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.