Today’s career profile features the Amanda Greeley, the talented founder of the pajama line, Tink + Tiger. Amanda set out to find the perfect pair of pajamas and ended up creating them herself. The pajamas are all cut and sewn in the USA and, as she says, “Pajamas are the official uniform of dreamers, coffee drinkers, pancake eaters, weekend snoozers, book readers, and late night movie watchers. Pajamas are for unwinding, reflecting, and relaxing. PJs are the go-to garb for some of life’s best moments.” Amanda knows a lot about the pajamas, branding, creativity, and building a successful business.
What inspired you to start Tink + Tiger?
A deep rooted desire to do my own thing and not live in a cubicle.
How would you explain Tink + Tiger in a few sentences?
Tink + Tiger is a line of pajamas. It’s meant to be go-to garb for weekends and all of life’s other off duty moments.
I am fascinated by how people come up with their company’s name. Is there a story behind the name Tink + Tiger?
There is. Back in 2013, a good family friend was calling me Tiger Lily. Around the same time, I had a conversation with my mom about how not enough people were/are making great pajamas and “Tink + Tiger” came to me on the spot – the idea being that both Tinker Bell and Tiger Lily are two minor characters from Neverland and T+T is meant to be worn while dreaming. The name stuck and the rest is history. Short history, but still history.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own business?
Make sure you really want to do it. Listen to everyone’s advice. Listen to no one’s advice.
What is a typical day like for you?
I think one of my favorite things about doing this is that there isn’t really a typical day. I wake up, I drink tea or coffee, depending on my mood, and then who knows? Tink + Tiger is just about one year old, so I’m still kind of feeling out what the day to day is like. The land of small business is funny. It forces you to wear a lot of hats.
What are some of the best things, and on the flip side the most challenging things, about starting your own business?
The best things include getting to be your own boss, making your own schedule, getting to make final decisions. I also love that it allows me to meet and work with a lot of really interesting people. The challenging things include making financial decisions. I’ve learned that just about everything costs more than you want it to. There are limitations that come along with being a small business. We don’t have the same resources that bigger companies have. The silver lining is that limited resources force creativity.
What advice do you have for someone who hopes to start their own fashion line?
I would tell them to make sure that they are serious about it. It’s not really something you can do casually. I also don’t know if I feel like I should be lumped into being labeled a fashion line. One of the great things about being in a category like pajamas is being able to keep a distance from runway fashion. I have so much respect for technical designers who can truly create wearable art, but I’m not one of them. I see myself much more as a small business owner, trying to create something that makes people happy.
Your website, personal blog, and social media profiles have such beautiful photography and branding. What role do you think social media and branding has played in growing your business? Do you have any advice for people who hope to develop their brand and following?
First, thank you! Other than the pajamas themselves, I’ve definitely put the most time, effort, and love into this part of Tink + Tiger. It’s far from perfect, but I’m proud of it because I’ve done just about all of it myself. I think that ‘social media and branding’ is kind of everything these days. It’s easy to knock social media, but at the end of the day, I’m really thankful to be living in an era that empowers creative people. These days we have so many tools at our fingertips – it definitely helps level the playing field between big business and small business. I also feel like I could still use some advice. I don’t understand how some people get such a huge social media following when their aesthetic is mediocre at best. I would say that my advice is to keep doing your best, keep looking for inspiration, and be open minded to advice from other people. Aren’t we all still learning what to do with social media?
Your lookbook and Instagram profile really show the lifestyle of someone who wears Tink + Tiger. It reminds me of brands like Warby Parker or Kate Spade. How do you use photography and styling to tell a story?
Again, thank you. I still feel like there’s so much potential for T+T to do more of this and to just generally do better. But, I definitely believe in the importance of creating a story and a vibe that surrounds a brand. I’ve been trying to use the Instagram to show people things I’m seeing and pulling inspiration from so that even if the product line isn’t huge, it’s about more than that.
What is one thing that you wish you had known when you were starting out your career?
Ha! I wish I had known a LOT of things….But one thing: This might sound cynical and I don’t want it to, but it’s true. When I started T+T I wish I had known that things that cost more aren’t always better. For example, photography or PR. Both are really valuable to a business like T+T, but a higher price tag doesn’t mean you get something better. I’m always trying to be better about saying: Okay, what can I spend on ‘x’? – what do I want to spend on ‘x’? – And, with ‘x’ amount of money, what is the best I can do?
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
A lot can happen in five years. I don’t know where I’ll be, but I hope that it’s somewhere good and I hope that I’m happy.
What advice would you give to someone who is in the first five years of their career?
I’m still in the first five years of mine. I guess this is year four. I still need all of the advice I can get. I try to stand up for millennials as much as I can because I really like our generation. I think we are hardworking. I think we are optimistic. I like that we don’t accept doing things the same way because ‘that’s how it’s always been done’. I guess my advice would be to just keep going, keep making things, keep chasing things make you happy.
How would you define your professional style? What are a few staples (other than the perfect pair of PJs)?
If I get to a place where I can wear pajamas whenever I want, then I will know that I’ve made it (haha). When it comes to professional style, I’m big on great basics. I wear blue or black jeans just about every day. On top of that, I’m a tee shirt or tank and sweater girl. I like black, white, navy, camel, grey, blush. I live in the neutral zone. I like the idea of a closet that’s almost completely interchangeable. I think I’m working towards that. I like clothes that don’t overshadow the person wearing them.
What is on your desk right now?
A stack of magazines and coffee table books. Some speakers that get pretty loud. Fabric swatches. A couple notebooks and a few pens. My Macbook, the all-star.
Where do you turn for inspiration?
A lot of my clearest thinking happens when I’m running. A lot of times, if I hit a wall creatively, I go for a run. I think some of my best ideas have occurred to me while running. But, as far as things that inspire me go, I’m a sucker for the outdoors – for places, for travel. I was just in LA the week before last and simply taking in a different color palette really got my brain going.
Who is your mentor?
It has to be my mom.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Tell it like it is.
What is a fun fact about you?
I’m currently doing all of my own photography and I’m involved in a budding reclaimed furniture business. And… I’m weirdly good at juggling and hoola hooping.
What advice do you have for other young professional women?
Take no prisoners. Take yourself seriously but don’t forget to have fun.
What is your favorite quote?
Two that I use quite a bit are: “It’s not where you take things from – It’s where you take them to.” from Jean-Luc Godard, and “Everything becomes creative if the person doing the job is.” from Sidney Lumet.
Thank you, Amanda! (Special thanks to Ellie for introducing us!)
You can follow Tink + Tiger on Instagram and Twitter.
Images via Amanda Greeley.