#36: Storytelling with Dina & Dom of Teazled LGBT Greeting Cards [Podcast] Skip to the content

#36: Storytelling with Dina & Dom of Teazled LGBT Greeting Cards [Podcast]

To listen to this audio podcast please click the play button on the left above. Or subscribe to the free podcast in iTunes today!

 

 

Below are the items mentioned in this episode of the podcast.

NGLCC Conference But you Don’t Look Gay Liberty Print Co. Fusion Print & Web Design jenntgrace.com/webinars Gay Marketing Insider mailing list 30 Day, 30 Voices – Stories from America’s LGBT Business Leaders

Are you listening to this podcast from your computer? Would you like to be listening while walking, jogging or driving in the car? You can subscribe in iTunes by going here; Jenntgrace.com/iTunes Teazled

Check out the sponsors of this podcast, the Human Performance Academy’s, new podcast at Mentalcompass.com

You can get in touch with Dina & Dom here:

www.teazled.com

855-4-Tell-Them

Online Training Course – www.authenticgaymarketing.com

 

Would you prefer to read the transcript than listen to the episode? No problem! Read the transcript below.

AUDIO TITLE: Episode #36 – Teazled Interview

AUDIO START: [0:00:00]

 

Jenn T Grace:

You are listening to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast, episode 36.

Intro:

Welcome to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast where you’ll learn how to do business with and market to the LGBT community in an authentic and transparent way. We’re talking about the $790 billion lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community. We’ll help you grow your business, gain market share and impact your bottom line. And now your host – she’s an entrepreneur, a marketing maven and an advocate for the LGBT business community. Jenn, with two N’s, T. Grace

Jenn T Grace:

Well hello and welcome to episode number 36 of the podcast. I am your host, Jenn Grace, and today I have an interview with you from a couple of folks that you have probably heard of, because you are listeners of this podcast, so you’ve probably heard the commercial for Teazled Greeting Cards in the past, or possibly seen them on my website. But I am interviewing the co-owners Dina and Dina of Teazled on today’s show, so I’m pretty excited to bring that to you. However, I do have a list of announcements. I actually have a handful of things, moreso than usual today to just kind of bring you up to speed on before we get into the meat of the episode. So why don’t I just dive in, I don’t want to take up more time than necessary for you today, so let me just kind of hop right into it.

So my first really exciting piece of news is the fact that my second book is almost complete. I am within just a couple of days of sending it over to an editor who is going to clean it up, make sure everything flows properly looks great, sounds how I want it to, et cetera. So I’ve been on a pretty tight timeline in getting that done, because I have wanted to make sure that I have the new book ready for me for when I go to the NGLCC conference at the end of July. So the NGLCC being the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. It is hands down my favorite event to attend yearly, and this year it happens to be in sunny Las Vegas, hot and sunny Las Vegas at the end of July. So that should be an interesting time for my pale skin to be scorched undoubtedly. But I’m sure there will be many, many business opportunities, networking opportunities, and I wanted to make sure that I have my new book available when I go to this. So I’m really excited about that, I just actually started really, really working on it in the end of April, and I’m actually already complete with it. So I’m really excited about that. The one small caveat with the book is the fact that I do not have a name for it still. So the last book I wrote which was titled ‘But You Don’t Look Gay,’ and shameless plug, it’s on Amazon available. I had the name of that book well in advance of having the content for that book, and now this second time around I have all of the content and no name. And I’m finding it to be actually pretty difficult to figure out the best possible name for it. So I’m working on that, however as my loyal podcast listeners, if you have any suggestions, please feel free to send them over to me. I would love to hear what your thoughts might be. As a general idea of what the book is about, it’s really about communicating, about proper communications, effectively communicating. I do cover the seven deadly sins of ineffective communications, which I have talked about on this podcast, I’ve also talked about it in my monthly webinars, I’ve spoken around the country and internationally about it. So it definitely will cover that as well, so it’s really about communicating. So if you can think of any book title that might make sense, I would love to hear from you. And you can reach out to me any way possible that works for you, just feel free to find me and send over your thoughts, I would love to hear them.

So the other thing that I’m really excited about, I’m working on a lot of stuff it seems in May and I’m not really sure what prompted me to be so aggressive. But I also will be unveiling some new branding in the next coming weeks I would say. I hired somebody who is amazing to design me a logo, because believe it or not, this seems like such a thing that a marketer shouldn’t do, but believe it or not I have not had an official, formal logo for my company since starting this particular endeavor in November of 2012. So I’ve been operating without a logo, not really knowing if I wanted to or not, I’ve had some colors and some branding, and I finally just said, “You know what? I need to have a logo.” So I have hired a dear friend of mine, Monica, who has a screen printing company in addition to being a graphic designer. She and her wife Holly are co-owners of Liberty Print Co., which I will include a link to their business in the show notes for today’s podcast, which you can find at www.JennTGrace.com/36 for episode number 36. So I’m really excited to be unveiling the logo, hopefully pretty soon. So that’s really, really super exciting.

