The Tin Shingle Blog
The Tin Shingle website will be offline this evening starting at 6pm EST, and is scheduled to be back online by Saturday May 18, 2013. Access to member Account Centers will be offline, as well as our free articles and downloadable classes. We suggest you take the night off and enjoy an early summer cocktail!
Sometimes we feel like scientists as we create resources for small business to help them get the word out about their business. Today, we feel like Jane Blankenship Gibson, a scientist in the 1960s (even though our team is men and women).
Celebrities: whether they be from the big or small screen, the world of sports, musicians, dancers, models, big name bloggers or (yikes) reality stars, they aren't just pretty faces. No, these days celebrities can be brandmakers, propelling businesses big and small into the national spotlight with the mere mention of their name (or being spotted with their product).
Like it or not, we all know that highly visible influencers can lead to press, increased sales, retail opportunities, and social media buzz, but not everyone knows how to turn those potential opportunities into a reality. Until now!
At Tin Shingle one of our main missions and passions is helping entrepreneurs and small business owners of all kinds get the word out about their businesses and helping them get to celebrities is part of the deal! That's why we called on the founders of Haute House PR, Jordan Landes-Brenman and Kelly Kepner (PR celebrities in their own right) to compile a list packed with the Do's and Don'ts of working with celebrities. Well, the ladies did more than deliver, they made two lists filled with inside scoop on creating and growing relationships with celebrities that is so big we've broken it into two articles that every business owner should read, print out and hang over their desk!
Top 10 Do's - How to Get Your Products on Celebrities
- Top 10 Don'ts - How to Get Your Product on Celebrities
Don't waste another second wondering why some companies have celebrities singing their praises and yours doesn't, head right on over to Jordan and Kelly's tips and find out what you should (and shouldn't) be doing to make it happen for you!
Have you ever held onto a lipstick that is so empty you're literally scraping the bottom and sides of the tube to get your hands (or lips) onto its final pieces, because it's been discontinued and it was your go-to shade? Have you ever spent time mixing together colors trying to create a shade that you cannot find anywhere but just must have? What about going from make-up counter to make-up counter hunting for the perfect shade of blush or eyeshadow that exists only in your mind?
Me too. That's why when I found out about Tin Shingle members Three Custom Color years ago all I kept thinking was "where have you been all my make-up wearing life?!" The team, which I now refer to lovingly as the Mad Scientists of Make-Up, are known for fabulous make-up in general, but my favorite thing about this small business is that they can create (or re-create) any shade you dream up! Want a customized blush for your wedding? Done! Does your mom yearn for a lipstick that was discontinued the year you were born? No problem! Their team will actually custom blend any color eye, lip or cheek color you want in their cosmetics laboratory in New York City and have it to you in a few weeks! They also keep the "recipe" on file for you so if you want to re-order they're ready to go.
Beyond this awesome make-up customization service the team also offers beautiful shades in general, so if you're looking for a new go-to beauty brand to check out add them to your list. Beyond lip, cheek, brows and eye products sold individually they also have great collections including some for mom and some for the bride-to-be, all of which you can find in their online shop.
Though they're now headquartered off 5th Avenue in New York, they, like many small businesses, began in the apartment of co-founders Scott and Chad. What was once a company that sold about 25 mail-order lip shades has grown to a brick and mortar store selling over 250 products and their Custom Blending archives now contain over 9,000 discontinued shades of color cosmetics dating back to the 1930’s! BAM! If that's not a Small Biz Style success story I don't know what is!
You can find out more about all that Three Custom Color Specialists offers (and custom blend your own make-up shade while you're at it) via their website. Then hop on over to Twitter and Facebook and connect with them there as well!
If busy entrepreneur Nadia Murdock (publicist, fitness pro, author) can find time to squeeze in a work out, so can you! Read her tips below and do check out the great links she provided to make fitting in fitness easier than ever!
With all the pressures that come from everyday entrepreneurial life it is essential to maintain both your physical and mental health. With this being said squeezing in time for a workout is one of the best ways to keep you from losing your marbles not to mention maintaining your health and your waistline.
Here are a few suggested workouts and tips that will make it easier for you to make time to work up a sweat while dealing with your demanding small business work schedule.
Many gyms and workout studios are realizing the importance of offering Express Fitness classes mid-day. These classes are typically scheduled during lunch, anywhere between 12PM and 2PM. Ranging from yoga to spin you can get a quick mid-day burn.
