Our goal for our Shop Talk series is to highlight different makers & crafters, incredible small-shops, inspiring entrepreneurs, and motivational individuals or families!
There couldn't be a better time than this as supporting local and small shops during these stressful times will make a MASSIVE, positive impact on makers' personal and family lives.
Today’s Blog Post is all about the fabulous woman behind Tailored Tots! Jenn dives into the topic of unique products, work/life balance, and where she hopes to take her business! Settle in and come meet, Jenn!
Tell us a little bit about how your company started and what makes your brand unique.
I started creating teething toys in the fall of 2017 when I was about 8 months post partum with my first child. Like a lot of moms, I was looking for a product that I could not find – so I decided to make them. I had purchased an assorted pack of silicone beads to create teethers for a play gym frame my husband had made me and when they were done, there were some left over beads. I took those beads and made a couple teethers. I posted my creations and there was interest from other moms who wanted to know if they could buy some, so I ordered more beads, and the rest is history!
I think what makes my brand unique is my belief that creativity comes from the head/heart… and not from Pinterest pictures. I am always trying to make sure what I create is not only safe and practical, but also uniquely my own.
What are some of the challenges in running a small business? What are some of your greatest joys and accomplishments this year?
I always find it a great challenge to represent a brand from every aspect; product creation, customer service, media marketing, brand representation, listing products, packaging and shipping, photography, research and selection, safety, and every little thing in between. There's a lot more to building a brand than meets the eye! Truly it has been an awakening moment for me to realise that sometimes I have to table ideas because I literally cannot duplicate myself.
Joys and accomplishments: I have many things about this business that bring me profound joy but the biggest one is when a customer orders more than one time. It affirms to me that my products are not only visually pleasing but also useful. Also, when a customer sends me photos, tags me in pictures or leaves me a review telling me how much they [their little one] love my products, It truly motivates me to get up and work every day!
I celebrate all accomplishments, big and small but for sure some of my most memorable ones are the unique products I release that become wildly popular. I have been so fortunate as to have several.
Recently I completed an office reno that made my work space function much more efficiently and in that renovation, I added workspace for additional people so I think my short term goal would be to hire help to grow my business.
How do you balance personal life and growing your business?
Not well haha! The amount of ideas in my head FAR surpass what I bring to fruition. There is always going to be a give, but you just have to decide what needs spotlighting and what can be temporarily back burnered. I am learning every day to be better at balancing but the biggest thing for me is just to set time frames of non-work time. When my children come home until they are in bed for the night is off-limits for working despite what is left to do and any other time of the day is at my disposal.
What are some ways you have kept your brand unique and original?
About 3 months into my journey with Tailored Tots, a message came into my inbox from another shop stating that the wooden teether that I was carrying was a copy of an original design they had created. At that point in the business, I did not even realise that was a possibility. I was shocked and saddened by my ignorance to this common occurrence. I could hear the feeling of defeat in her words as she explained to me about this manufacturer slighted reproduction. I told the shop I truly had no idea and that I would not reorder that teether and I kept that word. That fueled the beginning of my exploring the world of original teething designs. Like most shops starting out, I thought anything on Pinterest was fair game but, after some searching, I was made blatantly aware of the copying I was unintentionally doing.
In order to remain unique, I will often source out my own styles of beads or colour directly from manufacturers so that I know that I will not be replicating others creative design.
What is your favorite product that you carry and why? How does it set you apart in the teething industry?
I would say my original Orbite teething ball© because I designed it from scratch using a bead design I created myself so that I could be sure I would not copy anyone. It was a big gamble early on in my business to approach a manufacturer to create (what I call) my pivot bead but being original is very important to me. Thankfully I was very well received and remains one of my top sellers to date.
What is most important to you to represent as a brand?
Above all else; Safety.
Other very important aspects include:
A big part of my brand identity is creating unique items that are not available elsewhere. I am proud to do the utmost to respect my fellow teething shops by refraining from re-creating their works. Not only that, but also to be a cheerleader to their success by complementing the work they created, rather than enviously stealing components of it to benefit myself. It is true that it can be impossible to survey absolutely every single company that makes what you make, however, it is relatively easy to know you’re being copied just by observing shops traits. It is truly disheartening to come across your ideas on another’s page and I am sure anyone who has stumbled across their plagiarized work can attest to that!
What are you most proud of as a company?
Striving to set myself apart despite all the beautiful designs on the market. I like to create unique products and I have been fortunate to have met and created a circle of incredibly supportive “competing” shops. We all respect one another’s work, cheer each other on in success and lend an ear to woes that we encounter through business.
What are some strategies you have implemented to keep your brand fresh and inspiring for others?
Keeping my communication honest and open about the idea that success can often come from a multitude of “failures”. Trust the process, stay true to yourself and keep going. Growth is not achieved overnight. It can be messy getting there but hard work and consistency can yield beautiful results.
Can you share some of your dreams for the future of your business?
To grow my brand to be known as a reputable household baby product. As a passionate creator, I would also love to someday provide education to start up teething companies to ensure they are familiar with the importance of safety and proper compliance within this space.
Jenn - Owner of Tailored Tots