Designer Tina Roth Eisenberg wears so many hats these days you’d think she’d need to take a break now and then. On the contrary, it looks like her creative and entrepreneurial projects are only multiplying. Tina is the mind behind Tattly—which makes design-y temporary tattoos— and the founder of Creative Mornings, a monthly speaker series for creative types all over the world. She is known online as swissmiss, the moniker under which she pens one of the most popular design blogs on the web.
It’s no wonder she had invent her own web-based to-do list (the cleverly-named TeuxDeux app). And, naturally, she needed an amazing space to get all this work done, so Tina founded Studiomates, a co-working space in DUMBO, Brooklyn where programmers, artists, and entrepreneurs converge to work and share ideas. Did we mention she’s also a mom of two?
Tina invited us to the beautiful Studiomates space, where we chatted with the Swiss-turned-New-Yorker to find out her formula for maximum productivity.
You’ve got your hands in so many projects. What are the workspace essentials that keep you organized and focused?
Coffee, TeuxDeux—which I built for a reason— and my environment. Working here at Studiomates makes a huge difference. Knowing that I’m not surrounded by my own world at all times, knowing that I can sit down at lunch and hear about different projects or problems people may have. It gives me perspective. We all thrive on having different views, conversations, and opinions.
What’s your design pet peeve?
Center type drives me bananas. I can’t stand it. It gives me the heebie-jeebies.
What’s the weirdest Tattly design that never made it?
In the very beginning, when we thought it was a great idea to have open submissions (before my intellectual property lawyer said, “Oh my God, take that down!”), we had someone send us the worst drawing of an elephant farting a rainbow. We closed our submissions after that. It was a terrible drawing. But I’m pretty sure my daughter would have gotten a kick out of it.
How are temporary tattoos made? (not the design, but the actual ink—what makes it transferable?
There’s a glue between the vegetable-based ink and the paper that makes it stick to your skin. The glue seals the ink to your skin.
We actually get a lot of emails from people that say, “Don’t get me wrong, but how do I get it off?” They last a long time! And some look like real tattoos. I love the stories where people use them to freak out their spouses or whatever. I don’t have any tattoos. They’re too permanent. I have a hard time picking a couch and thinking that I have to live with it for 4-5 years…
Before you launched TeuxDeux, what did your to-do lists look like? Notes scribbled on paper? Post-its?
I had a paper version of the app on the front of my desk, and every day I would draw out a plan for the week. Then I realized—that’s silly. I’m a user interface designer, so I should build this.
It started over a lunch conversation with a former Studiomate. I went into a passionate rant about what a to-do list is and why it needs an element of time to it. He said, “Design it, I’ll build it.” 48 hours later, the app was done.
Imagine: You’ve got a Saturday off and no work to do. How do you spend the day?
I never work on Saturday! Weekends are off limits. That’s family time. We’d have friends over for a really nice brunch. I take brunch seriously; it always includes bacon. Then we’d probably visit the Natural History Museum and take a stroll in the park. It’s all about hanging out with the kids.
Who’s the person in your life who’s taught you the most?
My kids. I might not have learned from them, but through them. My daughter has actually been a career catalyst. Often times, people say that once they have kids, that’s it. But I took the bull by the horns and said, hey, I have all these dreams that I’ve never accomplished. I had never started my own design studio, and I was crazy enough to do it the day my daughter was born.
Photo by Julia Robbs