Make it Enjoyable
For some a workout is not something to look forward to, however if the class is enjoyable that increases the chances of staying committed. Dance classes like Zumba, Bollywood and Hip-Hop can help you express your inner diva and just let loose.
Building a decent at home workout library is a great way to make sure it gets done. Try working out as soon as you get home, once your rear hits the couch you are less likely to get back up again. A few great at home workouts are Jillian Michaels, Bob Harper, Quick Fix Series and 10 Minute Solution.
Editor's Note: Find more tips and fitness scoop from Nadia Murdock via her Fitness Examiner posts!
For our small business members: the Media Contacts and Editorial Lists are ready for you to research! You may have already started poking around and using them, so here are a few tips on how to best use them:
- Search by Magazine: At the top of the lists, you'll see a drop down menu bar called "Media Outlet". Pick this for if you want to search by magazine.
- Search by Subject: If you are looking for editors who specialize in "golf", for instance, you can use the drop down menu bar called "Category", and select a subject. You'll get a list of editors at different magazines.
- Search by Magazine AND Subject: The combo. You can use both drop down menus at the same time to see who at Vogue specializes in "Beauty". This does produce a more limited set of results. If you get no results, it just means that no one at that magazine claims to specialize in that subject. This may or may not be true, so search by magazine if you want to find a reason to pitch that magazine.
- Start Over: To start over with a clean search, just select the <Any> choice from that drop down menu. Or, just select a new Outlet or Category and click Apply.
The Editorial Calendars work much the same way. Be creative as you read through these to see how your brand might fit into their editorial line-up! And then go for the pitch.
PS: Want in on these? Go unlock this benefit and lots more all in one swoop with a Membership with Tin Shingle. Click here for details.
One of the best parts about when a small business joins Tin Shingle is that we dive in and learn more about them. We sleuth around on the web to check out their website, Twitter, etc. And when that new member follows one of our social networks, we'll get an email from Pinterest, for example, saying that "so-and-so just started following you." And then we'll learn about some bright, beautiful place on the web, like SolEscape's colorful Pinterest collection about beaches, sun hats, beach bags, and all things vacay.
Which got me to thinking: Do members realize they can put a link to their newest social outlet, or newest digital anything on their personal and business member profiles here at Tin Shingle? When customers and clients are browsing Tin Shingle for the best in small business, they visit the profile pages of our members, which we have tricked out to quickly showcase where and how their brand is represented online.
Here's where you can find it in your Member Account Center:
1.) Click on the PROFILE (add/edit) link in the right side column. These are shortcut links to tools available in your member account.
2.) Fill in the link. Once you're in your personal profile area, scroll down a bit and you'll see a list of text fields. The left column is for the title of your link, and the right field is for the URL of your link. By title I mean what you want to call it. So for your Pinterest account, you'd type in "Pinterest" in the left column, and then paste the URL in the right column. Yes, the sky is the limit as to how many and cleverly named links you add here (well, no spammy links of course...we do monitor to make sure nothing bogus is going on).
It will look like this once you've filled it in. This is a screenshot of my link list:
3.) Click Save and you're done!
That was easy! The profile pages are designed to be your entrepreneurial portfolio. You can also do this for your business ventures, and we know that some of you have more than one business or project that you are promoting. If so, create a unique company profile for those, and create your link list there! It makes it so easy to find where you are everywhere!
PS: Do you want in on what we're talking about? Go check out all of the perks you get with a membership with Tin Shingle, and then activate it for instant access. :)
Let’s talk about cheese. Seriously, this post is all about cheese, and not just any cheese: pimento cheese. If you were like the Sabina of one year ago you’d be all “What the heck is pimento cheese and why should I care?” I hear you. In fact I shouldn’t even be writing about - or eating - cheese as I’m on my Get it Right Get it Tight Wedding Work-Out Plan. That said, there are some things that force you to break the rules. Palmetto Cheese, the fastest growing pimento cheese company in the country is one of them. I mean, a cheese company that is a small business and still beats out famous national brands in online likability contests and polls should sway you, and the numbers (and social media fans) don’t lie. But don’t let that be your only reference. Let the happy face of my fiancé, “A” (pictured here in this post), and the fact that Palmetto Cheese is currently one of my only cheat foods, along with my words below close the deal.
