Instagram: @alex__swanson

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Tyler Critelli // SIN-MIN

I had a chance to surf, and sit down with Tyler C. the innovator of SIN-MIN lip balm, based out of LA. Such a rad dude with a fun-filled attitude towards life... Here's a bit of the converstation we had regarding his quickly expanding product...

"Alright so this whole dang SIN-MIN thing. First i should start by saying I have a thing for cinnamon. It's been my favorite flavor since I can remember and the fixation has grown to the point that I'll get text messages from people I haven't talked to in years of a picture of something cinnamon related. Last year I had the idea to start an apparel line and I knew I wanted it to be called cinnamon but with a different spelling and finally settled on SIN-MIN, a name that encompassed more than just a phonetic spelling of cinnamon.

The apparel was all lined up and we were just waiting to set a deal with a fabric source and I wanted to start getting the word out about the brand but using something that wasn't just a business card. At the same time one of my tap students brought me a lemon lip balm she had made on a crafts field trip and I immediately went home and researched DIY lip balm and knew immediately this was going to be the new marketing idea and didn't even have to think once about the decided flavor: horchata. Horchata isn't just a cinnamon rice milk beverage of Spanish origin that we find in Mexican and Spanish restaurants, for us, along with many raised in California, it represents a culture, a flavor, something we'd sip after getting out of the water. For those that don't know what it is, it's usually the white beverage you've always been curious about that chills out next to the Orange Bang or is in the big buckets in the refrigerators of the places that really know what's up. And as a cinnamon lover, it's flavor profile is something that is rare in the greater world of cinnamon eats and drinks...the creamier, sweeter side. Much unlike Hot Tamales, Big Red, Fireball, and other products that saturate the world by exploiting the more fiery side of the spice. I began working on creating a lip balm that really captured both the sweet flavor and creamy application while including actual cinnamon, which actually promotes blood flow to the lips, making them a bit fuller. I also wanted to make sure that I was using natural and organic ingredients and packaging them with recycled materials. Finally, after messing with mixtures and ingredients, I sat down for lunch with one of my partners at Olamindes in DP, ordered a horchata and compared it with a stick. One look at each other and we knew we were set. We began passing around sticks to friends and family and about a week after I got a call from a boutique in Burbank asking about our wholesale pricing. I guess one of my friends was at the counter and put on the balm and the owner could smell it and asked what it was all about and got my info. "Wholesale pricing?" I asked, "Um, well we're actually working on some apparel, this is just kind of a like a business card to get the word out about the brand. We're not selling them but I can for sure send you some sticks if you'd like and then let you know when the first run of clothes are done." She said she wasn't interested in any clothes and wanted to sell the lip balm. That was a big "OOOHHHHH" moment and just like that, we basically tossed the clothes out the window and focused full time on this new cosmetic fling.

At the moment our focus has just been on this one product, Horchata Lipbalm. All the marketing we're doing I guess you could call "digital grass-roots" and our friends with various connections have been more than incredible in spreading it around and we're super grateful. Our main retailers are our online shop at, boutiques, high end surf shops, some natural food stores, some online fashion stores, and we're currently available in the US, Australia, Norway, and Canada at the end of the month. There're definitely a few tricks up my sleeve for the future of SIN-MIN but nothing will be brought forth until the lip balm is well-established. I'm just so stoked that so many people love cinnamon as much as I do. It's a great feeling to make something to be able to create something so small that someone can enjoy so much. Keep spreading folks!!"

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