So the third and final piece of really exciting news is the fact that I am working on a new website. So hopefully I will have a new website unveiled in the next couple of months, and I’m using another dear friend of mine named Chris who is a web designer, graphic designer, she also does some actual printing, and her company is called Fusion Print and Web Design, I believe. I could be wrong and my Internet’s not working at the moment so I can’t even check. But her web- I will include a link to her website on the show notes of today’s podcast as well. So as I said before, it’s www.JennTGrace.com/36 and you can check out all the great work that Chris and Monica both do. And not only do they help me with my stuff, but they also help me with a lot of my clients’ work as well. So if you are listening to this and you are in need of either of their services, please reach out and ask because I am more than happy to introduce you to both of them because they are absolutely fantastic at what they do. So I’m very grateful to have them both on my team helping me redesign my brand, redesign my website, and ultimately the purpose is to make it more functional for you to find the content that you are looking for on my website. So ultimately that’s what I’m after, is to make it easier for you to find more of my information.

So yeah, that’s a lot of stuff that I have going on that I’m really excited about. And of course I always mention this to you, but if you are looking to take your marketing initiatives to the next level, and you’re looking for some resources, I highly encourage you to attend my live webinar, which the next one happens to be on June 17th at 2:00 eastern time. And you can RSVP by going to www.JennTGrace.com/webinars, and it’s pretty easy to just sign up. And if you sign up and you can’t make it, it’s not a problem because I can send out a link of the recording after the fact, so I’m more than happy to do that for you.

And then lastly if you just want to be able to keep in touch with all of the things that are going on, because I know there are so many different things that I’m always talking about that I’m up to; feel free to just join my mailing list, which is the Gay Marketing Insider, and you’ll be able to basically just stay in touch with what’s going on without being overwhelmed or bombarded with a ton of emails, because I really am cautious with the amount of emails I send to you, because I don’t want to overwhelm you, and I want you to read them and not feel like you have to delete them because I’m just sending too many. So I only send one a month or so.

So please, I encourage you to take advantage of that because I do deliver some- I think some good content on a regular basis for you, which ultimately I’m trying to help your business grow by reaching out to the LGBT community the best way possible.

So now that I have yammered on and on for quite some time, I think we are close to getting into the interview for today. But I do want to just point out that today is May 29th, and this is the last podcast of May. However starting on June 1st, which is just around the corner, I have thirty days of podcast interviews lined up for every single day in June to celebrate Pride Month. So it is the Thirty Days, Thirty Voices: Stories from America’s LGBT Business Leaders. And you can listen to all thirty interviews, you can select interviews that make sense for your particular business, you could just randomly stumble upon one, two, or all thirty of them. Whatever you prefer, you are more than welcome to do. I spent a lot of time creating these interviews last year for pride month, and I have decided to put them out to the universe yet again to all of you because they were such a hit last year, and I’m sure many of you who are new listeners to this podcast haven’t got a chance to listen to them yet. So every day in June if you are subscribed in iTunes, you will get a notification that a new podcast is available, and I encourage you to listen to so much great advice that so many of these guests provided, and they were such good sports, and honestly if you really want to know how to market to the community the right way, hands down this is the way to find out, because these are advice and tidbits coming from experts in the field across the entire country who are doing amazing things for the LGBT community in business and marketing. So I encourage you to check it out.

But today I would like to have you listen to this fabulous interview with the Dina’s of Teazled, who also have some great advice on how to effectively market to the community. So without further ado, let’s dive into the interview with Dina and Dina from Teazled.

Alright so I am really, really excited to be talking to Dina and Dom today. They are the co-owners and founders of Teazled, which is an LGBT greeting card company. And I think by now if you are a listener of this podcast, or have been, at least heard at least the last podcast, you’ll know who they are because they are sponsors of this podcast, and you hear a little jingle from them on every episode that we have. So I thought it was only appropriate to finally get them on the horn today to talk with us about their business, what they do, all that kind of great stuff because they’re doing some really amazing things, and I’m happy to call them both friends. So Dina and Dom, are you there?

Dina:  

We’re here.

Jenn T Grace:

Nice, nice. So before I even ask you any question, I am going to go straight for the throat and ask you what ‘Dom’ means because I know that’s part of the Teazled story, and for listeners to understand that both of you are actually named Dina, and Dom, you’re just nicknamed Dom. So could you just share just for a second what that means?

Dom:

Well it’s difficult when we met, our first names are both Dina, and they’re actually both spelled the same. So when I met Dina, four kids were already in the relationship, and so we had to come up with kind of a way to differentiate us. And so we tried Mom and Momma, Mother and- all these different kinds of names, and nothing seemed to really fit. And Dina was so- wasn’t emotional enough I don’t think for them, and so-

Dina:

It didn’t really convey a parental relationship that they wanted truthfully.

Jenn T Grace:           

That makes sense.

Dom:

Right and so I think it was our oldest at the time was in high school and basically she was like, “Well you’re kind of a mom and a dad all wrapped up in one. Dom! You’re a dad-mom, you’re a Dom!” And finally something stuck, because ten years later here we are, and actually all my friends and family call me that now, it’s pretty funny.

Dina:                         

And professionally.

Dom:                         

And professionally, correct yeah.

Jenn T Grace:          

It’s pretty hilarious because I don’t know that I even knew that your name was Dina until probably not that long ago, and I feel like we’ve known each other for a couple of years at least. So yeah, I find that interesting. But yeah I wanted to come out of the gate with that, because it is part of the Teazled story, because I know that on your website it gives an explanation of what Dom stands for, and I know that it can be seen in some of your cards, because I’m sure this is a problem spot for many same sex parent households, right? Because it’s complicated and it’s difficult for children to figure out who to call what, and I know with my kids we both respond to pretty much anything, but we don’t have anything really- it’s Mom, Momma, Mommy, Mom-Jenn, Mom-Hey; like it’s all just variations of Mom, so it’d actually be nice if one of us were Dom, but that’s neither here nor there.