As a mid-westerner, pimento cheese was simply not part of my vocabulary and definitely not part of my snacking repertoire until the folks at Palmetto Cheese sent an assortment of their goods to a Tin Shingle holiday party. I decided to humor one of our southern team members who was raving about it (and knew of the South’s "pimento cheese legacy" if you will) and took a bite of it on a cracker. Let me just tell you that I basically went through half a box of crackers and way too much Palmetto Cheese before the party even began. The stuff is “like crack” to put it not-so-nicely. Once you start you cannot stop eating it. But in a good way, in way that makes you say “wow, that was soooo worth it”.
How would I describe it….Creamy, cheesy, tangy, hits the savory spot of your tongue and belly in a way I haven’t ever experienced before. Their flavors (Original, Jalapeno and Bacon) pack a punch and keep you reaching back to the container for more. There is no way you will open a carton of Palmetto Cheese and close it and put it back into the fridge. It will be empty. Scrape-the-bottom empty. Lick the container empty (I swear this wasn’t me but I’ve seen it happen). Put it on crackers, put it on carrots (this is how we lie to ourselves at home and say it’s healthy), but don’t stop there. The genius husband-wife team at Palmetto Cheese supplies endless recipes via their website, Facebook and Twitter.
Speaking of their social media communities, just take a gander at them. They are massive for a small business! I believe it’s because they’re producing an AMAZING product, have sensational customer service and their team is phenomenal (as an “insider” I know this). Beyond their product being awesome, I have to take a moment to brag about this small business on a professional level. What started as a small seed of an idea (as most amazing brands do) the Palmetto Cheese company now sells in over 4,600 locations in 30 states and is the fastest growing pimento cheese company in the country.
I’m sure you’re salivating at the moment so I won’t go on much longer. Let me just remind you that summer is around the corner and you’ll soon be put to task with bringing something for a cook-out, barbeque, graduation party, beach day or hostess gift. Heck, within the next week you’ll need a snack for poker night, a baby shower, a dinner party or movie night at your own home. You know you want to be the person who yells “It was ME!” when someone asked “who brought this amazing cheese dip to the party?”.
What do spring and summer mean to me? Picnics, barbeques, outdoor concerts, reading in the park, hanging by the lake at my parents’ home in Michigan, rooftop movie parties in Brooklyn…man am I glad it’s almost summer. At the risk of sounding like the infomercial guy who sells the Sham Wow or a juicer let me just say... “what if I told you there was a product that would make each of those activities, along with all those you want to add to the list that you enjoy in the warmer weather even better? What if I told you it would add comfort, be a breeze to transport, is easy to store (even in a cramped New York City apartment), strong as steel (literally) and when you used it a smile would spread across your face and you’d let out one of those satisfied “happy sighs” only certain things can elicit.
Well folks, look no further. No seriously, look no further than after this colon: it’s time you meet the ComfortSEAT. When I met George Varga thanks to Tin Shingle I was introduced to the ComfortSEAT which is bascially an innovative, portable and comfortable seat and my outdoor hanging style was forever changed. Hand to God I was sold within minutes of testing it out, and as a gal who has limited storage space in her apartment, I am very picky about what I actually keep inside of it Soon after opening the box and testing it out (it’s seriously easy as pie to figure out) I was fantasizing about all the ways I could use it. Because I actually received it in the winter, I ended up using it for movie nights at my house when I needed an extra chair in my living room. Truth be told some people actually fought for the ComfortSEAT instead of an actual spot on the couch.
Now that the weather is warmer and I’m able to tote it along to the park or the beach I’ve realized all the other reasons this innovation rocks. For starters, unlike beach chairs that sap your relaxation from you because they are so hard to properly set up and they come crashing down at the most inopportune times, the ComfortSEAT is super easy to maneuver and stays put. On top of that, it’s about 5x softer than any beach chair. The multiple positions it can be set to mean I can read, chat with my friends, sleep, stare at the sky, and so forth at whatever angle I want. Other perks? How about it's super-durable and resists corrosion, cleaning it just requires water, soap and hands, it comes in different styles and colors (perhaps to match your favorite sports team?) and can be adjusted to 14 different positions!
What I also love about it is that you can probably find other uses for this wonder-seat that you haven’t even realized yet! Tin Shingle’s co-founder Katie uses it at bath-time with her babies. We all know (okay, I don’t because I’m not a mom but I hear other parents know this…) that bath-time can be uncomfortable for moms and dads. You’re on your knees, awkwardly bent over and often stuck in that position for ages. Enter the ComfortSEAT. Katie plops it on the floor while bathing her kids and literally called me (and texted me a photo) because it changed the entire experience for the better! Are you catching what I’m throwing? Exactly: you have to have one.
