Founder of Tattly Reflects on the Struggles and Triumphs of Starting a Business
by Theresa Christine Johnson on 08/10/2017 | 5 Minute Read
As an entrepreneur, you’re in for a lot learning by doing. Turning to other business owners and learning about their experiences, though, can help you on your own journey. In this final part of a 4-part series, Tina Roth Eisenberg, owner of Tattly, looks back on the challenges she’s encountered, mistakes she’s made, and what’s in store for the future of this rad temporary tattoo company.
What was your biggest challenge in founding Tattly?
Tina Roth Eisenberg: Learning to embrace sales and learning the rules of retail. I was adorably naive when I started Tattly.
If you could go back and do anything differently in this process, what would you want to change?
Tina Roth Eisenberg: I wish I would have hired a professional sales team earlier on.
Did you make any big mistakes during the first few years you were in business? If yes, can you share one or two?
Tina Roth Eisenberg: Looking back, I should have worked harder in building a personal connection with our main vendors right from the start. About a year in, one of them tried to backstab us. I immediately booked a flight and went to visit the team. I toured their facilities and we ended our visit with a warm hug. Everything has been so much better since. Nothing beats face-to-face connection. Business relationships are no different than regular relationships.
How do you keep Tattly’s aesthetic and look consistent, even when offering a wide variety of designs from many artists?
Tina Roth Eisenberg: I would say it comes down to working with professional artists. We have over 100 artists at this point, with a wide variety of styles, but what connects them is the mastery of their craft, the high-quality of their work.
What is your main advice to other entrepreneurs who would like to start their own company?
Tina Roth Eisenberg: Make sure the main purpose of your business is something you truly care about. This way, you will keep going even when insurmountable hurdles seem to present themselves.
Also, hire kind, capable, self-reliant people and get out of their way. Trust them and let them do their work. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing people grow in their roles. I had no idea what I was doing, starting a retail company, nor did the folks I hired in the beginning, but together we figured it out, step by step. We run the company together.
And, keep it light. Make sure to sprinkle some fun into the every day. Starting a business is stressful. A good laugh helps and if one thing has proven to be true since I started Tattly it’s the theory that the best ideas happen while having fun. We try to sprinkle the possibility of a smile into everything we do. That’s why we have a drawer filled with confetti, a prop box with viking hats and other silly props, disco lights and so on.
What’s in store for the future of Tattly?
Tina Roth Eisenberg: We are working on some really big artist collaborations which I am very excited about, but unfortunately can’t mention yet.
But most of all, we are just focusing on continuing to grow Tattly in a steady way. I ultimately want to become the Bandaid of temporary tattoos. I want kids to use the word “Tattly” when they mean temporary tattoos. I want to spread the love for good art and design by signing on many more talented artists. While Tattly might not create world peace it does bring smiles, a sense of self-expression and shared moments to the world. We think that’s a good start!
What do you think has contributed to the success of your business?
Tina Roth Eisenberg: I believe that one of the main reasons Tattly was successful so quickly was the fact that I had built up a sizable audience and respect in the design world through my blog. I doubt well-known artists and illustrators would have signed on with me, trusted me with their art if that wouldn’t have been the case.
And, the fact that I started Tattly as a labor of love, a side project, was a factor in the success. I never started it thinking it would grow into a sizable company. When you start projects with a side project mentality, you make decisions faster, everything is more nimble. I was just playing, kept it fun and light, and the world senses that. I believe, more than ever, people sense the joy, pureness and authenticity in such projects. I want to make products I love for people who love them. Tattly does that!