Dina:  I think it was losing the first name kind of a thing for our kids, and not wanting to call us Mom-D or Mom-Dina, or something like that. And it’s kind of funny because with the Mother’s Day holiday that just passed, and Father’s Day coming up, they were talking about- they didn’t give Dom anything for Mother’s Day, and so they decided that Dom’s Day should be right in between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Jenn T Grace:                      

That’s awesome, you can totally trademark. It’s Dom’s Day.

Dina:                         

Needs to be Dom’s Day, we’re going to have to work on that.

Jenn T Grace:          

You should, it’s for every LGBT household that has two same sex parents, it’s Dom’s Day, I like it. I’ll celebrate it. Tell me what the date is and we’ll go from there.

Dom: 

It’s got to be the Sunday between the two, so we’ve got to figure out-

Dina:                         

Let’s calculate that, yeah.

Jenn T Grace:          

That’s hilarious. Alright so let’s just start from square one with the two of you, and I would love for you to share a little bit more about yourselves, what your background is, kind of your story, and basically what the path looked like that led you to where you are today as the co-owners and founders of Teazled.

Dina:                         

Oh my wife is pointing to me, so I guess I will go.

Dom:                         

You love to tell our story.

Dina:                         

I do love to tell our story. So we’re both registered nurses, and as Dom mentioned when we came into our relationship, I came to the table with four kids and a dog, and a cat. And she came with a dog. So our first Mother’s Day our oldest daughter, Nicole, had talked about- she gave us a card that first Mother’s Day, and she talked about how she didn’t have a card that was appropriate to give to both of her moms. And she’s a very- she’s a social justice kind of a person, she ended up becoming a social worker. So here she is back in high school, and she’s complaining as the oldest of the four children it’s her responsibility to give us a card, and there’s nothing appropriate to give to us. At about- we kind of joke about how some day there should be something like that. And at about the same time, Dom’s mom was really struggling with- not that she had come out, but that she had chosen to live authentically. And that changed the dynamics and rules within their own family nucleus. And so there started to be some communication issues, and I think that many of us in the LGBT community experience that. So we have families that are totally accepting, we have families that are totally not accepting, and then we have some semblance of in between. And Dom happened to come from a family who was really not there yet. And the research that we’ve done shows that it takes an average of five years if a family is going to come around and be accepting, it’s at about that five year mark that you can see what’s really going to happen. So in the course of those first several years that we were together, we’ve got our daughter and our kids pushing for there to be cards that are appropriate for their family, because the coming out and the realization that they were part of an LGBT family was not an issue, but more the fact that their family was negated and didn’t have products that were appropriate for them was an issue. And at the same time Dom’s mom was not coping well, and so there was a breakdown in communication there as well. And so we joked about how someday we were going to have to fix that issue, and I know that it’s not something that other LGBT families haven’t experienced, we’ve all experienced and I’m sure we’ve all talked about the need, we’re all tired of having to cross off mustaches, or buy cards that have two animals on them that look like us, when that’s really not who we are.

Dom:                         

Add hair.

Dina: 

Add hair, cut off hair. Any of the semblance of the things that we’re faced with. And so actually our oldest daughter started keeping a journal then, so two journals were started really. The one Nicole kept about all of the things that we would sit at dinner and talk about, “Oh we should write a card that says this, oh we should write a card that says that.” And then there was the journal my mother-in-law kept that said- it was more about her grieving process and her losses, and at some point those two journals came together. So we went through some personal changes that we were faced with in life, health changes for myself actually. And I think it was then that we decided that life is really short, and you’re given an opportunity to make an impact in other people’s lives, and leave a legacy behind. And while we were faced with that as a family, I think we decided that once we came through that it would be time to begin to leave that legacy. So after we settled our issues, we made some very conscious decisions in life, and we decided to borrow from our 401k’s, which is the thing they tell you not to do when you’re entrepreneur. We did it and so two registered nurses, and we decided it was time to do what we needed for us to have as a family, and we knew that our other friends that were like ourselves were deserving. And so we pulled those two journals, the one where we talked about the cards that we all wanted to have, and my mother-in-law’s journal where there was grief and loss and all of those stages of grieving. As nurses we know need to be- we go through those in order to come to a place of acceptance. And so we took both of those journals and we began to write cards for all of the occasions that are important to us every day as an LGBTQ family, as well as coming out in support which are cards that came from my mother-in-law’s journal. So those cards are meant for creating that open dialogue between parent / child regardless of what age.

Jenn T Grace:          

Wow, I feel like this is so, so the norm of the entrepreneur where you see a particular need, and it’s something that you yourselves need, and you decide that you’re going to be the one that fulfills it, so that’s pretty awesome. It’s exciting to see what you’re doing, and your website is awesome, and you have a lot of cards to choose from. So it’s really- I didn’t realize- I feel like I’ve known your story but I didn’t realize the whole two journals kind of colliding into really becoming the makeup of the insides of the cards, so that’s pretty awesome.

