This week I had the pleaure of talking to Branka from One Tiny Tribe. Not only does she produce amazing prints, she is also a talented business woman and I think, a genius at running a small business.
I have personally learnt a great deal from Branka, as I am one of her lucky brand reps. She always has a humerous and ooh so true quote to post on her Instagram account and relishes posting snaps of her prints in customers homes. It is from that type of relationship forgaged with her audience, that she has made One tiny Tribe the success it is today and growing rapidly by the minute.
I adore her prints and love that her range covers adults through to children. Not one to sit quietly by, Branka always has a new product in production and I can't wait to see what she will wow us with next. Read on to discover more about the brains and humour behind One Tiny Tribe....
Tell us a little about your background, family and life in general?
Oh gosh - kicking it off with the personal stuff, ok here goes…
I’m a mum of two and lover (also wife) of one. My kids are at the age where life seems to blur days and nights into one, so I’m constantly running on reserve.
I’m a writer by trade and a closet artists, although I do have a track record of quite a few freelance graphic design projects and one demo album my best friend and I made in the days before children when we were a band.
I speak two languages fluently and am hoping my kids will grow up doing the same.
I love coffee, and by ‘love’ I mean I’m obsessed. My husband is a barista, but I’m not a coffee snob - I can drink it hot, cold, drip, instant, you name it. I avoid decaf, but you know what, if there’s nothing else, I’ll drink that too.
I love great photos, I play the guitar, and my favourite writer is Jodie Picoult.
Where did the name One Tiny Tribe originate from?
A tribe describes a social division in a traditional society, and while it usually consists of families or communities linked by various factors, in our case our little family is the tribe.
In this vast land we call home, we integrate, communicate, and socialise with the beautiful people around us, but we are very much our own little unit.
So when we decided to kick off our own little business, the name came naturally.
Where do the One Tiny Tribe designs come from and do you have a favourite?
From the heart haha - that’s such a cliche thing to say. I mean, they do come from the heart, but they also come from a load of research and feedback.
I’m a strong believer of creating meaningful things that resonate with people or serve a purpose, rather than just putting something on the page for the heck of it. The thing is, art is very subjective - but I always aim to make things with meaning, not just blindly follow trends. And that involves a lot of brainstorming, a lot of feedback, and the ability to say ‘no’ to designs you might love but the research says people probably won’t.
As for a favourite piece, I’d have to go with the “Single Feather”. It’s a print that’s very difficult to highlight in photos, but I often get people writing to me after they’ve bought it telling me how beautiful it is in real life (that puts a huge smile on my face).
Have you always been creative?
I guess I have, but then again I believe that everyone is creative in their own way. The funny thing is I’m actually more of a ‘word girl’ than a ‘picture girl’ - my first passion is writing.
What have been the highlights of One Tiny Tribe been so far?
By far the biggest highlight has been experiencing people like my work. It’s an incredible feeling. There are people all around the world that have my handwriting in their home. There are people who have given my images to their loved ones as gifts. There are children growing up with elements that I put on a page inspiring them to be themselves, to push the limits, to discover their surroundings and who they are. It’s mind-blowing and utterly wonderful!
Another highlight has been ‘meeting’ an array of talented, intelligent, creative, strong women - like yourself, Emma. There are many who have become a part of One Tiny Tribe - in one way or another - and whom, regardless of the fact that I’ve never seen face-to-face, I actually consider my friends.
What advice would you give to those wanting to start their own creative business?
Again, this is going to sound cliche, but: just do it!
A couple of experiences over the past 5 years have made me realise how short life really is. And we get one go at it. So why not give it a crack?
Obviously different types of businesses require a different types of investment. But if you truly can’t stop thinking about it, and if your gut is telling you it’s the right thing to do (I said gut, not mind) then you should just dive on in.
Plus, you can Google just about anything these days, so do some research and then chop chop to it!
One Tiny Tribe has a great social media following, can you share any tips on building your brand on Instagram?
Every business is different, but some common rules definitely apply.
Firstly, you have to choose and know your audience. This seems simple enough, but it’s not. Too often I see people getting carried away by trends and forgetting to take care of their primary audience - who often don’t follow the trends as closely as businesses think they do. This doesn’t mean that you should only cater to one audience, but truly knowing your primary and secondary audience (if you’re starting out I wouldn’t suggest more than that) will help you shape your strategy.
Secondly, having a strategy is super dooper uber useful. I’m not necessarily talking over-detailed business plans, either. I’m talking the basics… You know your audience, so you know what they want to see from you, you know when they want to see it, you know how to engage them, and you know how to communicate with them.
Thirdly, speak to your audience as though you are a brand. Brand language and tone is so incredibly important. And knowing how to talk is, too. Time and time again I see ‘brands’ that talk down to their audience. For instance, they’ll release a product and write nothing more than “I love this new *product* I’ve made. It will be available at 8pm tonight. You’re welcome.” Treating your audience as though they aren't your equals is not a good long-term strategy. It generally doesn’t make you sound like a crash hot human either.
And don’t get discouraged. Every.single.business you see has hit bumps here and there. They have gone through times when they’ve wanted to give up, they have probably been burnt, they have most definitely had their bad days. The only difference between them and those that fall by the roadside is that they keep coming back.
I have plenty more to share, but let’s leave it for another time...
How would you describe your own personal interior styling style?
Actually, that’s not entirely true.
Since the rise of Instagram stores and Kmart, my interior styling style is very much like my wardrobe - I have some awesome tops, some rad pants, and Converse All Stars in 5 different colours, but none of those items match. Just like I now have all these different bits and bobs that are absolutely stunning, but when you try to put them together they just clash.
But I don’t mind - that’s why I come to people like you, Em, who are incredibly talented at styling.
What would be your dream job?
Stay at home millionaire.
Just kidding. I’d actually love to be a professor one day. I want to pass on my knowledge to people who genuinely want to learn what I have to teach. A PhD is definitely on the cards, just not in the next few years.
Name 3 inspirational people you admire and why?
My mum - because being a mother is by far the hardest - and most rewarding - job in the world and until I had kids I didn’t truly appreciate what an incredible woman my mum is (to have put up with me haha).
Rob Thomas - because he is a lyrical genius.
Nikola Tesla - because he is an unrecognised hero and the greatest inventor to have ever lived. If you’re not familiar with Tesla’s achievements - and you enjoy a well-written piece of work - have a read of this: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla
Just want to say a big thanks Branka for taking the time to share some more about yourself and those great tips about business and brand building.