PSFK Free Radicals

PSFK  Free radicals Tina Roth Eisenberg

PSFK has a lovely profile series called Free Radicals in which they profile ‘courageous creatives whose bold thinking freed them from business as usual”. I am honored that they believe I fall into this category. Managing editor Dory Carr-Harris sat down with me at Studiomates a few weeks and you can read the essence of our conversation in this blog post.

A big thank you goes to Catalina Kulczar who managed to so wonderfully portray Studiomates and Tattly.

Tattly = 1 | Things I’ve Learned

Today’s a big day! Tattly, my designy temporary tattoo business, is turning one!

In the past year, we’ve shipped to over 90 countries, had over 15k orders, went from 15 designs a year ago to over 225 today, became best friends with Uline and have bought over 60k postal stamps.

I’d like to take this occasion and share a few things I learned along the way:

1. Never hesitate to challenge a status quo

Temporary tattoos have been around forever. I didn’t invent anything new, but, I was able to put a new spin on it by having professional artists create the designs and making sure that they are produced in the US with the highest quality standards. I admit, I never expected the success we’re having, but now, looking back, it actually makes total sense.

Never hesitate to challenge a status quo of a product or service that already exists. Put your own spin on it, stamp it with your personality and you might redefine an entire industry.

2. Don’t outsource things you care about

In preparation of launching Tattly, we looked into fullfilment centers, thinking that’s not something we should handle ourselves.

But we also knew exactly how we wanted the envelopes to look and feel. It was important to us that a customer would get excited from the minute they spot our envelope in their mailbox. We wanted to make sure that they felt as our tattoos were packaged and shipped with a lot of care.

We picked thick kraft envelopes which we decorate with a custom Tattly address stamp, a nicely designed address label and lots and lots of real stamps.

We realize that putting multiple stamps on an envelope is time consuming and we’d be much more efficient printing a digital stamp. But, let’s be honest, that doesn’t look pretty. Yes, we go the extra mile and it pays off!

Every day we have lots of folks tweeting images of their Tattly envelopes! Tattly is living proof that people appreciate the extra care that goes in. And I don’t think a fully automated fulfillment center would be able to replicate the same feel.

But, of course, on the same token, there are things that I was more than happy to outsource because they are simply not of our expertise. I immediately hired an accountant to make sure sales tax and all that jazz is professionally taken care of and not keeping me up at night. And we made sure we were using a e-commerce platform that helps us run our shop smoothly, in our case, we chose to go with Shopify. And, of course, I got business insurance, right form the start.

3. Don’t be shy. Ask for advice.

Two days after we launched Tattly we got a wholesale catalog inquiry from a very prestigious museum store. It didn’t occur to me that stores might actually reach out to me to sell Tattly. (duh!)

I started reaching to friends that have gone through a smimilar e-commerce experience and asked for advice.

I am incredibly grateful for conversations I had with Raul Gutierrez who helped launch 20×200 and Jim Coudal, force behind Field Notes.

They both were extremely generous in sharing insights, things they’ve learned starting their businesses.

People are open to share and help you get started. Just ask!

4. Grow a thick skin + hustle

My advice to anyone launching a product or service, that is welcomed with a lot of enthusiasm; get ready for copy cats. We have come across a few stores that are trying to copy our idea, one by one. Our response? Hustle! We are and will stay ahead of them.

5. Prepare for success

I admit, I wasn’t prepared for the success. Luckily I was able to scale up very quickly and keep up with demand, which probably comes with the nature of the temporary tattoo business. This might not have been possible if I sold something with a much longer product cycle.

So, ask yourself, what if I get a ton of orders within the first few weeks? Can my business scale? Do I have a plan on how I will do that? Am I building my business on a system that will allow me to grow?

6. Being nice is the only option

This rule applies to every aspect of your business. Employees, vendors, wholesalers and of course, customer support. Be kind, generous and show that you care. You’re just starting out, so you’ll make mistakes. But when you’re kind and generous they’ll forgive you and come back.

7. Your team is everything

This past year, would not have been possible without my truly *amazing* team (pictured below). They are young. They are smart. They are fun and most of all, they are not afraid to work hard. Please meet team Tattly:

From left to right: Mary, Rusty, Julia, Yoko, Bekka, (moi) and Jen.

