I consider myself extremely fortunate in that I absolutely love what I do and I love where I am in my life. I really am appreciative of that.
We couldn’t make it through the 100 days without featuring the Queen of Design Entrepreneurship: Tina Roth Eisenberg. So, we gladly dedicate Day 94 to the hustler herself, Swiss-Miss. Curator of Swiss-Miss.com, founder of Studiomates and CreativeMornings, and recent temporary tattoo entrepreneur, Tina never ceases to amaze with her optimistic ventures. We wanted to capture Tina’s spirit, so we returned to a talk she gave in November of 2011 at the Future of Web Design conference. The talk, titled, “The Power of Side Projects and Eccentric Aunts,” is organized around eight principles she hopes to teach her two children.
Tina believes it’s super important to love what you do. She said, “I consider myself extremely fortunate in that I absolutely love what I do and I love where I am in my life. I really am appreciative of that.” Tina recommends that you surround yourself with likeminded people. That’s exactly what she did when she rented a studio in Dumbo, and turned it into a collaborative workspace. Tina said, “I created my ideal workplace. I had this vision that I wanted to work in a place that was extremely collaborative, friendly, supportive, and that has an entrepreneurial spirit. I rented a space and created what is today Studiomates.” Studiomates has become a creative hub for designers, illustrators, bloggers, writers, and developers to have fun and work hard together.
TeuxDeux, another of Tina’s side-projects turned small-business, is a collaboration between herself and Cameron Koczon. Tina is an avid to-do list maker and she had a list system she loved, but it was still a pen and paper version. Cameron inspired her to take it to the web, and like many great personal projects that become a reality, they didn’t waste time talking about it, they just got to work. Tina designed it in a morning and Cameron took a weekend to develop it. Tina blogged about it on Swiss-Miss the next morning, and an hour later Fast Company named it the most beautiful to-do application of 2009.
At the time of her lecture, just two years after its launch, TeuxDeux had over 200,000 users. Tina said, “You have to make time for side projects. You can’t just design a coaster over six months, make time for it, and treat side-projects like a real client project.”
Tina wanted to change design conferences. While she finds them valuable, she thought the real point of the conferences—the human connections—were lacking. So, she set about to change that and started CreativeMornings. She said, “The problem is conferences are expensive, time consuming, and they are kind of exclusive, and not very accessible. So I had this vision that we could create an event in the morning that is very localized and taps into the local community.” CreativeMornings started as a small breakfast meetup in NYC and now has more than 22 chapters across the world.
Tina’s fourth principle is, “Don’t Be A Complainer: Make Things Better Or Let Them Go.” We love this idea, and love even more her explanation about how she put this principle into practice. When she found herself complaining about the terrible clip-art temporary tattoos that her daughter loved, she knew she had to do something about it. She said, “I ran to my computer, emailed my friends Chris Glass, Jessica Hische, and Julia Rothman, asked them if they would design cool temporary tattoos, and Tattly was born.” Tattly is a wonderful example of a silly idea for a side project that has now become a successful business.
Between swiss-miss.com, the communities that Tina has built with CreativeMornings and Studiomates, and the fun she brings to the design community with Tattly, you wouldn’t think that Tina is also the mother of two, and a staple in the Brooklyn design community. She is truly a role model for design entrepreneurs everywhere.
To quote Mimi O Chun from Day 59, “What defines the entrepreneur is his or her ability to recognize a problem, a need, or an opportunity in the world and have the conviction to want to solve it.” Tina fits that definition to a “T.”