Geek + Cute = YAY. The extremely very true story of Tinyme.
Once upon a time, 3 young dads (who collectively have 15 little kids) combined a whole bunch of geeky high tech machines, some generous dollops of cuteness, a slightly loopy team of people and mixed them together with the world wide webby thingy. The result was amazing.... a comprehensive range of affordable, premium quality, designer personalised products for kids. All custom made and shipped to you in a jiffy.
CHAPTER 1: THE SPARE BEDROOM AND A HAPPY CUSTOMER.
Many years ago (well in late 2006) a happy couple, lets call them Mike and Rach (because that's actually their real names) set out on a little adventure selling really cute personalised children's products on a shiny new website which they named mooo (.com.au), now known as Tinyme. At that stage the business was run from a spare bedroom, which actually wasn't that spare because baby number 2 had arrived and the room was really quite small. There was lots to do, but fortunately Mike had a friend called Nick, and as the orders started flowing in, Nick helped to get them made and flowing back out. People started getting their orders and liked what they got. They started telling their friends and their friends started ordering too. "This is great" thought Mike, "too many orders to handle. What a great problem! But what should I do? Maybe Nick could help out some more?
CHAPTER 2: ANOTHER SPARE BEDROOM AND MORE HAPPY CUSTOMERS.
So Mike, being the good friend that he was, asked Nick to quit his job, mortgage the house and buy in. "Cool" said Nick, "I'll be right over" (actual wording and timeframes might have varied slightly). When Nick came over the small spare bedroom suddenly seemed really, really small. Unfortunately, the house Nick had just mortgaged was even smaller, had no spare bedroom and also had 2 kids running around in it. Something had to be done. Mike and Nick had a brain wave... "let's use the spare bedroom of our friend who has no kids". Fortunately their friend with no kids not only had a spare bedroom but also a state of the art production facility (known to some in the business as the spare garage). Things got busier. More happy customers, more orders, more happy customers, more orders. 2 months later baby number 5 arrived (Nick 3, Mike 2). Things got even busier! "This is great" thought Mike and Nick, "too many orders to handle. What a great problem! But what should we do?
CHAPTER 3: NO MORE SPARE BEDROOM AND EVEN MORE HAPPY CUSTOMERS.
Mike and Nick had met while studying Industrial Design at university and were both into design, high tech machines, and making stuff (and raising lots of noisy kids in nappies). So that's what they kept doing. They also got some help and moved into a bigger place that wasn't a bedroom. It was a lot bigger. And so things kept going: more orders, more happy customers, more orders, more cool machines, more babies (Nick 3, Mike 3). "This is great" thought Mike and Nick. But soon the place that was a lot bigger wasn't so big anymore. They now had heaps of new machines and heaps of new staff and things were getting quite squeezy again. But what should they do?
CHAPTER 4: ON THE MOVE (AGAIN)
It was time to move again, so they did. "This place is huge" they thought as they unloaded trucks of gear and got things set up just in time for their 3rd birthday. 3 moves in under 3 years. By now the head count, the cool machine count, the customer count and the baby count had all gone up a notch (Nick 4, Mike 4). Occasionally, however, (as happens sometimes with 2 designers running a super fast growing business) Mike and Nick had a bunch of questions. Fortunately they had another friend called Ben. Ben had an MBA and worked at Goldman Sachs as a fund manager. Mike and Nick thought that sounded awfully clever so they would often meet with Ben and ask him all sorts of stuff. Fortunately Ben had four little children himself and was just as happy to talk about how cute the personalised children's products were as examine spreadsheets about return on capital (well, almost). With more space came more orders, more happy customers and more orders. The really, really big place started to fill again. Multiple shifts, more designers, web developers, HR, finance... the place was pumping. "This is great" thought Mike and Nick. "A bit scary, but great. But what should we do? Maybe Ben could help out some more?
CHAPTER 5: HAPPY CHRISTMAS. HAPPY CUSTOMERS.
