The following reflection was written by Class of 2015 student Lance Green.
This past week brought great excitement and inspiration into the Products of Design studio as Tina Roth Eisenberg, creator of the popular blog swissmiss, took to the podium for the department’s most recent guest lecture. This designer + wife + mother of two + blogger + entrepreneur is emblematic of the belief that life is too short to do a job that you don’t like—so she designed her own. The “queen of accidental businesses” began her personal blog in 2005 as a visual archive; a creation that would quickly grow to become the ever-popular design blog and go-to spot for honest design inspiration and promotion. As far as the name goes—written entirely in lowercase—the young Eisenberg simply needed a handle for her blog, and it’s been swissmiss ever since.
Eisenberg believes that success is measured in happiness—a state that can be acquired by altering your own realities and challenging the status quo. “Always take your ideas seriously” was a mantra of the night; the successes of swissmiss can be traced back to her four beliefs: people should create, play, trust and respect.
Eisenberg believes the act of creating is the key to finding a solution to life’s everyday problems and unmet needs. Designers should, then, ask questions and not be afraid to challenge the status quo. When opening her first store, Tattly—an updated version of the temporary tattoo—Eisenberg promised herself one thing: to sell things she loved to the people that love it. Tattly includes a piece of handiwork in every purchase—from the carefully chosen stamps placed lovingly on the package, to the “made in USA” approach to manufacturing, swissmiss supports the process of making. “People crave authenticity,” said Eisenberg; they want the human touch that is typically absent in manufactured goods.
“The best ideas come as jokes,” said Eisenberg with a smile. At her StudioMates workplace, there is a confetti-loaded drawer, an employee height chart, and a well-stocked prop bin—three simple yet brilliant opportunities for bringing laughter and happiness into the studio. In the Q&A, when asked what her superpower was, she replied with little hesitation, “unstoppable enthusiasm.” This, alongside the execution of ideas in the studio, helps to establish a positive and productive working environment.
Trust your workers, your friends and, most of all, trust your gut. The problem with people today is this, the inability to fully trust ourselves, let alone those around us—anxiously passing our ideas and creations along in fear that the next hands that touch it will, indubitably, mess everything up. By trusting her friends and fellow coworkers the growth of CreativeMornings, a monthly lecture series for creative individuals, has expanded from a few central locations to over sixty monthly meetings worldwide, some of which were started by close friends of swissmiss, those she trusted enough to carry the foundation and beliefs formed around CreativeMornings to other locations worldwide. “Real connections are made in person,” said Tina, the physical meeting of two or more people helps to build the trust and respect that technology lacks.
Studiomates, a shared workspace offered in Brooklyn, allows for handfuls of aspiring and professional designers to work, play and brainstorm—side by side and in solace. The amount of respect in the studio, as witnessed by Eisenberg, is phenomenal, “it really lifts you up.” Technology has dehumanized us and, thanks to the mergence of creative environments, people are able to converse and experience true productivity, all with the support and respect of their fellow designers. As a result of the successes and interest in Studiomates, walls have consequently been knocked down to allow for further growth and community.
As far as advice goes, if you find yourself complaining, “either do something about it or let it go,” said Eisenberg—clearly she has chosen to do something about it. After the event, students and guests shared some refreshments and applied some free Tattlys that Tina brought by!