It's pretty undisputed that 2016 was a rough year. Not only was it a leap year, which is notoriously wrought with bad vibes, but it was also the year of the monkey, which for the Chinese means it’s a tricky time to say the least. Bottom line is 2016 was a year that tested our very humanity. We experienced a litany of emotions, and a lot of deeply upsetting and unsettling news headlines. Through it all we told ourselves it couldn't get worse, and it always seemed to.
As we turn the corner into 2017, we looked back at the 13 reasons we are ready to bid adieu to this year, and step boldly into the next.
The Bad News
1. Brexit Sets The Tone
The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, and caused an unexpected ripple effect in the global economy. Experts say that Brexit has already caused volatility in global stock markets and affected the value of the dollar, which on one hand makes it stronger, but on the other means product prices also go up, causing a negative effect for US trade and manufacturing. Brexit really set the tone for a year of unprecedented global happenings, which are still unfolding now.
2. Angelina and Brad Call It Quits
Courtesy of International Business Times
We were in shock when we found out Hollywood’s most beautiful, philanthropic-minded, child-rearing couple called it quits. The effervescent “cool but hot girl” and the handsome chill husband seemed the perfect pair, even for the most dubious believers of happy endings. We admit that the multitude of Jennifer Aniston memes were funny, but they couldn’t make the shock go away, and we were all left wondering who will be our everlasting Hollywood love story after all?
3. Election Disaster
Nothing has felt exactly the same since November 11. After prepping to welcome the first female president with premature election parties around the country, millions were left with gaping mouths as Presidential underdog Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in a stunning election upset. And upset we were. For those looking for silver linings, there has been an impressive rise in grassroots efforts which will benefit important causes concerned citizens are committed to keeping around regardless of who sits in the White House.
4. The Swell of Terrorism
From the horrific events in Nice and Brussels to the tragedy which unfolded at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, our hearts were shattered over and over this year as we watched a swell in violence like we’ve not seen before. We encourage everyone to donate to causes that help support our friends in Syria, as well as any victims from this past year’s detestable levels of violence.
5. Samsung and Apple’s “7” Editions
Although the new iPhone didn’t spontaneously combust like more than 100 Samsung Galaxy Notes 7 did, we weren’t fans of Apple's “upgraded” design and lack of a headphone jack. And the headphones themselves? We lost them before we even bought them.
6. Wells Fargo Sells Our Souls
7. Zika Virus Panic
8. Saying Goodbye To Legends
9. Pokemon Go Interrupts Human Life
10. Nasty Gal Bubble Pops
I have always been in love with all things art- I was obsessed with drawing and painting before I was even walking. In high school, I started a career selling art through various gallery art shows and on Etsy. I then went on to study fine arts at the University of Southern California, with an emphasis in painting, but took classes in ceramics, printmaking, cinema and architecture to get a really well-rounded education on all sorts of art.
During my senior year of college, my career path went through a huge transition; I started my own temporary tattoo brand, INKED by Dani, which is a brand of temporary tattoos based on my hand-drawn fine art designs.
The idea for the brand came one night after a themed party at college. My friends, knowing how much I loved drawing, asked me to cover them in hand-drawn doodles using eyeliner. The feedback from that night was overwhelming, everyone my friends saw that night was obsessed with the designs. In that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head... I could do some completely unique here and create chic temporary tattoos with an art-driven aesthetic, unlike anything else on the market. Other temporary tattoo brands were targeted to kids or lacked a sleek and millennial-driven look. It was a perfect pivot; I could utilize my fine arts training and tattoos as a new art medium to create a completely innovative brand.
Using the money I made from selling my artwork throughout high school and college, I funded the launch of INKED by Dani. I had always loved the look of dainty tattoos, but knew I could never commit to the real thing, and I knew my parents would kill me if I got a tattoo (I also knew that so many girls must have that same conflict). Starting INKED by Dani was a no-brainer.
I started off with a collection of about only 10 designs and sold them at sorority houses around USC. Our unique concept for on-trend and fashion-forward tattoos was spreading through word of mouth, and we quickly started growing an Instagram following. I was hustling all day from my room, cold calling retailers, sending blind samples and tons of emails, and trying to open up as many opportunities as I could.
Now, we're sold at over 10,000 retail locations (retailers include Target, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Hot Topic), and we've transformed temporary tattoos into a whole new form of wearable art.
My 4 best tips for starting your own business are:
- Just go with your gut! You'll never know what works until you try it. Go day by day and do everything in your power to work toward your goals. Be bold, but be sure to be thoughtful in your actions.
- Research your competitors and other successful brands in your category to determine how you can make your product stand out. Figure out where there is a need or hole in the market that your new offering or approach can fill.
- Don't spread yourself too thin. Delegate where possible, and stay focused each day on doing the best and most you can. Don't get too caught up in your end goal or the big picture to a point where it overwhelms or freezes you. You're already making a bold move to start something new, so try to prioritize what's important! I started off in the beginning hand packing every single tattoo pack that we sold and shipped. If I wanted to scale to align with the level of demand we were receiving, I needed to make the pivot to mass produce and relinquish the control of doing every step myself. I am a total perfectionist, so that was definitely hard! From that point on, overseeing production has been a huge part of my daily schedule, but by doing so I've been able to free up more time to focus on design, merchandising, and sales, allowing me to really focus on growing the business.
- Prioritize great product packaging and branding. It's so important to invest time in customer experience- how customers view and interact with your product. The packaging is just as important as the actual product inside! When we were starting off, we had high demand, and I definitely jumped the gun a bit on packaging so we could deliver product to the retailers when they wanted it. Since then, we've completely revamped the packaging into something upscale and unique that reflects what the brand is all about. Our product packaging is always called out as being one of our retailers' and customers' favorite part of our product!