WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO RUN MULTIPLE BUSINESSES, JUGGLE A REAL PERSONAL LIFE, SUCCESSFULLY RAISE WELL-BALANCED KIDS, AND STAY MOTIVATED CREATIVELY?
A LOT LIKE TINA ROTH EISENBERG.
It's no secret that we're big fans of reading interviews on Freunde von Freunden for creative inspiration. Then there's the fact that the CC office pretty much survives thanks to Tina Roth Eisenberg's beautifully designed organizational app, TeuxDeux (we also owe it big time for helping us remember to call our moms). So when we were invited to share an excerpt from FvF's latest interview with none other than Eisenberg herself—well, could it get any better?
To put it simply: Eisenberg is a force. Operating out of Brooklyn, she's juggling multiple businesses and projects including the wildly popular breakfast lecture series, Creative Mornings, and an ooh-ahh worthy temporary tattoo company called Tattly. She's a graphic designer with an eye for style in all things, an empowered entrepreneur, and an all-around go-big-or-go-home personality. She's also a wife and mother who's built her empire around a careful work-life balance.
So yeah. She's an ideal girl crush.
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Since you arrived in New York City at the age of 26, you’ve launched a blog, two workspaces, an international lecture series, an organizational app, and a temporary tattoo company. What’s your job description, in your own words?
Sometimes I say I’m a designer and I leave it at that. Other times, I’ll say I’m a designer who runs a few small businesses. But really, I think the way my daughter answers that question is the most accurate. About a year ago, we were out on our weekly dinner date, just her and I, and I asked her, ‘Do you know what I do at work all day?’ And she said, very matter-of-factly, ‘You sit at your computer and laugh.’ I waited a moment, and I said, ‘Do you think that means I like what I do?’ And she said, ‘Well, isn’t that the point?’
I don’t know what it would be like to be a man – maybe things would be easier if I was ...[S]ometimes I get asked to speak at conferences because they need to fill a certain number of spaces with women. And I think, sure, I’ll fill your quota. But I make it my goal to do a really good job so that the next time, they invite me because they really want me to be there.
What were you like when you were her age? Have you always had a creative — or an entrepreneurial — spirit?
I think it was clear that I’d pursue some sort of creative career. As a teenager, I ran the school newspaper. I helped coordinate cultural events. I designed posters. I was very involved. Now, I can see both the graphic designer and the entrepreneur in the making. And the fact that my parents were both entrepreneurs, too, had an impact on me – I was never afraid to start a new project. In my world, that was what you did. Having a regular job was not.
Take us back to when you landed in NYC in 1999. You’ve said before that when you arrived for your first job interview, you were told by your boss-to-be that you’d never leave the city. Did you have the same inkling?
No. I was a little insulted. I thought I would be here in New York for three months. But I took that first job and my boss was right – I never left. After September 11th, my office shut down because of the attacks. There were so many signs saying I should move back, but I remember sitting on my couch, frozen, thinking, I’m not ready to put this book back on the shelf. This is not how I’m ending my stay here.
When did you transition from working for larger design studios to working on your own?
Basically the day my daughter was born in 2006, I went out on my own. I was renting a desk at an architect’s office for a while, and the people were nice – but there was no room for collaborators or guests to come in for a day if they needed. I thought, I want to be somewhere where people are welcome. So I started looking for my own space. Eventually I ended up in Dumbo. That became Studiomates. Then came CreativeMornings, TeuxDeux, and Tattly. This summer, we moved from Dumbo into a new workspace in Boerum Hill called Friends.
You’re seen by the public as something of an incredible idea machine. Where do the ideas come from?
I like nothing more than a good challenge. I always say, ‘Instead of complaining, fix it.’ That’s my personal rule. I kept complaining about the temporary tattoos my daughter would bring home, for instance, and that was such a no-brainer. I’m a web designer – I could make a website in no time. I had lots of illustrator friends who would be interested in participating. If anyone could do something like this for kicks, I could. So I googled how to manufacture temporary tattoos, and there you have it. That’s Tattly.
Have you ever experienced biases as a female entrepreneur?
People are always curious about that, and the honest answer is, I haven’t. Maybe I’m oblivious. I don’t know what it would be like to be a man – maybe things would be easier if I was. But in general, New York is nothing but welcoming to strong women. I do notice that sometimes I get asked to speak at conferences because they need to fill a certain number of spaces with women. And I think, sure, I’ll fill your quota. But I make it my goal to do a really good job so that the next time, they invite me because they really want me to be there.
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How do you juggle entrpreneurship, business, and your personal life?
Photos and interview provided by Freunde von Freunden