her Swiss side comes out all the time, too: "I'm combining the best of both worlds!"
It is really in Tina's day-to-day work where that Swiss upbringing comes out most: "Maintaining a Swiss like quality is actually a huge advantage here [in the US]. I feel like for American standards, I do things super thorough - I go all the way. But I always feel like if I was in Switzerland, this would not be considered going all the way."
Tina on Management
When we turn to her experience being a manager, Tina takes a mental journey to her university years in Switzerland. There, she would work in a marketing department during breaks. Her first boss made a lasting impact on Tina in the way she delegated tasks.
Tina emphasizes: "[For an employee,] there is nothing more empowering than when someone completely trusts you. It's about being given just a tad more responsibility than one can handle along with the message 'You got this!' My employees are growing, they are learning, they are awesome."
A valuable leadership lesson is in that statement. But this can do attitude combined with all the inspiration buzzing about New York City could lead to a burn-out, no? How does she pick out the true gems that are worth investing time in?
"Some people catch your interest a little more than others and you cannot explain why. So, just go with your guts. I'm a big gut person, and I feel like this is something this society is losing. Everything is numbers based when some intuition would be more valuable."
Tina on Success
Maybe Tina is able to stem it all because she does not exacly look at all of these businesses as, well, businesses. Tina's mindset is such that CreativeMornings, swissmiss and Tattly are a series of side projects – or at least they were initially: "I started them all as side projects. The reason why side projects are successful is because they are so authentic. They are your passion projects, your labor of love."
Tina is never short of a "yay" moment! As our time with this busy entrepreneur is up, we carry her optimistic vibe into the streets of Manhattan. A world of opportunity is waiting to be unleashed, but it takes Tina's creativity and enthusiasm, as well as her keen interest in other people to actually make things happen.
Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.
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