Tell us about yourself?
I am the founder of Tellinga. I graduated from Texas Tech in 2009 and from Rice University in 2019.
What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?
Know your digital marketing. Be good with all people. Put in at least 1 hour of work per day even if you can’t stand it.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Hire skilled people earlier. Spend more time researching market landscape. Leverage mentors in similar industry. Try to hire tech person and digital marketing person.
A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?
Extremely difficult because even when you are on personal time, you are thinking about your startup.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
In 2018, I started attending Rice University as an MBA candidate. Already equipped with a career, and now maintaining a new MBA workload proved to be a tall task.
I noticed that all my free time started to slip away, and so did a lot of my relationships with friends and family.
To keep in touch, I started sending them mail art stories. mail art, also known as postal art and correspondence art, is an artistic movement centered on sending small-scale works through the postal service.
I would draw pictures in story form and snail mail them out to loved ones piece by piece over time. Imagine a comic or any book with images being taken apart page by page and then those pages snail mailed out one by one throughout weeks or even months!
For my friends and family, it was always a way to stay connected and create fun, personalized stories so that they could look forward to checking their mailboxes every day.
My family and friends always enjoyed these stories because they were always goofy, consistently sent over time, and they were always drawn as the main characters in their own personalized “mailbox movie.”
For example, I sent the first two to my brother and mother when I started attending Rice University. The story about my brother was based on a running joke we shared about a trip to see the Kansas City Chiefs training camp in Wisconsin; my then-teenage brother asked tight end (Tony Gonzalez) to autograph his ball while fake crying about having come all the way from Houston to get his signature. The one to my mom referenced one of her nicknames: “Queen Mamadala,” a play off of Queen Amidala from Star Wars.
What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?
Our value to customers. The price they pay for what they receive. We create a product that is so unique that customers will.enjoy it for a lifetime.
How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?
Hire a dedicated digital marketer in-house and then contract all digital marketing activity through that hire.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
Sales an digital marketing. Spent 6 months learning SEO/SEM on Youtube. We overcame it by hiring interns to write blog posts.
What do you consider are the main strengths of operating your business in Texas over other states in the US?
Texas is truly the land of the free and home of the badasses.
Are there any disadvantages of operating our business in Texas?
None. Texas is amazing and everyone should move here.
Texas has a pretty diverse population. How have you found the quickly changing demographics have impacted your business? Have you got new opportunities? Managed to expand your business into new areas?
Diversity is key. We have shipped orders to over 65 countries
It is often reported that, in Texas, politics and business are intertwined. Have you noticed this? Has it impacted your business?
Not at all. We are pretty disconnected from the political realm and just focus on the things in front of us.
With rising prices across Texas (and the US as a whole) have you been impacted? Do you have a plan for dealing with inflation going forward?
No plans. We like our margins and cost of goods. We have no inflationary plans.
What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years with your business?
Partner with a leading portrait and greeting card companies.
And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?
Visit Tellinga.com and send us a message. You can also check out our social media platforms including Intagram, Facebook, and Tiktok @tellingadtories. Send an email to [email protected] and let us know what you would like to do. We look forward to hearing from you soon.