Dina: 

And it kind of came all at about the same time. I was home recovering, and my mother-in-law happened to have a change in her life that was just very serendipitous. And I happened to place a phone call to her because we had talked- we had actually been to lunch with some friends of ours after church one day, and we talked about what their coping- what their family coping skills were about their stories. And actually I had placed a call to my mother-in-law just to kind of share and I truly didn’t think she was going to call back because things had really deteriorated, I mean really deteriorated. And that time when you think you need to give up, but you try one more time and damned if she didn’t pick up the phone and call me back within about twenty minutes. And in four hours, apologized for five years of struggling. And she went back to the very beginning, and it was very, very cathartic. And I think all of those things- you know that was happening while I was home recovering, and I think it was just time.

Jenn T Grace:          

It’s really interesting, and your story I feel like kind of is going into one of my other questions which is kind of around the coming out process. And we know that the coming out process is always different based on who you’re coming out to, and do you have a particular story of coming out? Whether it is with your family, or friends, or maybe in the workplace? Because I would imagine similar to me, my business revolves around LGBT. So for me I have to come out, but most of the time it’s not much of an issue because kind of when I get to wherever I’m going, people already kind of know that consider myself to be a professional lesbian, et cetera, et cetera. So your business is geared around the LGBT family, and LGBT greeting cards. So what is your coming out process look like? Do you each have any particular story or anecdote that you can kind of draw from?

Dina: 

Oh my gosh, we have so many because you know it seems like there’s that process- there’s the process of personally coming out, and the initial time that you share that, which is quite a journey for each of us individually. And then there’s- it seems like at times a repeated coming out, and some of those stories are quite amusing. So actually when I came out, I didn’t come out, my son made me come out.

Jenn T Grace:                      

Nice.

Dina:                         

JT was eleven, and Dom and I had become really close friends, and I don’t know that I had really truly identified it because I was kind of a later bloomer. I took the scenic route. And he comes to me one day, we’re sitting in the kitchen and JT is eleven years old and he says, “Mom, do you love Dina?” I thought and then I said, “Of course I love Dina, she’s one of my best friends.” And he looks at me kind of sarcastic, and you know JT so you can I’m sure envision his little persona. And he’s like, “No Mom, do you love her?”

Jenn T Grace:                      

From an eleven year old that’s awesome.

Dina: 

From an eleven year old. And I remember- and I don’t even know, hunny I don’t even know if you know that this happened. So we’re standing in the kitchen in that first house that we lived in, and I was leaning up against the kitchen sink, my back against the kitchen sink, and I remember just sliding down the cabinet and sitting on the floor.

Jenn T Grace:          

So it was kind of like an ‘ah-ha’ moment brought to you by your eleven year old child.

Dina:                         

When your eleven year old calls you out and you’re like, “Oh shit, he might be right.”

Jenn T Grace:          

Oh my God, that’s probably one of the best coming out stories I’ve heard.

Dina:                         

So that was probably the first time- that was probably that true ‘ah-ha’ moment for me. Although my wife calls me out on it- such an ass. So we’re both nurses and we’re sitting at the nurse’s station one day, a very large busy nurse’s station. And there’s all kinds of people. And so imagine like a film or a TV show, and so there’s all this banter back and forth. And Dom looks up to me and she goes, “Have you ever thought of being with another woman?” And everything stops. And you could hear a pin drop.

Dom:

It was like a screeching halt.

Jenn T Grace:          

I can so see you just being point blank like that, too. That is your style.

Dom:                         

The whole universe just stopped for that second.

Dina: 

So you can imagine my panic and dismay when she does that and I quickly put my head down and said, “No,” and went right back to work.

Dom:                         

I’d like to point out that her face is currently red right now.

Jenn T Grace:                      

I have no doubt.

Dina: 

Yeah so it’s been kind of interesting. Dom did not have a very positive coming out experience with her family.

Jenn T Grace:          

I was actually just going to ask you that because we have a little bit of comedy and entertainment from one of you, but that’s not always the case. So what was your experience, Dom? It doesn’t have to be with family, it could be with friends, it could be in the workplace, it be any coming out story that you wouldn’t mind sharing.

Dom: 

Truthfully one of my favorites is always when our kids were in daycare- in preschool, they had our son- our youngest son had become friends with another little boy, his name was JP, and they were inseparable. And so finally we decided these kids are getting along so well, and they really care about each other, and we need to meet up with the parents and see if we can get together. And so we had a birthday party for him at the bowling alley, and so we invited JP and his parents came just to meet them.

Dina: 

And Anthony’s like literally three, maybe. Yeah it was his third birthday, yeah.

Jenn T Grace:                      

That’s when they’re the most dangerous.

Dina:                         

Yeah.

Dom: 

And so we invited them to come to our home for dinner, and a playdate with the kids. So they happily accepted, and so they come over to the house and we’re all getting ready to sit down for dinner, and our friend Kim looks up at Dina and says, “So will your husband be joining us?” And like the whole room just like- it was one of those screeching moments again. Like what did she just say? Looked at her and said, “Well Dom’s my wife, and we’re a couple, and there’s no one else involved.”

Jenn T Grace:                      

Awkward.

Dina:                         

And then all of a sudden she goes, “Can you pass the green beans?”

Jenn T Grace:                      

Oh man.

Dom:                         

So funny.

