Mom Behind the Brand: Melissa Clayton of Tiny Tags
By: Melissa Harper | Date: January 28 2018
Tribe Magazine: Please introduce yourself and your business.
Melissa Clayton: I am Melissa Clayton and my company is Tiny Tags. Tiny Tags designs and creates fine, personalized jewelry for moms to celebrate their precious children. I am also a mom to three darling boys, Tyler, Trey and Tristan who were my inspiration. When I become a mom, I wanted the perfect necklace engraved with Tyler’s name that was simple, classic and would last a lifetime. When I couldn’t find anything, the idea for Tiny Tags started and that was over 10 years ago.
TM: What were you doing prior to Tiny Tags?
MC: I was a CPA at PriceWaterHouseCoopers, a bad one but did audit and tax work and then went to Oracle and did software audits. Sounds so boring but I do like numbers and now having my own business – understanding accounting and margins is key.
TM: What was one of the biggest obstacles for you while growing a business and raising a family?
MC: Pacing myself and realizing you can’t do everything at once.
TM: What sets you apart from your competition?
MC: Our jewelry is laser engraved with over 14 artisans involved in every Tiny Tags and we guarantee everything for life including the chains! Most other companies use diamond drag – so the metal is cut but with laser engraving the metal is never cut so the end product is smoother, finer and just plain beautiful. I am obsessed with quality and making sure our moms are happy. Plus we care – a lot! We answer the phone (not a third party), we read every email and answer every direct message. We are a real community. I love, love talking with moms, seeing pictures of their little ones and hearing their story.
TM: You’ve had great exposure with celebrities. What do you think is the key to reaching and working with top influencers?
MC: I think for me it is authenticity and connecting with ‘celebrity moms’ because we are both moms. Regardless of your profession, you’re a mom who loves her child and what mom wouldn’t want her child’s name on a Tiny Tags? I still melt over our jewelry – when I see some of the sweet words that moms or dads put on a Tiny Tags.
TM: Who were you most excited to see wearing Tiny Tags?
MC: Meryl Streep blew my mind – she was presented with a Tiny Tags for being the keynote speaker at the Massachusetts Conference for Women this past December. I thought for sure it would end up in her assistance’s pocketbook so when she wore it two days later for two photo shoots -it was a pinch me moment. What I loved so much is that at the end of the day, Meryl Streep is a mom of four kids and I imagine she was just happy to have a necklace with all their names. Her children are adults and out on their own and she probably misses them. Just how I imagine I will miss my children when they are out of the house.
TM: You now have a Tiny Tags team – tell us about how you knew you needed to hire help and what that transition looked like for you.
MC: It was a very slow transition. I hired a friend for about 10 hours a week to ‘help me out’ about 4 years ago and now she is Director of Operations. Every new hire has always started out as a short term position that naturally grew to a long term position. Our entire team is made up of moms also which I love because we all ‘get it’ when a new mom calls and is sleep deprived or has a crying baby in the background.
TM: Describe a typical day in the life of Melissa Clayton.
MC: I am an early riser and I try to read something motivational first before I look at my email or phone – right now I love the book ‘Peace in Every Step’ by Thich Nhat Hanh because it is a quick read for the morning. Once boys are up and off to school, I spend most of my day on calls and working with Tiny Tags team – we work on designing new products, collaborations with other brands and improving our website for our customers.
TM: What does success look like to you?
MC: Right now is success – my boys are healthy, my husband and I are able to be there for them and I love the work I am doing with Tiny Tags. I still pinch myself that Tiny Tags has been able to play a small part in celebrating thousands of children and even more so when we have been asked to honor a child. I have cried with moms who have lost a child or have a child who is very ill and no words can describe how moved I am that they have come to us to honor their sweet angel.
TM: I know giving back is so important to you and Tiny Tags. Tell us about some of the organizations you work with and why they’re near and dear to your heart.
MC: One of my favorite local charities is called Heading Home in Boston. This organization is doing amazing work – helping families find permanent homes, finding work and giving their children a better life. We worked with them this year and put on birthday party for a sweet 10 year old boy in the shelter. It was a gift to bring joy to this little boy and watch him dive into his cake and open his presents. In 2018, we hope to work more with this organization and help move families into homes.
TM: What’s one piece of advice you would give to other moms who want to launch their own business?
MC: Start small, talk to everyone you know and pick their brains. I had Tiny Tags for 5 years and worked on nights and weekend while my boys were little. Working on Tiny Tags was my ‘me time’.
TM: As moms and entrepreneurs, we’re always trying to find balance. How do you practice or keep balance in your own life?
MC: I pick my battles and prioritize what is important to me. I say ‘no ‘ a lot. I don’t do social events because I feel obligated or I feel bad.
TM: What’s your most popular piece right now?
MC: Our skinny bar necklace is absolutely our most popular and what I am wearing every day. I love wearing it short and it has my boys names and their birth times on the back. My middle guy was sad because I didn’t know his birth time so I put it on the back so I’ll never forget.
TM: What’s next for you and Tiny Tags?
MC: We hope to continue celebrating all the precious children out there and the journey of motherhood. We hope to do more with Heading Home and other charities that are helping mothers and children in need.
TM: How can we support you and Tiny Tags? (Links to your social channels, website, etc.)
I would love to hear from you – my email is firstname.lastname@example.org – I love hearing what other women are doing, the journey and connecting so please email or find us on social @tinytags.
If you are interested in a Mom Behind the Brand feature, please email Kristin@momsandstories.com