“Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a f@*$%load of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters. What matters is saying yes.”
– Dave Eggers
(via Jonathan Fields)
“Poorly written emails are an early warning of intense busy. Yes, I lack the time to proofread an email, but the mail is sent. At least I accomplished something. The step beyond this is when shit is truly falling on the floor, and while shit on the floor is professionally unacceptable, there used to be a point of irrational pride in my head during this situation: Look at me, how important I must be, with all the… busy.”
A Precious Hour by Tanner Christensen
In order to better understand its e-commerce customers, Mailchimp started an online store. The concept is simple: They collaborate with creative people to make fun, unique products for good causes. First they started out with design-y socks, and yesterday they launched 4 pins inspired by some of their favorite Atlanta rappers. The one above gets my vote. My favorite part of this experiment is the newsletters they send out, documenting the challenges of starting an online store. All so familiar! Love what their doing! Also, T (6) and I got to visit Mailchimp HQ yesterday and look what happened!
Today’s a big day! It’s been exactly 5 years since I announced the birth of Tattly. My team made me look back and share 5 things I’ve learned:
It takes a small village to run a physical product company.
When I started Tattly I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Being a User Interface Designer, I knew nothing about selling physical goods. I assumed that at the most I would end up with a company that I could feed with two pizzas, meaning 6 people max. False. We are currently 12 full-timers and 4 part-time helpers. We could easily hire 4 more folks but have to hold out until our sales allow us to. Tattly is an entirely bootstrapped company and every new hire is a milestone. Just like raising kids, it takes a small village to run a company like Tattly.
Trust breeds magic.
From the beginning days of Tattly I hired young, motivated smart folks, that were as excited as I am about developing a physical product company. None of them had any prior experience. But they had some serious HUSTLE. We all learned as we went along. I trusted them with building Tattly, sometimes with things I probably shouldn’t have trusted them with. But that’s ok, because trust is the biggest compliment of all. Over the past few years, this theory of mine has proven successful: Hire young folks that thrive when asked to figure stuff out, that are motivated and self-driven. Then, simply step out of their way. Let them know you trust them and watch them embrace the challenges and watch them over deliver. Trust breeds magic!
You have to embrace inventory tracking. And sales.
When you sell a physical good you need to know how many you have in stock. At all times. Seems trivial? Well, it took me a few years to finally implement a inventory management system (Netsuite). Best thing we’ve ever done. And, then just this year, I finally embraced selling as an art form. Guess what, your product doesn’t sell itself. You have to tell people about it. I had to learn that you can do see in really elegant, tasteful and fun ways.
The extra layer of love gives the product soul.
At Tattly we try to sprinkle a possibility of a smile into everything we do. How? If you subscribe to our newsletter, you might have noticed our love for puns! Ever ordered something online? Then you might have come across the messenger pigeon coordinates on our invoice! Did you ever stumble upon our Error 404 page? You should! Or my favorite: A few years ago, when we launched an invisible Tattly on April Fools day, designed by Mario The Magician. Just thinking about it still makes me laugh! I believe that these little possibilities of a chuckle are what give our brand soul.
Never underestimate the power of confetti.
I firmly believe that every business needs a confetti drawer. When you order on Tattly.com you have the option to add confetti during the check-out process. And sometimes we randomly add some to orders, because we think the customers would appreciate it. But don’t worry, when we do add confetti, we do it respectfully, and include a “CAUTION CONFETTI INSIDE” sticker on the package. Because, you know, messy.
If you have followed my blog for a while, you might know that we have a birthday tradition at Tattly: We celebrate our birthday by giving our customers 50% off. Use discount code TATTLYTURNS5 for 50% off your order, this week only.* This only happens once a year so be sure to place your order before 11:59pm EDT 7/15/2016.
PATIENCE: We lose our temper because we believe that things should be perfect. We’ve grown so good in some areas (putting men on the moon etc.), we’re ever less able to deal with things that still insist on going wrong; like traffic, government, other people… We should grow calmer and more forgiving by getting more realistic about how things actually tend to go.
Ten Virtues for the Modern Age, by Alain de Botton
Loving this series of handpainted found items by Dirty Bandit. Long live puns!
A trio of Danish creative agencies – Morten Kühl Christensen from Kühl & Solvstrom with Nikextension and Barkas – have unveiled the first in a new series of ad teasers in support of Ikea and Hay’s 2017 collaborative collection. Lovely!
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Food Fortunes is a take on Tarot and makes divining the sacred mysteries of “what’s for dinner tonight?” a snap. Simply lay the cards out three at a time and voila—a meal appears, a vision from the spirit realm. Food Fortunes can be played alone or with hungry friends to give apathetic appetites a mystical nudge in the right direction. Made me smile.
Polygraph visually lists every top 5 song from 1958 – 2016. That was quite a trip down memory lane…
“Instead of looking at technologies programmed to enable human beings to better navigate the world I see technologies optimized to help corporations better navigate and manipulate human behavior. That’s not technology’s fault but a question of who and what we’re allowing to build our applications and whether or not we’re willing to look at them from the perspective of human need.”
Staying Human in the Machine Age: An Interview With Douglas Rushkoff, by Andrew O’Keefe