Dina: 

And you know we’re still friends with them, and we still laugh about that. So yes and our kids have had to come out too because of that. And they have- I have to tell you as parents, and she’s actually a business owner. And so they really did quite well in how they helped their son assimilate to having a best friend who had two moms. So we would drop Anthony off at preschool and they’d be standing line, and we’d kiss Anthony goodbye. And so I remember one day somebody leaning forward to his best friend JP and saying, “Who’s that?” And JP turns around and looks at them like, “How dumb could you be?” And he looks, he goes, “Those are Anthony’s moms.”

Jenn T Grace:                      

They’re so matter of fact at that age.

Dina: 

Very matter of fact, yes. And it would be so nice if adults could be like that, it just is. But we sometimes unfortunately project onto our children and they learn our bad habits.

Jenn T Grace:          

But I think that children are- they can make so much change too, whether they’re doing it consciously or it’s just a matter of being like, “Um yeah, that’s just my moms.” Being like really kind of matter of fact about it. For example, and I know you know this story, but I know my listeners don’t, is that we’ve been outed God knows how many times by our children, it’s just the nature of the beast, it’s fine. And Lexi who is our older one, she made a shamrock for- the entire, I think it was probably preschool class puts together the shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day and it says, ‘What are we grateful for?’ And hers was, “I am lucky because I have two moms.” And now it was so touching, so cute, so moving, and it’s plastered right in the middle of the hallway so every single parent who’s looking at all the shamrocks going down the hall, it’s like she is now- she’s coming out for us, but she’s also coming out as a child who has two mothers. And you’ve got to think about the type of impact that might be making on that person who’s a little bit on the fence about how do I really feel about this? When you see- like how can you take away from a kindergartner or preschooler how proud and lucky they feel because they have two mothers? Like you can’t- like how do you argue with that? Right?

Dom:                         

You really can’t.

Jenn T Grace:                      

Exactly, so children can make a world of change in my opinion.

Dina:                         

They can, they can.

Jenn T Grace:          

So let’s see. We are getting off on tangents already and I love it. And I knew this would happen. But one of the questions that I usually like asking, and I know we’ve already kind of been all over the map, is around a fun fact or something that just might be really random about the both of you- and not you as a couple, but you individually, that people just don’t really know about you? Just some random tidbit or fun fact.

Dom: 

People are always astonished by me. I’m actually an avid scuba diver, which a lot of people don’t know. But even before that is I actually had my first motorcycle when I was seven years old.

Jenn T Grace:                      

Nice, me too.

Dom:                         

Say again?

Jenn T Grace:                      

I did too, how awesome!

Dom:                         

Did you?

Dina:                         

Why am I not surprised?

Dom:                         

I had my first ATV- real ATV, Christmas when I was seven years old, and I’ve been riding ever since. I absolutely adore motorcycles and one of these days we’ll have another one.

Jenn T Grace:

We should go on a road trip while I’m there in August. Not that riding on a motorcycle in the desert in August is probably an ideal idea, but could be fun.

Dom:                         

Hey I’m in.

Jenn T Grace:          

Based on the silence of your spouse, I’m imagining there’s some eye rolling, or some ‘I’m going to kill you’ type of glares.

Dom:

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m getting. I’m getting daggers, and a pursed lip.

Jenn T Grace:                      

I love it, I know you too well, Dina.

Dina:                         

How about compromise to four wheels?

Dom:                         

She’s okay with ATVs, I probably got her to that point.

Dina: 

And one of our dear friends can take you out on her ATVs, she’s got lots of them. And we can do that.

Jenn T Grace:                      

Alright, I can compromise, I’m good at compromising.

Dina: 

Compromise on ATVs, just because I don’t want to have to collect life insurance yet.

Jenn T Grace:          

No I don’t think my wife does either, so I get it. I get it. So we now have a fun fact from Dom, so what is your fun fact, Dina?

Dom:                         

Speechless, that actually never happens.

Jenn T Grace:          

I want to get a crickets app so I can just have the sound of crickets going when that happens.

Dina:                         

You know, I’m kind of just who I am.

Jenn T Grace:                      

You’re an open book.

Dina:                         

I really am an open book. I always have been.

Jenn T Grace:                      

Well that is certainly-

Dina:                         

But the thing my wife finds most bizarre about me-

Dom:                         

This is a good one.

Dina:                         

The thing my wife finds most bizarre about me is that even at my ripe old age, I still have all of my friends from grade school and high school.

Jenn T Grace:          

I would have to agree, that does seem bizarre. But that’s interesting.

Dom:                         

Thank you Jenn.

Dina:                         

Hey!

Dom:                         

They talk like they’re still back in high school again, it’s hysterical to listen to the conversations.

Dina:                         

Well that sounds like I’ve never grown up.

Jenn T Grace:          

I think it’s impressive because it’s just showing that you have- like when you form a bond, it’s a bond for life. So I think that that’s a good quality.

Dina: 

It really is. I mean they are people that- yeah. And I know that most people don’t have their friends from grade school and high school.

Jenn T Grace:          

Alright, why don’t you share with me something that inspires you and keeps you motivated to continue doing what you do every day? We know being a business owner is not always the easiest because you have to wear many, many different hats, most of which don’t really fit you right. And you kind of have to figure out how to get through it somehow. So where is your source of inspiration and motivation?

