We just celebrated Small Business Saturday last weekend. So I thought it would be a great time to share the story of my small business.
The year was 2014. My husband Newell and I were craft beer aficionados, and loved collecting tin tackers for our home bar. But at that time, tackers were hard to find, and each addition to our collection was slowly acquired, belly up at breweries everywhere we traveled. Very few breweries had tackers. Most breweries didn't even have a merchandise section on their websites...so it took a lot of phone calls and fruitless brewery trips to add to our collection.
Photo of our home bar in New River, Arizona.
We dreamed of a one-stop-shop for tin tackers. At the time, we were running the Omaha Beer Fest, so we started selling novelty beer signs at our events. The novelty signs were fun, but I really wanted licensed brewery logo signs.
Jen and Newell at Omaha Beer Fest with George Wendt, aka "Norm" from Cheers
I began contacting breweries that already had tackers to see if I could purchase them wholesale for my new business, TinTackers.com. It was a new concept to every single one of them. Very few said yes, but it was a start! I began selling tackers for Rogue Ales, Odell, Deschutes, Big Sky, Brooklyn, Full Sail, Breakside, Funky Buddha, Great Divide, and many others.
Photo of Jen (second from right) and Newell (far right) in Austin, Texas.
Tons of collectors reached out to me with gratitude, sharing photos of their collections and craving to network with other collectors.
After a couple months of running our e-commerce store, I started getting inquiries from breweries and other businesses about making them custom signs. For over a year, I told everyone that inquired "No."
No, we don't produce them. No, we just sell brewery signs on our e-commerce store. Just no.
But after a year or so turning down everyone that inquired, Newell and I found a fabricator that would meet our specs to make beautiful custom embossed aluminum signs for our clients, right here in the USA. In a matter of months, we were making awesome custom tin tackers for dozens of breweries.
Photo of Jen and Newell in Austin, Texas
Tragically, only a couple of months after starting the custom side of our business, Newell unexpectedly passed away. My grief was intense, and raising 2 young boys by myself and trying to run a new business seemed unimaginable. I had no intention of keeping TinTackers going.
But something made me persevere. I ended up throwing myself into the business and exploding it instead of letting it slip away.
Six and a half years later, only a small percentage of my business is the e-commerce side, and the vast majority is making custom signs for thousands of companies in almost every conceivable industry. I have made signs for Disney, Red Bull, Anheuser-Busch, Molson Coors, Boston Beer, Black Rifle Coffee Company and so many others. It has been an awesome journey.
Tacticock tackers for Black Rifle Coffee Company
I also started a facebook community for tacker collectors. If you haven't joined, take a minute to join our group.
And we now have 2 different monthly tacker subscriptions: the Mini Tacker of the Month Club, and the Brewery Tacker of the Month Club.
Mini tackers from one of our subscription boxes, the Mini Tacker of the Month Club
Next year, TinTackers will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary. I can hardly wrap my head around that.
So when you shop this holiday season, consider supporting small businesses like ours. There is a story like mine behind every small business, and your purchase makes an impact.
Thanks for indulging me and taking the time to listen to my story. Enjoy this holiday season, and remember to shop small!
Jen and the Tin Tackers Team
Photo of Jen and a friend at Front Pourch Brewing Co in Phoenix, Arizona