To celebrate our 1 year birthday, all Tattlys are 50% off from today until end of day sunday. (Our first sale ever!) Just use the discount code “1YEAROLD” during check out.

And, to celebrate we are offering an Everything Pack with 242 designs, a homage to last year’s everything set that held an adorable 15 designs. It comes in a limited edition pouch, with a design by Arianna Orland. There’s only a 100, so grab one before this collector’s item is history!

Happy Tattly Birthday everyone!

Thanks to our fab models Carly, Kevin and Yoko.

new: swissmiss shop

Look, I *just* launched a teeny tiny swissmiss shop. See that that ‘store tab’ up there?

A few months ago I had the idea of launching a store with limited edition products by designers I admire. And here we are. The plan is to keep it small and add a product a month, maybe two. The current products include:

Mobile Homes by Ben Light
Bookbow by Paul Octavious
3D Boy by Oliver Jeffers
Raven by Mark Weaver
FieldNotes Pack by Tattly

Visit the swissmiss shop.

Hope you like the selection! Waving from Brooklyn, with an e-commerce smile on my face!

Swissmiss Studio Apprentice Wanted

Calling all NYC based interneters, I am searching for a great person to help on Swissmiss Studio projects. The day-to-day duties would mostly involve Tattly order liaising (fulfillment). There will also be opportunities to help out with CreativeMornings as well as a super-secret unannounced project.

The number one skill required is pure hustle. We need someone who gets up every morning excited to do stuff, lots of stuff. We also really want to find someone who likes what we are doing with Tattly and CreativeMornings. We don’t want to just hire someone to do work, we want to add a member to our team.

If you are a talented coder, designer, or hula-hooper that is an added bonus. But keep in mind this is not a design job. This is a get your feet wet in the world of the internet kind of job. A great place for anyone who just loves what we do and wants to make the internet a better place.

The job is a full-time gig for 3 months and is paid. Our apprentice will work out of the wonderful Studiomates co-working space here in DUMBO, Brooklyn. The right person will be more interested in the daily happenings here at Studiomates than they will be in the pay. Where else will you be able to eat lunch with a group of folks who have given a TED talk, raised over $100,000 on Kickstarter, organized the most friendly web conference in the universe, been crowned an air guitar champion, and more. P.S., that doesn’t include the world renowned guests that visit us from time to time.

If this sounds like something you’d love to do, please get in touch. We want you to be excited and we want to start this soon! Email us at apprentice@tatt.ly to apply. Start date is September 5th.

Bonus points if you:
Are a beast at Rock Band
Put hashtags within your emails
Own more domains than you do pairs of underwear
Use TeuxDeux like there’s no teuxmorrow
Like writing on walls
Ok with wearing more than 15 temporary tattoos at once

Swissmiss on The Brander

I am incredibly honored to be featured on The Brander, a fine Swiss online journal that features stories about brands and their creators, generated by renowned journalists and photographers. The independent publication is the creation of Zurich’s branding agency Branders and aims to portray big, small und exclusive brands from all over the world.

A big thank you to Roman Elsener for the article, Stefan Falke for the photography and Tessa Pfenninger for the translation.

Here’s the link to my feature: Tina Roth Eisenberg – a modern Swiss Miss

Desks opening up at Studiomates

Big exciting news from Studiomates headquarters: We are expanding. Starting March 1st, we will be renting out 6 more desks. The new space that we will be taking over includes a space that will allow us to host workshops. CreativeEvenings, anyone?

Our space is located in DUMBO, Brooklyn, right on the water. The picture above, with the bridge, that’s our view. For real. So, in case you’re in the market for a desk, here’s what $550 a month would get you:

- desk with drawer unit and chair
- conference room
- bike room
- internet
- laser printer
- kitchen with fridge, coffee maker, water
- a huge Ideapaint wall for brainstorming
- lots of geek talk over lunch with all of us Studiomates
(If you are looking for a space to store a lot of equipment/stuff, studiomates is not for you!)