Dom:                         

I think probably to answer that question best is for me, my motivation has always been to travel, like that’s my goal in life is to see as much as I can before I leave this earth. And so I’ve been travelling for as long as I can remember.

Dina:                         

Until she met me.

Dom:                         

So my motivation every day-

Jenn T Grace:                      

Ball and chain.

Dom:                         

Ball and chain, yes. To continue moving forward is to at some point release the reigns of the business a bit and enjoy travelling. We’ve also talked about doing Nursing without Borders, that’s something that we hold close to our hearts. So definitely travelling, and travelling to different parts of the world, and helping-

Jenn T Grace:                      

That’s a good motivator because the more successful you are-

Dom:                         

It’s something that we discuss every day to keep it at the forefront, because that’s something we want to do. And we want to be able to- that’s another project, projects I’ve been involved in since I was a teenager was travelling to other parts of the country and the world, and helping build homes for people that don’t have homes, and I’ve been doing that for a while and I look forward to one day doing that again. I mean a lot of people don’t realize how much money goes into that, I mean you actually have to pay your own way, and pay for your food, and flights and all that, and it’s not just showing up and everyone providing for you. You have to actually provide for yourself while you’re building these homes. So it’s actually very expensive to do, and same thing with Nursing without Borders. I mean you pay for everything; to get there, and your food, and your supplies. And so you definitely need money to do things like that, and we try to keep that at the forefront when we’re making decisions.

Jenn T Grace:          

It’s a good motivator for sure. Dina is yours similar or do you have anything different?

Dina: 

I think our end game is the same. I think for me there’s a bit more in- and my wife really indulges me, and I’m very aware of that. There’s a bit more in making an impact in our community and our society. And so I come to the table not only as a mom, not only as a woman, not only as an entrepreneur. I come to the table as a lesbian. I come to the table as a nurse. And if I look at all of the ineffective coping that I see, and how negatively it impacts the lives and the quality of life for the people within our community, and their families and friends, that bothers me. And I have a mentor from years ago that- her nickname for me was L’Oréal. She would say I was expensive and I would tell her I was worth it.

Jenn T Grace:                      

That’s hilarious, I love it.

Dina:                         

She would say to me that I was expensive because I would die on every hill. And so I would come and I would say, “We really need to do this,” and she would say, “Well how important is that to you?” And I’d say, “Really.” And she’s like, “Yes but is that the hill you’re going to die on?” And I went, “Yup. Today that’s the hill I’m dying on.” And I still use that phrase here, fifteen almost twenty years later, so when Dom says, “Which piece is the most important to you?” And I say, “Well look I have all of these things on my hill and I have to die on every one of them.” So for me it’s knowing that we’re improving the opportunities for communication. It’s knowing that by having a product available that’s by us and for us that nobody else has really cared enough to do in the past, is making a difference. It’s knowing as I work within my local community here in Las Vegas, all of the changes that need to be effected. Not just from a- partly from a creating a sense of normalcy within our society and our community. The normalcy that we all know that we live and breathe every day, but people seem to stereotype. It’s working with youth from our center and from other physicians that I know who are trans, and walking down that journey, and being a resource to them. It is working within my community now that I know as a business owner and an entrepreneur what impact that can have. I’m inspired to help other LGBT businesses learn what we’ve learned along the way. So I think my every day motivations and inspirations are help keep me focused and grounded on what the work is ahead.

Jenn T Grace:          

That’s such a good way to put it, and I’m happy that you just kind of said what the work is ahead. Because I want to switch topics entirely now, and the work at hand is certainly where I’m going to go with this. First before I get into some of the recent developments in your particular business, I want to first ask you a question as it relates to marketing. So you as not only just LGBT business owners, but also LGBT consumers; if you were to give advice to someone listening to this podcast, that you are trying to basically give them a piece of advice to help them better and more effectively reach you as an LGBT consumer in terms of their marketing and maybe communications efforts. What type of tip would you give them? Do you have any type of tidbit that you think would help make somebody more successful?

Dina:

I would have to say becoming more educated about who your consumer is, and what their needs, wants, and desires are. Because no business- regardless of what your widget is, unless you know who your market is, you can’t sell your product. And I would encourage companies and businesses that- do not underestimate the power of the LGBT community and our buying power. And do not underestimate our commitment to companies that support us. And don’t negate us.

Jenn T Grace:          

Very, very good advice. What about you, Dom? Do you have anything in particular?

Dom:                         

What comes to mind for me is- I don’t want to say that quality doesn’t matter because quality always matters. But-

Dina:

And price matters.

Dom: 

And price matters, of course. But before anything else, if you put a product out and you say that you stand behind the LGBT community, and this product’s for you, then live that. Don’t market it to the LGBT community, but then- I’m trying to think how to say this. Be authentic about it, don’t just do it for money when it suits the company’s needs. Because eventually you’re going to be found out.

Dina:                         

It’s going to backfire.

Dom:

And it’s going to backfire hardcore. And I think a lot of companies try that. There’s money in the LGBT community, so we’re going to make a product for them to bring it in. But if you don’t truly live by that, and are willing to go the extra mile, and truly support the LGBT community, we’re not stupid people. We’re actually well educated people, and we’ll find out, and then it’s just going to be worse in the long run. So I would say just-

Dina:  

Authenticity.

Dom:                         

Yeah just be authentic.