Not only will you be changing your spring and summer outdoor experiences (and perhaps your bath-time as well), but you’ll probably discover you’ll want to use it as fall rolls in as well (football games, camp-outs, watching the stars at night…) and even winter (I have decided it will be the perfect present-opening throne). On top of all of that, you’re buying from a small business and boosting the American economy which to me that is equitable to rewards dollars in your heart.
To find out more about ComfortSEAT visit www.comfortseatus.com.
“Free spirit,” “Excitement” and “Inspired” are all words Agustina Palacio uses to describe her personal journey to becoming a designer, and it’s clear when looking at her fresh, fun and sexy swimwear that her line, Nina Swim, reflects exactly who she is! Creator of the resort swimwear line Nina Swim, Agustina’s upbeat, sexy approach to looks for the beach is echoed in everything from her designs’ delightful names (Elektra, Jinx and Bonita, to name a few) to the suits’ bright colors, bold cut, and sophisticated and unique leather detailing. With an upcoming line of swimwear inspired by the Bond Girls, and the launch of a Resort Wear collection featuring sophisticated cover-ups for the beach that transition into nighttime attire for a relaxed look, Agustina is busy expanding Nina Swim and growing her creativity alongside her business. In our interview, Agustina revealed keys to business success, including the benefits of her background in marketing, her love of the “behind the scenes” in’s and out’s of a healthy business—everything from line sheets to photo shoots to social media strategies—and how she makes it all work as a mother of four.
What inspired you to get started?
My free spirit was what inspired me to start my own business. In 2000, after completing college, I packed my bag, including my huge bikini selection and headed for Miami. It was here that other bikini aficionados constantly questioned me about where I bought my bikinis. So with a friend we decided to start a swimwear line since we were not excited about any of the bikini designs we had seen in the market. So we traveled to NYC to buy fabrics and started creating. However, shortly after arriving back to Miami, I decided to move back to Argentina. Continuing the work I began in Miami, I did a very small collection and started selling bikinis to my friends and their friends and soon, my swimwear line, Nina Swim was born in Buenos Aires.
What was your background?
Marketing. I love designing bikinis, designing is something that it doesn’t take me a lot of time. I can design a whole collection just in one night when I am inspired. But I also really enjoy all the behind-the-scenes of making my business grow from developing the website, lookbook and linesheets as well as social media, PR and marketing strategies, photoshoots and fashion shoots, etc.
Was your background in what you are doing now?
Totally. Throughout school I knew that I wanted to do something related to fashion, however just designing was not enough. I was interested in being able to sell a line more than how to solely design, so that is why I studied marketing.
What challenge have you had to face that led to a big growth for your company?
My biggest challenge was being able to run my business with my growing family. I started my business with one son and now I have 4. So at one point (between my 2nd and 3rd child) I had to stop and take a break to think how I was going to continue. Many thought that that would be it, that I wouldn’t be back designing and running my business. Especially after having my 4th child. But this break gave me a lot of inspiration and desires to make my business grow. I studied the market and also learned more about Nina Swim’s identity. When I first started with the line I was a girl and my designs were very girly, but I grew up with the line and today Nina Swim is a resort line, sophisticated yet still fresh and trendy. And this year I came up with my best collection ever.
What do you have going on in your business right now that you're excited about?
So many things! This year I am re-launching my line with the Goldfingers Collection inspired by the James Bond movies I used to watch as a child. Each bikini style is named for each Bond girl. I am also launching for the first time a Resort Wear collection consisting of sophisticated cover-ups for the beach that transition into nighttime attire for a relaxed look. I also have a kid’s swimwear collection. The Mini Nina line is swimwear for girls ages 2-14 and includes miniature versions of the swimsuits and cover-ups found in the adult’s line; perfect for parents looking for fashionable pieces for their chic little It-girls.
Where would you love to see your business in 5 years?
I would love to see my swimwear line being recognized as a trendy swimwear line in the US.
I love it.
In the drama that was JC Penney has just come out in a new TV ad asking for a second chance (we first spotted it on Ad Age). The retail brand just launched a new TV ad owning up to the fact that they changed from their core customers, and asks for them to come back.
The tone of the ad is calm and soft. The images include nostalgic pictures of older JC Penney stores. The brand portrayed in the ad is not a new flashy Something-mista, no dance numbers, no songs, no flashy graphics. It a portrayal of who their customers were - women living everyday lives.
I like it. What do you think?
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