For Melissa, Founder and CEO of Tiny Tags, motherhood and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. That’s because giving birth to her son inspired her business of made-to-order keepsake jewelry for mothers.
Ten years later, her online shop is thriving, thanks to a keen understanding of her niche, a commitment to authenticity, and an insatiable curiosity. Here’s a window into Tiny Tags.
Entrepreneurial roots: When the product finds you
Many entrepreneurs look for a product they can turn into a business. In Melissa’s case, the product found her. After her son was born, she wanted a piece of jewelry to commemorate his birth. When she couldn’t find anything she liked, she made her own.
Growing that idea into a business came naturally since Melissa is from a family of entrepreneurs. “I was always looking for something to start my own business with,” she says. “I was surprised it was jewelry but it’s really more the story behind our products that excites me.”
A few years ago, Melissa was running Tiny Tags from her homebase in California and focusing on hand-stamped pieces, but a move to Massachusetts coincided with her desire to elevate her designs by switching to laser engraving with local manufacturers. Over 14 artisans are involved in every single Tiny Tags creation!
From craft to company: Selling a customizable product online
When it came to designing the customer experience online, Melissa and her team decided to use WooCommerce because of the unique needs of the checkout process. With a highly customizable product like engraved jewelry, the advanced custom functionalities available in WooCommerce made all the difference to the user experience:
“We wanted options like conditional statements where if you say you want two tags and back engraving, the proper text fields appear,” she says. “The preview tool was also important and WooCommerce allowed us to do all of that.”
The elegance and custom nature of her product carried through into the branding and design of the Tiny Tags online shop — Melissa has worked with the same designer for eight years!
We wanted options like conditional statements where if you say you want two tags and back engraving, the proper text fields appear. WooCommerce allowed us to do all of that.
The jewelry customization for Tiny Tags is powered by Gravity Forms Product Add-Ons, which allows for conditional statements, and enables Melissa to offer complex customizations and personalization — including chain length, text alignment, front text, and optional engraving on the back.
The importance of finding and focussing on your niche
As Tiny Tags grew, there were many opportunities to expand into other special occasion jewelry, like wedding or graduation gifts. But growing the product line that way was difficult and meant attending more trade shows and investing more heavily in seasonal marketing campaigns.
Melissa narrowed her scope to mothers, which freed her to focus, build the brand, and say no to certain partnerships and collaborations. She suggests shop owners focus their energy on what feels authentic.
When you find your niche in a cluttered market space, it becomes so much easier to find your voice because you’re not trying to be everything to everybody
Like many online businesses, Melissa tried expanding her points of sale to physical retail locations, but after spending a lot of time and money getting into high-end baby boutiques in Boston, New York, and California, she decided to focus on perfecting the online shopping experience.
The art and science of building relationship with customers
Using Google Analytics, Melissa’s team analyse where customers live and what their interests are, to decide how to advertise.
Klaviyo, a marketing automation software that integrates with WooCommerce, generates and sends a unique coupon to new subscribers, and then triggers a chain of emails based on the customer’s behavior. Melissa also uses Klaviyo for ‘win back campaigns’: a coupon is sent out 120 days after any customer makes a purchase.
Beyond technical behavioural data and automations, Melissa uses every possible opportunity to find out more about her customers, like: why they chose Tiny Tags, where else they shop, and what are their interests.
Her team engages with customers over phone support, on Instagram, via Zendesk — which can be integrated with WooCommerce using Zapier— and during checkout, customers are invited to share how they heard about Tiny Tags.
We love hearing about the family behind each custom piece and we tell these stories on our site, in our email marketing, and on social media.
Find your niche, focus, and stay authentic
While Melissa could have chosen to grow Tiny Tags by expanding her target audience, her strategy to focus on what works well and feels authentic has paid off. In the process, she’s polished her brand voice and built a business for longevity by investing in a sophisticated mix of eCommerce and marketing tools that help her harness the opportunities in her niche.
Kudos to Melissa and team! If you’re selling customizable products online, we’d love to know what’s working for you in the comments.