So Mike and Nick and Ben got together (without the 12 kids). Happy days. Ben quit his job and made the obvious career move from highly paid city job at the world's most famous investment bank, to partner in fun at a web based start up making personalised kids stuff (really cute, great quality, awesome kids stuff). The 4th birthday came and went and they headed into Christmas at full pace. Orders flooding in, machines running 24 hours, and more new staff. Would it be too much to handle? Would all those thousands of cute personalised products get to children on time? YES. YAY. Four years of building a great team and great systems meant they finished the Christmas quarter with less than 0.4% late orders (Yep, under 4 late per thousand). Lots more happy customers once again. Yay. (We like happy customers).
CHAPTER 6: LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY.
From day 1 they’d been sending products all over the world (from the spare bedroom world headquarters). Headquarters was located in the leafy eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia and everything was sold from mooo.com.au. In 2011 they decided it was time to really go global. It was time to ditch the .au, time to build a brand new website and to build a brand new brand! They headed to the UK and tinyme.co.uk was born. The first stop in the global fight against boring kids stuff. In September 2011 Mooo turned 5 (and tinyme.co.uk turned 2 months old. Yay). The first 5 years had been a very busy time but many plans were underway to make the next 5 even busier.
CHAPTER 7: THE BIRTH OF A SINGLE GLOBAL BRAND. (SOUNDS A BIT DRAMATIC DOESN'T IT?)
They now had two separate brands in the building selling the exact same stuff. It was sure to end in tears (not that inanimate objects really squabble that much, unlike children, did we mention there were now 13 kids? Congratulations Mike and Rach on the arrival of baby number 5). It was time for mooo to hang up its hat and make way for the new brand. With mooo set to retire, Tinyme could spread its wings. (After all mooo was 5.5 years old and that's about 125 in e-commerce years!). So on the 1st of May 2012, in the wee hours of the morning, surrounded by an intimate but solemn gathering of web developers and Red Bull, mooo sighed its last virtual breath and was redirected to Tinyme (that's technical talk for pretty much dead). Mooo will be fondly remembered by its then 'almost 150,000 customers' and for its dry quick wit and tireless plight for the welfare of cheeky monkeys wearing inappropriate headwear. It was a time of mixed emotions, tears of remembrance were mixed with the joy of new life... Tinyme had been born as the new single global brand for the company, the cord had been cut and the new baby was feeding and sleeping well (ok we're stretching the metaphor a bit far there aren't we?). Needless to say everyone was very excited. The best was yet to come…
CHAPTER 8: GOD BLESS AMERICA!!
Where to next? America had always seemed to have a fondness for frog hat wearing monkeys so it seemed only fair to offer them faster, cheaper shipping, localised content and their very own web site! In late June 2012 our USA subsidiary was officially created, a super duper new shipping logistics system introduced and tinyme.com was born. The bus had once again stopped on its global tour toward domination of cute personalised kids products only this time the bus was yellow and all the kids on the bus had moms instead of mums, spelt personalised with a z, and colour without a u (who needs it anyway). The next chapter had begun...
CHAPTER 9: THE BIG MOVE.
…The party had spilled out onto the balcony, was raging on the factory floor, and even spread to the empty warehouse next door. Walls were smashed down and party hours extended, but this was a party that could not be contained! Shouts from the throng were heard echoing out from the sleepy streets of Nunawading (in Melbourne, Australia!) …
“You’ve got to fight… for your right… to PARTY” Although the Tinyme version of the 80’s hip hop classic packed far more punch…
“You’ve got to fight… for your right… to negotiate amenable rental terms on a premises appropriate for current and future growth, easily fitted out for climate-controlled production, with excellent compressed air, extraction, power, high bay warehousing, and suitable logistically for all key stakeholders.”
DROP DA MIC HOMIES!!!
