Tyler Grove of Tagged Swim on making an impact in the swimwear space with sustainable, locally sourced materials

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Describe your business in a few words?

Tagged Swim is a luxury swimwear line without the traditional price point. We use sustainable, locally sourced materials and work with a woman run factory to support female jobs in Bali.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I always knew I wanted to start my own business. Since the age of 10 I had been talking about designing my own swimwear line. After working in a more corporate setting for a few years, I finally felt like I had the skills to really dive in and make an impact in the swimwear space.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I went to Boston University for grad school and got a degree in Media Ventures – pretty much a fancy name for an MBA with a focus in media. I moved to LA with no job at age 22, and found myself working for a travel start up. They didn’t have a marketing person at the time, so I fell into the role. I realized I loved the marketing industry and after over a year of working at a startup, decided I wanted to try an agency. I got a job at Hawke Media in LA, which I worked at for over 2 years prior to starting Tagged Swim.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Absolutely – no question about it. I feel like I was always trying to start new businesses as a kid. Whether it was making/selling jewelry or selling lemonade, I was always trying to find a unique way to turn a profit. My parents always told me to question everything and never settle, which I think was the foundation for my entrepreneurial spirit. 

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

It’s all about the build up. I always tell entrepreneurs, the most important time to market your business is BEFORE it launches. You want to create a demand for your product or service prior to it being available so that when it launches, people have been seeing your product already, know what they want and can immediately buy. It creates a kind of limited edition buzz effect. 

For our launch, I brought my followers through the entire journey of launching Tagged. They knew when I got my first samples, when I was picking out color ways and when I was doing our first photoshoot. I gave them an inside look that most brands don’t reveal. By doing this, I made our followers and customers have a more emotional attachment to the brand. So when the time finally came to launch, we sold out of almost all styles in the first few days – which was supposed to be our inventory for the next 3 months.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

One of the biggest challenges of starting your own business is trying to do everything all at once. I learned very quickly that being slow and consistent is far better than the speed. Those who love your brand and want to buy will be patient.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

Funding and launching Tagged Swim all on my own. Tagged is a completely self funded company and I couldn’t be more proud of that fact. I think there is something to be said about starting small, doing it yourself and learning through your mistakes when starting your own business. When you have your first sold out item, it makes every ounce of hard work feel like it paid off.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

I can’t wait till we can hire our first employee at Tagged! My go-to interview question would be: 

“Name a time you brought your own idea to the table at work, how you came up with the idea, prepared for it and what made you present it?” 

For a small business, it is so important to have people on your team that can think for themselves and bring unique ideas to the table.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We actually launched in the middle of COVID-19, which was clearly not planned! So the pandemic has had many impacts on our business from late shipments, to not being able to use models, to canceled photoshoots, not being able to do pop-ups and the list goes on. Can’t wait for the summer and hopefully the pandemic to be over!

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

We have a lot up our sleeves! I can’t reveal too much just yet, but swimwear is just the start of what we have in mind for Tagged!

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

Slow down and appreciate the little things.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

There is no right way to do things, you just need to start and learn along the way.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

Working out, taking time for myself everyday and eating! I find so much comfort in food. Every week I try to make a new recipe or try to go from a new restaurant. Little things like this make me feel grounded.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

I do not think there is such a thing as work life balance – your hours as an entrepreneur will always be more heavily work. So instead of work/life balance, I try to strive for work/life harmony. I find ways to make my work be part of my life, and my life part of my work. Making them work together as one and play off one another is so important for me. For example – we try to do all our photoshoots in locations I personally want to travel to or experience!

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I was a level 10 gymnast!

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

Don’t overwhelm yourself with everything you need to accomplish in one day. Start with your 3 biggest tasks and work from there. 

Give yourself strict time slots to get things done.

Take breaks! I know it sounds contradicting, but giving your brain room to breath is so important. So take a 30 minute walk, leave your phone at home and I guarantee you will come back with a new spirit to finish your tasks for the day.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

It means building something that is uniquely you and showing younger generations to follow their dreams.

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