Like many moms, Melissa Clayton is a problem solver. If something can be improved upon, she improves it. If there’s a solution waiting to be found, she finds it and makes it work, no matter the situation. But what sets her apart from most, is her drive, tenacity, and passion to transform these solutions into full-fledged, successful businesses. Her first foray into entrepreneurship came via Tiny Tags, the beautiful jewelry company she founded to commemorate a mother’s love for her children. Tiny Tags has been featured in PeopleStyleWatch, Glamour Magazine and on the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda. The brand has also received accolades from Lucie’s List, Project Nursery, Real Simple, and is a favorite among celebrities like Tiffani Thiessen, Selma Blair, and Amy Davidson.
Next up was The Matte, a simple yet ingenious product derived out of a need for more counter space. Not only did this product revolutionize bathroom counters world over, it was a finalist on the Today Show‘s 2016 “Today’s Next Big Thing” contest. On top of running two businesses, Melissa is also raising three young boys, teaching them valuable lessons on how to be men of the world. Pretty impressive, if you ask me. But don’t take my word, read on to see what inspires Melissa to keep at it, day in and day out.
Tell us about how both Tiny Tags and The Matte came to fruition:
Tiny Tags came about because, like every mom, I adore my children and wanted a beautiful piece of jewelry to celebrate them. When I looked around for this beautiful piece, I found that most of the “mommy jewelry” out there was hand-stamped and didn’t look like a forever piece. I wanted Tiny Tags to be the forever necklace that moms could wear with a little black dress or with their favorite T-shirt and jeans. Tiny Tags are made to last forever, with over fourteen artisans involved in every single tag, and every tag guaranteed for life. Plus, they are beautiful! I still get teary eyed when I think of moms opening a Tiny Tags box and the significance behind every Tiny Tags.
The Matte came out of pure necessity because I literally couldn’t stand putting my hairdryer on the toilet (We have three boys—need I say more?) and knew my bathroom wasn’t getting any bigger. I knew there had to be a way to cover the sink so I could have more counter space. The answer was The Matte, a uniquely designed mat large enough to cover a sink and able to hold two pounds of weight, yet small enough to fold up to approximately the size of an iPad.
What is the most rewarding thing about being your own boss? The most challenging?
The most rewarding is getting to make my own schedule. I work in the early morning, then pause to spend the morning with the boys and get them off to school, then go back to work. The most challenging is shutting it off and disconnecting. I know I am not alone on this one! I try to leave my laptop in my office and shut my cell phone off at night. One thing I am good at is never bringing my cell phone into my bedroom.
How has running your own business changed your outlook on life?
It makes me believe that if you have passion, you can do anything.
Best part of the job:
Connecting with other moms. I have cried tears of joy and tears of sorrow with many moms. I always feel so honored that Tiny Tags is part of celebrating and honoring our precious children.
Most surprising part of the job:
That as a jewelry-company owner, I spend most of my day on a computer!
Current jewelry and beauty trends you’re loving:
Rose gold has really come back and I love it!
As far as beauty goes, I adore all of the “clean” skin-care and cosmetic lines that are coming out.
Three items every woman should have:
My must-have’s are: Eckhart Tolle ‘s book, A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose (a hard read, but so worth it), a best friend (I am lucky to have two sisters who are mine), and a subscription to O, The Oprah Magazine (always inspiring).
Three tips for making the most of a small space when using The Matte:
Always make sure the toilet seat is down. You never know when something will slip off the counter!
Leave the matte out, clueing your husband to use a guest-room or kids’ bathroom instead.
Keep makeup brushes in a separate bag to extend their shelf life and keep them free of dust.
Advice you’d give to other female entrepreneurs looking to start their own companies:
Most industries have trade organizations that are there to support those in that particular line of work. Call them and ask for support. Also, there are dozens of not-for-profit organizations out there to support female entrepreneurs Pick up the phone and ask for guidance.
Motto you live by:
Attitude is everything.