Jenn T Grace:

That’s brilliant advice. Both of you have really brilliant points that I know I’ve certainly discussed with members- people who are trying to reach the community. So I’m very pleased that you are able to kind of drill down even further on those topics, so that’s excellent. And let’s take just a short break to hear from the sponsors of this podcast, www.MentalCompass.com.

And now back to the interview.

And for the sake of time, I want to focus on something as it relates to marketing to the LGBT community particular to your business. And I know that you are an LGBT greeting card company. So I would imagine that perhaps somebody not really knowing all that much about just the greeting card industry in general, might be wondering, ‘Well where are the big players in this industry?’ Like where are American Greetings, or where is Hallmark for example, as it relates to their outwardness in terms of marketing to the LGBT community? Could you possibly give some kind of- like paint a picture for us of what that landscape looks like as it relates to specifically those two companies?

Dina:                         

So the- with Mother’s Day just passing, Hallmark has just released two Mother’s Day cards, so we’re all familiar with how large a company that is. And back in 2011, Andrew from Hallmark had been interviewed and commented on the fact that although they knew that the LGBT community existed, they as a company was not sure how to market to that community, and reach that community. That was in April of 2011, which was actually shortly after we had already founded Teazled Greeting Cards.

Jenn T Grace:                      

When was Teazled founded?

Dina: 

We did the initial paperwork in March, but we actually had started our business plan and pulling things together in September, October area of 2010.

Jenn T Grace:                      

Okay so you guys have been around for a while.

Dina:

And we actually physical opened for business August 1, 2011. So while we doing our demographics and research, we did find that interview, and also were quite aware of what other greeting cards existed for our community at the time. And where their availability was. So really you could not go into mainstream stores and buy greeting cards for the LGBT community. So shortly after that, or around that time, they did one or two gay wedding cards, and that was kind of it. And-

Dom:                         

They didn’t say anything though.

Dina: 

They didn’t really say anything though, they just were two tuxedos on a card kind of a thing. No strong images of what represents us as a community, and all of our diversity within it. And so we pretty much had a wide open untouched niche market, which is a blessing and a very unfortunate thing. Unfortunately as an LGBT community member, because if there’s that much of an open niche, that means that nobody is addressing those needs. So before long we had filed for- or applied for a registered trademark, and we opened in August, 2011. In December, 2012 we had already had challenges with major greeting card companies infringing on our trademark rights and utilizing our tagline. So we were already actually on their radar. And then we ended up placed into- because of our leveraging our status as an LGBT person and a certified business enterprise, we were able to actually get into Albertson’s Grocery Stores, 27 of them on our initial rollout, which is huge. And then subsequently- they were free standing spinners, and then subsequently this past fall we actually were granted four feet of inline space, which was taken from American Greetings to give us that space. So-

Dom:                         

We should point out that there was at that time no LGBT greeting cards were in any mainstream stores. So we were the first.

Jenn T Grace:          

Okay so let me just make sure that I’m following correctly, make sure that the listeners are keeping up with what we’re talking about. So you have been around for going on four years officially this coming August. And you have been pioneers as it relates to the LGBT greeting card niche of cards. I was going to say industry, but not really. And you have big players like American Greetings and Hallmark, and then there’s probably a whole host of other greeting card companies out there that just don’t have as much shelf space as these two happen to. So can you share with me what has recently happened as it relates to this past Mother’s Day? Because I know I read an article somewhere that said that they had two cards that were focused on actual two mothers out of like 990 available options for just everyday other mothers. So can you just share maybe some recent press releases that you’ve seen, or articles as it relates to that particular thing? Because I find it odd that they would just put out two and not put out more. Because if you have two out of 990, the percentage is very, very low. So if you’re going to do it, why not kind of go all in? What are your thoughts on that?

Dina:

I have a lot of thoughts on that. I did see many of those same articles and press releases that you saw, and so I will say that we have- first of all let me just put this shameless plug in. We do have many more than two greeting cards. So yeah, so Hallmark has done a mass press release and has gotten quite a lot of press for celebrating 100 years of Mother’s Days, and that this Mother’s Day they want to be basically ahead of the curve according to one of the articles, and meeting the needs of society’s changing views about the LGBT family, and so they want to recognize same sex moms. And so they’ve issued two cards; one is for children to give to their moms, so there’s one card to my two moms basically, and then there is one card from one mom to the other. In the same- in one article that I read, one of the people from American Greetings was interviewed, and basically said that they were not going to pursue- at least in relationship to the Mother’s Day / Father’s Day type cards is because they are one-to-one relationships, and that in a business that they’re looking to sell greeting cards, they’re not looking to sell one greeting card to two moms. It’s a one-to-one relationship and that would decrease their purchases, and so they would rather focus on single, everyday- a single Mother’s Day card, and if there are two moms households, that basically they can buy two cards. So my personal challenge with that, is that I think that that does a lot to- it does two things. One, greeting cards are an emotional, touchy-feely kind of a product. So if the whole basis of your industry and your business is conveying emotions and thoughts that people are having trouble conveying, and then you’re focused on the business bottom dollar, which as an entrepreneur or a business owner you have to be, you still can’t negate the needs of your customer. And it appears to me from what I’ve read, that they’re more focused on their bottom dollar than they are on meeting the needs of two mom households.