We are a tight group of designers, developers and copywriters. Check out who we are over on our Studio site.

Do you think you’d be a good fit? Email me and tell us why! Send us a pitch, your url, stuff you’ve made on the web, or anything you think that would convince us to make you a studiomate.

Magic Holiday Elves


I couldn’t believe my eyes when I walked into the studio this morning. Some magic holiday elves came and decorated the studio! I was welcomed by a white christmas tree with red and white decorations. (White crosses on red background everywhere! Wheeee!) I also discovered garlands and custom made stockings (!) for every studiomate.

It didn’t take long to find out who was behind this lovely surprise. The elves are called Skylar, Josh and Aymie, our fellow studiomates. They sent me the photos of the making of and photos of all the individual stockings. I guess it’s pretty easy to guess which one is mine.

(One of our studiomates doesn’t really embrace this whole holiday extravaganza, so the elves hung this christmas ornament over his computer. Made me laugh.)

Skylar, Aymie, Josh, you are amazing. Consider this a big giant thank you hug. You all deserve a medal for your efforts. You have made my holiday season a really good one.

And yes, this has been the BEST monday morning surprise ever!

Studio612A Intern

Studio612A, our collaborative workspace in DUMBO, is seeking a one month studio intern. (Yes, this is an experiment) What does this mean? Hang out with all of us on a daily basis and help us on a variety of projects and tasks. Enjoy our massively awesome view and listen in and participate on our daily geek talk over lunch.

Our collaborative workspace consists of designers, developers, interior designers, copy writers and bloggers. We are:

Cameron Kozcon, FictiveKin
Larry Legend, House of Legend
Rob Weychert
Jennifer Ward, Minor Details
Erica Heinz, Energy7
William Burks Spencer, Spencer Empire
Chris Shiflett, of Analog
swissmiss

Interested? Email us and tell us why you think you’d qualify. Make sure to include a link to your website. (You need to have either designer or coding skills and bring your own laptop.)

But wait, there’s more: Our studiomates across the hall are a superduper perk in this whole thing.

Tube

I am currently researching USB-Stick-Keychains and discovered this swiss product called USB-tube. (I wrote about the iTube a while back). Tube uses pre-used bicycle tubes for their products. (Belts,iPhone Cases, Keychain, USB sticks) Cool idea, no?

What’s your Keychain-USB-stick of choice?

swissmiss on swiss radio

I just listened to a short segment on DRS 2 (swiss radio station) covering swissmiss the blog. In case you speak german, here’s a link to the MP3 or you can listen to it online here. Thank you DRS2 and in particular Christian Gebhard!

swissmiss=5 StudioBooth Photos

Now, that was an explosion of fun! Thank you all for coming out and partying with me last wednesday. The StudioBooth was most certainly the highlight. Click Click Click! Wheeee! You can see all of the StudioBooth Images here.

A big thank you to MailChimp for making the StudioBooth possible.

swissmiss=5 (photos)

My fabulous friend Sara Wasilausky was one of the talented folks shooting the swissmiss=5 evening. She just sent me the link to all the photos Yay! Check them out here.

Thank you Sara!!

swissmiss=5

swissmiss, the blog, is turning 5! This occasion calls for a proper celebration: Good folks, good food and alphorns! We will celebrate in style, at Galapagos, in DUMBO on May 26th, 2010. Make sure to buy your ticket soon, we’re filling up quickly! Get it here!

What to expect? There will be some food to nibble on (an entire wheel of Appenzeller Cheese), a short talk by Tina, a performance by a real alphorn player and a Studio Booth!

And by the way, the *actual* birthday is may 27th!


Can’t attend? Join us virtually! How?

Take a photo of yourself holding up a sign saying either where you’re from, your url, twitter name or any other type of birthday message that you wouldn’t mind displayed on a huge giant screen. The photos in this Flickr group will be rotating on the screen during the event.

Add your image to the group or if you do not have a Flickr Account, email them to me and I’ll add them on your behalf.

Yay Internet!”


The event is generously sponsored by our main sponsor MailChimp, and our co-sponsors GlennzTees and Appenzeller Cheese. The event will be photographed by a team of ImageSource!

