The Tiny Tassel

www.thetinytassel.com

Mimi Striplin (Founder/Owner) | Charleston, South Carolina | Retail

The Tiny Tassel

“COVID-19 was a wake-up call to dig deeper and dive stronger into the digital tools we were already using — we needed to learn how to use them even better.”

Mimi Striplin, The Tiny Tassel | Charleston, South Carolina

Mimi Striplin always seems happy, no matter the circumstance. It’s a good thing she decided to start a company dedicated to bringing a similar sense of joy to others. Mimi’s business, The Tiny Tassel, started as an Etsy shop, and has since grown a lot bigger. Today, The Tiny Tassel offers handmade tassel jewelry, clothing, and a full line of party decor. It has always been a highly digital company. During the pandemic, this connectivity has allowed The Tiny Tassel to be highly resilient. Now, the important lessons learned from that experience — along with the additional digital capability added during it — will allow Mimi’s business to continue growing into the future.

53%

of SMBs found digital tools more helpful to them during the crisis than pre-crisis.

Most SMBs (53%) also plan to continue to use more digital technologies in their business, even after the pandemic.

Mimi was working in traditional retail when she decided to start that first Etsy shop. Before long, she found herself spending so much time on The Tiny Tassel that she decided to focus on it full time. The first thing Mimi did was create her own website with Squarespace. Next came the logistics of the company. Mimi says that Google products have been important to her from the start, and G Suite provided the best and easiest-to-use tools to get the company going. She still remembers that “official” feeling when she first set up her company’s Gmail account. She uses G Suite tools, such as Google Docs and Google Sheets, to track inventory, note expenses, and share financial data with her accountant. For email marketing, Mimi has used both MailChimp and FloDesk. Her most important marketing tool, however, has always been social media. She started using both Facebook and Instagram for visibility and placing ads when her business first launched and eventually added other platforms like Pinterest and Twitter. She also made investments in Google Ads.

93%

of U.S. SMBs were disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis.

They experienced effects across the board: 43% reduced hours of operation, 30% saw reduced customer demand, 28% had disrupted supply chains, and 20% laid off employees.

When COVID-19 struck, Mimi described it as “a wake-up call to dig deeper and dive stronger into the digital tools we were already using — we needed to learn how to use them even better.” Mimi built comprehensive e-commerce capabilities into her website and started figuring out other ways to make her site more accessible and efficient. She picked up the pace on her email marketing and amped up her social media presence. She learned how to better read analytics and understand what her customers wanted more clearly. One product came up over and over again: masks. Mimi started producing a line of cloth masks. “We actually had to close the mask sales because demand just got too high,” Mimi recalls, “but sales across the rest of our website were going crazy, too.”

The company’s initial uncertainty gave way to huge growth. “April was one of the busiest months ever for us, and sales only increased further from there,” Mimi says. “We’re talking about bringing in five times more than in a typical month. And none of that would have been possible without digital tools.”

During the pandemic, this connectivity has allowed The Tiny Tassel to be highly resilient.

The Tiny Tassel

Mimi says that the lessons she’s learned during the pandemic will continue to benefit her business and her customers. “Being forced to pause through COVID-19 made us sit back and think about what we can do with our business and how we can work both better and smarter,” Mimi says. “It was the kick in the pants we needed to do more of the things we should’ve been doing anyway. These are lessons that we now apply to the business each and every day.” Her advice to other small businesses is to always work with determination and intention because it’s impossible to know what tomorrow might bring. “Don’t work in fear of a crisis, but also never forget that someone could come and pull the rug from under you at any time,” she says. And if “COVID-19 was a wake-up call to dig deeper and dive stronger into that happens? “Double down on your digital tools!”

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