Jenn T Grace:          

So to recap, this is essentially- before I even went down this path with you, I asked the both of you to provide some sort of insight and advice around marketing to the community. And from what you’re saying, they basically have done exactly the opposite of what that good solid advice is. So how do we turn this situation into something positive for your business in particular? So for people who are listening to this who may have not really known about you previously, how are you able to capitalize on what the big guys are doing ineffectively?

Dina: 

I think that while the big guys probably have employees that work for them that are LGBT, the reality is that they don’t live it and breathe it every single day, and we do. We come to the table understanding the challenges of the families within our community, and the diversity within our community. And we’re not afraid, we’re not worried about what other people’s perceptions are of us, because our role is to kind of break that stereotype and really be a viable resource for people that they’re just like our family. I want our kids- I want to get that Mother’s Day card, and I want to not have to write one for myself sometimes. I want our kids to be able to go to the grocery store and to buy us a card. And I want it to validate who they see, or what they see as their family. And I haven’t talked to another LGBT family that didn’t feel the same way. And so I would say if you don’t know that we exist, we do and we’re very focused on truly representing who we are as the diverse community that we are.

Dom: 

Jenn you know, we get calls all the time from LGBT people saying, “I don’t see a card for an Asian woman and a black female. What can we do about that?” We don’t go to the calculator and say, “What are the percentages? And are we going to make enough money off this card if we create it?” We really just say, “Okay.” It’s what we do.

Dina:                         

It might not happen overnight because we’re a baby company.

Dom:

“Okay this is what you want, then this is what you’re going to get.”

Dina:                         

Okay, yes.

Dom:                         

Our focus is really just meeting the needs of our community and not the bottom line, and I think that’s the most disappointing thing I see with big business. I understand that businesses are there to make money, but Hallmark can spare some money to create greeting cards. I mean they’ve had 100 years, they’ve chosen not to, and now they’re coming out with two Mother’s Day cards; interesting the timing if you ask me.

Dina: 

And you know, along this journey from Teazled’s perspective, I should share with you that in order to get into mainstream retail stores, as we’re advocating and saying- we’re doing the battle every day in the grocery stores, in their back offices with their C-suite people, and when I hear time and again, “Well there’s really not that much of a market.” Well yes there really is. “Well I don’t have any LGBT people that shop at my grocery store.” Well yes you do. And I hear grocery store managers say things like, “Well you know, people are offended.” And I should say that they’re- you’ve seen the cards, they’re not sexually explicit, so they really are traditional greeting cards, they just happen to be appropriately worded, with appropriate verbiage and images. But you know when I have people saying, “Well you know, they find them offensive.” Well no offense, but I know people who are vegetarians that find it offensive that people sell pig’s feet in a grocery store. So there is a demographic market, and along the way in order to prove that we had a product that was viable to be sold, in order to make that argument for the rest of the people in our community, we’ve provided all of those demographics. Well now that we’ve done all of that time and time again, we’ve kind of paved the way and shown other people- large companies how to do that. So that is a challenge for us as a small company.

Jenn T Grace:          

Yeah you’re pioneering a space, so that’s always challenging whether you’re going up against big box or not. So I certainly applaud you guys for fighting the fight and dying on those hills along the way, and doing what needs to be done to really serve the needs of our community, so I think it’s really important. So for those listening, and they want to find out more about Teazled, and more about you, and maybe how to purchase a card for one of their loved ones, how would you recommend that they get in touch with you?

Dina:

There’s a couple of different ways. One, you can certainly go onto your website and log in through Gay Business and Marketing, and reach us from that website. You can go to our website directly at www.Teazled.com. You can call us, our phone number is (855) 4-TELL-THEM, and we’re available for- we have wholesale and individual retail opportunities available. And we’re always looking for people that can truly represent our company and help us get the word out.

Jenn T Grace:

That is awesome, it has been so fabulous talking with the both of you today. It was nice to learn a couple new things about you both, so thank you for being a guest on the show, and perhaps we will have a follow-up interview in God knows when, when maybe there’s some new developments.

Dom:                         

Yay!

Dina:                         

Yay that sounds good.

Jenn T Grace:                      

Excellent, thank you both.

Dina:                         

Thank you for having us. Thanks, Jenn.

Jenn T Grace:

I would be remiss if I did not mention just briefly the online training course, ‘How to Authentically Market to the Gay Community.’ It is available on my website, and I would love for you to just hear just a tidbit about the course.

Well I sincerely hope that you enjoyed today’s interview with both of the Dinas. I encourage you to go check out their website, see what they’re up to, purchase a card perhaps, and if I don’t hear from you in the next couple of days, I hope you enjoy the 30 Days, 30 Voices: Stories of America’s LGBT Business Leaders that starts on June 1st to celebrate Pride Month. After those thirty interviews, I will see you again in July. I hope you have a wonderful Pride Month and I will talk to you soon.

 

 

 

 

About Jenn T. Grace

Jenn T. Grace (she/her/hers) is an award-winning author and founder and CEO of Publish Your Purpose (PYP), the acclaimed hybrid publisher of non-fiction books. Jenn has published 100+ books written by thought leaders, visionaries, and entrepreneurs who are striving to make a difference. Jenn T. Grace’s work elevates and amplifies the voices of others—especially marginalized groups who are regularly excluded from traditional publishing.

Site Design Rebecca Pollock
Site Development North Star Sites