Want to join the co-sponsor team? Email me!

Be a virtual guest

Preparation for our upcoming swissmiss-blog-birthday party on may 26th, 2010 are in full swing. Get ready for Alphorns, Cheese and Photo Booth Fun! Did you buy a ticket yet?

Not in NYC? No problem, join us virtually, like the lovely folks on the images above.

Take a photo of yourself holding up a sign saying either where you’re from, your url, twitter name or any other type of birthday message that you wouldn’t mind displayed on a huge giant screen. The photos in this Flickr group will be rotating on the screen during the event. Add your image to the group or if you do not have a Flickr Account, email it to me and I’ll add it on your behalf.

(While I love the collages people have sent in, it’s all about having you be part of the festivities, so please include yourself in a photo…)

a very special visitor

We had a very special visitor at the studio today: The space-suit-loving StarDuck!

(thanks for the smile Florian)

Join our coworking space, rent a desk!

Two of our wonderful studio mates are leaving us. One of them needs more space and the other is moving across the Atlantic! (Booo!) This means, two desks are becoming available, one on june 1st and one on july 1st. If you know anyone that would make a good addition to our awesome collaborative workspace, send them our way.

Who are we (currently) at #612a?

Cameron Kozcon of FictiveKin (my partner in crime on TeuxDeux), Chesley Andrews* of Dossier Studio, Max Ritt of swissmiss studio, Chris Shiflett of Analog, William Spencer Copy Writer Extraordinnaire, Jessica Hische* Type Goddess and Jennifer Ward of Minor Details.

* = studiomates leaving us

We are located in DUMBO, Brooklyn, right on the water. Here, this could be your view: EveryDayEastRiver.Tumblr.com

For a mere $500 a month, you get:
- An approx 6ft long desk
- Did I mention the east river/manhattan view already?
- Wifi
- Water
- Access to a scanner and laser printer
- For all of you coffee addicts, we have an amazing Nespresso Coffee Maker.
- A HUGE Ideapaint wall for brainstorming
- And then, here’s one of our best assets, you get to stream music to our Geneva XL.
- On Friday’s we usually have Beer and Beetles Rockband evenings.
- Lots of geek talk over lunch
- Oh, and let’s not forget our awesome new neighbors, Workshop, which we totally consider an asset as well to have next door!

Interested in renting a desk at @612a? Email me and tell us why you think you’d be a good fit! (We secretly hope for some developers to join us!)

UPDATE: Chesley (dossierstudio) will be moving to Stockholm, Sweden beginning of July. She is hoping to find a similar shared studio space. Know of any? Get in touch with her: http://scr.im/235h (Oh, and she’ll also need an apartment in case you hear of anything!)

swissmiss PSFK Talk

Below is a video of the talk I gave at this year’s PSFK conference. Thank you for having me Piers!

New Blog: HowdyHeidi

I am part of a brandnew blog project called HowdyHeidi. It’s a first collaboration between Switzerland Tourism and myself.

Switzerland Tourism NYC approached me last year with the idea of starting a visual archive and resource for people interested in everything swiss. They came up with the name, HowdyHeidi and I did the branding and site design. Fabulous John Ford did his usual code magic and voila, we are up and running!

Check out HowdyHeidi, a brand new visual archive and resource for everything swiss.

TeuxDeux featured on Mashable

What an honor to have our TeuxDeux To-Do app mentioned on Mashable as one of 18 Online Productivity Tools for Your Business! Yay!

Not familiar with TeuxDeux? It’s a simple, designy, browser-based to-do app that I designed and my studio mates Evan and Cameron of FictiveKin developed. The response has been amazing: We launched about 5 weeks ago and have close to 60k users. (!) And yes, we are working on the iPhone app and are close to releasing a desktop Air app. Sit tight!

Be part of our studio and rent my desk for two months

I am gearing up for my upcoming break with little swissmister (due to arrive in approx 4 weeks) and am planing on renting out my desk for two months. So, if you know anyone that would make a good addition to our awesome collaborative workspace, send them our way.

Who are we at #612a?

