Magazine article Eye : The International Review of Graphic Design

The Business Model: Miss Fixit

Magazine article Eye : The International Review of Graphic Design

The Business Model: Miss Fixit

Article excerpt

Tina Roth Eisenberg never had a business plan. But all the things she dreams up - the Swissmiss blog, 'creative mornings', stick-on tattoos - pay off.

Tina Roth Eisenberg, aka Swissmiss, a design impresario by any other name, has over the past few years emerged as a model design entrepreneur. A New York transplant from the Alps, she originally set up her hugely popular blog (swiss-miss. com) as a personal visual archive, covering all manner of design objects, graphics, products and film (though very little about Swiss type).

Though it was never intended to be a business, a turning point came when, a few months into it, a friend asked to see her stats.

'I didn't even know there was such a thing,' she admits. 'Once I realised I had people tuning in, it dawned on me that I might be on to something. When Jim Coudal of The Deck network knocked on my door in 2006 and asked if I wanted to join their group, I started taking blogging more seriously.'

Becoming a member of Coudal's innovative online design advertising network ( allowed her to tap into 'an essential part of my multifaceted business model', which, she says, made it possible to justify spending more time on site development.

However, for Eisenberg the entrepreneurial bug bit much earlier. She 'published' her first magazine at the age of eight. ('Does that make me a design entrepreneur?')

She also knew early on that being a graphic designer was in her future. 'And because of my parents being entrepreneurs,' she adds, 'I realised I eventually wanted to run my own business.' She opened her own design studio at the age of 32. 'And looking back, I wish that I had started earlier.'

The blog, which she began in 2005, was always a supplementary reference, and integral to her daily routine as a designer. A year later she opened her own design studio (also called Swissmiss) in Brooklyn, New York. Then in 2008 she began a small empire. First there was CreativeMornings (a series of free early morning talks for local creative types, reminding them 'we are all part of a global ecosystem'). TeuxDeux, a 'simple, designy, browser-based "to-do" app', followed in 2009. And in 2011 she launched Tattly, a range of 'designy' temporary tattoos, which are selling briskly.

'It has been a very organic growth and there was no set strategy behind it all,' she says. 'I am a believer in doing what feels right in the moment. …

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