The Party Bus had screeched out of the car park and burned down the road to Scoresby (a whole 15 minutes drive away!) pulling up at Tinyme HQ V5.0. With the smell of burning rubber still lingering the revelry continued for the next six weeks solid. A tightly orchestrated logistical ballet of spreadsheet induced organisational excellence. With an ever-growing range of custom made products, an ever-growing fleet of machines, and an ever-growing team of awesome people to design and make all the awesome stuff, the BIG move was finally complete and they finally had the space to really get the party started.
Somewhere in the midst of the fray, baby number 14 arrived. And the older kids were just starting to get embarrassed by their parents’ super rad party moves!
CHAPTER 10: THE GLOBAL "HAPPY CUSTOMER" TOUR...
“What do we want - TINYME. When do we want it - NOW“
Being located on the southern edge of a very large island nation at the bottom of the world, at first the Tinyme team didn’t hear the cries from their neighbours.
Blowing in from the east coast, New Zealanders were shouting “How come you guys can’t play Rugby? And when are we going to get our localised Tinyme site?”
On the warm north westerly breeze came whisperings from Singapore, “I know our dollar is more or less at parity with the Australian dollar but we want to buy in our local currency - what gives, Tinyme?”
Ireland, Malaysia, UAE, Hong Kong, Canada… all demanding their own Tinyme sites, localised currency and payment options, better shipping offerings, and correct spelling!
So Tinyme grew to 10 Tinymes’ and a little bit more of the world got a way better Tinyme experience.
The baby count was now 15. Last but not least, extremely cute little Rosie, was born to Mike and Rach. Number 6. And this is my final edit on the baby count!
CHAPTER 11: INTRODUCING OPIQO... SAY THAT NOW?“
It's late 2021 and not only is the Tinyme team busy producing the cutest range of name labels, personalised bags, name puzzles (and other super cute kids products), personalised calendars, personalised diaries (and other personalised stationery), they are also in the midst of developing a new range of jigsaws (as you do after almost 2 years into a global pandemic). The only problem was that the jigsaws had lots of small weird shaped pieces and the art was less cute trucks and butterflies and more Moon Landing and Katsushika (look him up, he's pretty awesome). You see, over the years they’d slowly started designing and making some products that really didn't feel at home in the "kids playroom" that was Tinyme. They kind of wanted to hang out somewhere else... Maybe the Parent's retreat, or the Pool room, or the study or any room predominantly occupied by humans over the age of 12. After an extensive game of hide and seek, exploring all the rooms in the house (including available domain names and trademark qualifiers) that room was found. That room found them. That room was... Opiqo
Now what's Opiqo you might ask? Doesn't that loosely translate to blind drunk in Bulgarian? Maybe. Or Maybe it's Latin for "a team of creatives that design, code, and make, (like actually make) beautiful products and art for your home, play and everyday". NAILED IT!
Visit Opiqo here to explore the range. It’s pretty much like Tinyme but for grown ups. You can subscribe to the Opiqo email lists here (and get instant access to promotions, exclusive discounts, new product updates, and more!)
CHAPTER 12: WELCOME TO ROYAL LEAMINGTON SPA
The persistent drizzle and dense fog had lifted, and on an uncharacteristically sunny afternoon in the British Midlands, after weeks of somewhat tedious jokes about warm beer and British weather, the very first Tinyme orders to be made and shipped on foreign soil were dispatched. Luke warm drinks all round chaps!
Since 2006 the distant sunburnt lands of Australia had been the sole place in the universe for the manufacture of Tinyme products. In May 2022 all that changed as the team opened a new production studio in Royal Leamington Spa. While for almost a decade Britain had enjoyed local customer service from the Tinyme office up the road in Birmingham, they could now also enjoy having their Tinyme and Opiqo orders made and delivered “like as quick as mate”, which is Australian for extremely fast. The tyranny of distance had been conquered and the cool accent count in the global Tinyme / Opiqo team was on the rise! Exciting times lay ahead.
To be continued...
PS: If you read this far you might possibly have too much time on your hands! But thank you so much for taking the time. If you can’t tell, we really, really love what we do here at Tinyme / Opiqo and hope you’ll love it too.
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