Cameron Kozcon of FictiveKin (my partner in crime on TeuxDeux), Chesley Andrews of Dossier Studio, Max Ritt of swissmiss studio, Chris Shiflett of Analog, William Spencer Copy Writer Extraordinnaire, Jessica Hische Type Goddess, Michael Eric Scott and Jennifer Ward of Minor Details.

We are located in DUMBO, Brooklyn, right on the water. Here, this could be your view: EveryDayEastRiver.Tumblr.com

For a mere $500 a month, you get:
- An approx 7ft long desk (which can comfortably seat two if you have someone come in and work with you for a day)
- Did I mention the east river/manhattan view already?
- Wifi
- Water
- Access to a scanner and laser printer
- For all of you coffee addicts, we have an amazing Nespresso Coffee Maker.
- A HUGE Ideapaint wall for brainstorming
- And then, here’s one of our best assets, you get to stream music to our Geneva XL.
- On Friday’s we usually have Beer and Beetles Rockband evenings.
- Lots of geek talk over lunch
- Oh, and let’s not forget our awesome new neighbors, Workshop, which we totally consider an asset as well to have next door!

Please note that there’s an option to potentially extend the length of the desk rental. If we think you’re an awesome addition to our collab then we’ll find some space for you!

Interested in a two month #612a test run starting february 15th? Email me and tell us why you think you’d be a good fit!

swissmiss on swiss tv!

I was featured on swiss tv in the TV show called SF Unterwegs, in a show about NYC.

You can view the segment that was filmed at swissmiss studio here.

Screen shot 2009-12-12 at 8.01.42 AM

You can view the entire show online, right here. (It’s in swiss/german!)

TeuxDeux: A simple, designy, to-do app

teuxdeux

I have been looking forward to this moment: the launch of my simple, designy, free, browser-based to-do application called TeuxDeux.

It all started a few months back, when I got into a conversation with my studiomate Cameron about to-do apps. I have tried pretty much every to do-app
there is but always wanted a different layout or feature set, mostly, LESS *fewer* features. I figured out what works for me (a weekview, with the ability to check things off) but I couldn’t find it anywhere. After I gave Cameron my vision of what ‘my’ perfect to-do app would look like, he simply said: “Well, design it and Evan and I will build it!” And that’s exactly what we did. TeuxDeux is the first collaboration between FictiveKin and swissmiss.

TeuxDeux is designed around my personal work-flow and preference of how I like my to-do’s organized. As I pretty much ‘live’ in the browser, I have it set to be my homepage, so, every time I open a browser window (which is every few minutes) I am being hit over the head with what I need to get done, which has proven to be very effective.

In TeuxDeux, you always see and entire week in front of you and you see what day of the week you’re on. Days in the past are light gray, the actual day is red and days in the future are black. You have the ability of checking items off, which is incredibly satisfying. But, you can also ‘x’ an item off, delete it, if you want to get rid of the clutter. Up to you.

Items that you didn’t take care of ‘today’ will automatically be moved to the next day. Also, you can manually drag items from one day to another time in the future.

Then there’s the “Someday Section”: Sometimes you just need to jolt down an upcoming to-do that doesn’t need to be taken care of in the immediate future. Just get it out of your head by adding it to the someday section. My studiomate and avid TeuxDeux tester Chesley actually figured out a nice little hack in making the Someday section more useful: She labeled the columns within that section for different projects and areas on her life. (personal, work, family, email…)

TeuxDeux is as minimal as it gets, and we like it like that. Give it a spin and let us know what you think. (Use the feedback tab at the bottom for your comments)

And yes, we are working on an iPhone app! Promised! Follow us on twitter.com/teuxdeux to stay in the loop!

Watch our little demo video by Cameron:

TeuxDeux Demo from TeuxDeux on Vimeo.

Look, a sailboat!

view out of swissmiss studio

I love how our studio-mate Chesley Andrews keeps finding fresh ways of documenting the marine world outside our studio. Her latest picture on EveryDayEastRiver made me smile. And yes, our studio view is pretty darn amazing. Lucky us!

Everyday East River

everyday east river

Our lovely studio mate Chesley Andrews started documenting our studio view onto the East River with a tumblr blog called Everyday East River.