Hi, Tell us your name, what you do, and about your business.
Guten Tag! Namaste! Bonjour! Hello! My name is Tiffany Reimer and I am the creator of Passport 4 Change.
Passport 4 Change is an educational tooth fairy adventure that takes children’s imaginations around the world while teaching them about geography, math, time zones, foreign currency exchange and exposes them to different cultures and traditions.
What’s your own background. Were you always proficient in this business, or did it just strike your mind one fine day?
In my real life, I am a Flight Attendant and my husband is a Commercial Airline Pilot and we love to spend our days of traveling around the world. We have traveled to more than 60 countries with still so many more on our list of places we want to explore.
One day, I asked my 5-year-old niece where she would go if she could go anywhere in the world. Her reply, “Target!”
Wanting to make her world bigger I created a traveling tooth fairy adventure named Passport 4 Change. My educational tooth fairy kits include 20 real foreign coins, a colorful world map, a passport book to store the coins, and an optional tooth fairy pillow.
I gave the first kit to my sister and a few weeks later my niece called to tell me that the tooth fairy had just been in England having tea with the Queen and she left her some British pounds.
For each tooth lost, she receives a real coin from a different country sparking an interest in different parts of the world, potentially opening up a dialogue about different cultures, time zones, languages, superstitions, inventions, indigenous animals, and traditions.
What went into designing the initial product? Can you take us through the actual process?
After a few more visits from the traveling tooth fairy, I learned that my niece approached a boy in her school who wore a turban, introduced herself, told him that the tooth fairy had brought her a coin from India, and asked the boy to tell her about his country. This was when I knew my tooth fairy idea was something that could change how children viewed the world.
My idea turned out to be a great success so I built a website and started selling my educational (and fun!) tooth fairy kits. I offer different kit options that I named the Business Class kit and my biggest seller, the 1st Class kit.
I now sell approximately $8,000 a month on the side while continuing to fly around the world as a flight attendant collecting the coins. One day I hope to be a part of every child’s tooth fairy adventure!
Talk us through the process of the launch of your business
I hadn’t the first clue how to start or run a business. I was a terrible student in school and dropped out of my 1st semester of college. After many sleepless nights and my brain working on overdrive as to how I would obtain my inventory, design a website, and market this traveling tooth fairy while maintaining a tight budget.
Slowly my business started to grow. I started selling product and I was getting positive feedback from my customers. Customers were tagging #Passport4Change and sharing their child’s tooth fairy adventures on social media and in turn, my sales grew. My business plan has changed significantly from where I started. I’ve learned to be flexible, change, and grow as the business does.
I needed to become an expert in every facet of my business which was a steep learning curve and not always fun. I never wanted to go in debt with my business. I have been offered loans from investors and people who believe in my mission but I haven’t accepted any money from anyone. Even if my business grows slowly, I never wanted the added stress of owing money.
With the help of a graphic designer, I designed an easy to read, colorful map that would be eye-catching. My laminated map doubles as a placemat for kids on my private flights. I had the map copyrighted which was a process in itself.
Having a good copyright attorney is essential. I didn’t start with a lot of money so I had to make sure I did everything right the first time which took a lot of thought and planning. Every time I would make a sale, I would use that income to upgrade my materials and products. I recently upgraded the tags that are attached to each coin with a description of where the coin came from and something unique about the country.
Obtaining the coins posed another challenge. You can’t just walk into a bank and get foreign coins. I have to travel to these countries and go into banks and ask for coins. Children lose 20 baby teeth so that means I have to travel to over 20 countries in search of these coins.
Working as a Flight Attendant makes it easier for me to travel to these countries. Getting coins in some countries is easier than in others. Argentina has a coin shortage so I had to work extra hard while I was there to collect enough coins to add to my kits. Also, the number of coins I bring home are very heavy so I have to get creative when packing for my trips.
My husband helped me design my first website. We aren’t tech-savvy and this sometimes frustrating task became our new job. We did a bunch of research and launched a basic website that brought in sales. When I made enough money selling my products, I hired a professional web designer to clean up my site. Most recently, I hired a marketing team that has helped me with my SEO and online presence.
How is your repeat customer rate like? Can you take us through how you attract and retain customers?
Up until just recently, my sales have come from word of mouth. My target customers are moms with kids ages 4-7 and grandparents buying as gifts.
Marketing has been difficult because this tooth fairy concept hasn’t been done before. People are hooked once I tell my story and it’s been yet another challenge trying to find a way to keep costs down while trying to get my story out there. I’ve had to learn to not be shy and really put myself out there and tell my story every chance I get.
My biggest marketing boost comes from Moms sharing their child’s tooth fairy adventures on social media. Kids are so excited to share that they received a coin from say India or Russia. Kids also love to take their coins to school for show and tell.
I have had to adapt to what works and change what hasn’t. I have to listen to my customers to provide a quality product they want to buy. In an effort to stay connected with my existing customers, I routinely reach out when I’ve had an update to my product and offer to send them he new and improved item at no charge.
As a woman founder, do you see this as only financially uplifting? Or otherwise too? If yes, then how?
I like where I am in my business today. I’m enjoying my part-time flying while managing the business on the side. I have a system that works.
I have a little help at home filling orders when I am flying. I’m lucky that I can step away as my kits are assembled and are ready to be shipped out as soon as an order comes in.
Eventually I’d like to see the business to be my main source of income but for now, I enjoy patiently watching it grow.
My products are currently only sold online; they won’t work in the ultra-competitive retail space just yet, as I need a much larger budget to occupy the shelf space and marketing required to garner enough attention to make it worthwhile.
Which are some resources, books, articles or podcasts that have been useful to you, and would share with your readers
I read [Chris Guillebeau’s “Side Hustle”] which is a great book with a ton of resources.
Another fantastic book I read was [Blake Mycoskie’s “Start Something That Matters”] Blake has written such an inspiring and encouraging story and I highly recommend it.
My recommendation is that other first-time side hustlers be as active as possible in local meet-ups and networking events.
These have helped me both in brainstorming product enhancements and in getting the word out with limited funds for marketing.
Many times, women feel that businesses are for only for men. What’s your take?
I grew up being told we are all equal and the same, but my travels showed me that we should celebrate our differences! Something like this could really change the way kids and their parents view others who may look different or speak than them selves.
As far as the screwed up thought that businesses are only for men, I can only be thankful that I was raised in the family and country I was born into, and that idea was NEVER part of my world.
I know that I’m not an expert in everything but that hasn’t ever stopped me from pursuing my desires and dreams. I just decided as I write this article, that not taking “No” for an answer is one of my best qualities. Everyday, I continue to learn and live my best life despite my gender.
Looking to kick start your own venture?
Hi! This is Misha?
I interview women founders in building profitable businesses??
My idea is for other women to get inspired by these actionable tell-all stories and start their own profitable enterprises.
I am hugely inspired by inspirational interview series starters like IndieHackers, StarterStory by Pat Walls, Failory, SpaceBandits and have put significant efforts in reaching out to women founders in order to get started.