I recently talked to Tiffany Napper while she was in Las Vegas attending a friend’s wedding. You would think that a mini-vacation would be a welcome, relaxing break from work for this busy 30-something woman. Not so. While interviewing her over the phone, her energy and enthusiasm for her businesses, Bats on Strings and Bats on Tees, was evident in the speed of her speech—my hands couldn’t keep up with her answers while transcribing and I type 100 words per minute. With a creative heart accompanied by a business mind complimented with strong ambition, Napper embodies the ideal, young businesswoman who is currently redefining the business of public relations.
Not afraid of relocating, Tiffany Napper worked in public relations in both Manhattan and Nashville and as an editor for The Pelican in Pensacola, Florida. She also spent six years working for Yamaha Entertainment Group in Franklin, Tennesse. During her travels, her heart was always homesick and the third time she moved back here after Katrina, she knew it would be her last.
Napper founded Bats on Strings in New Orleans in 2011. “I had a wonderful job at Yamaha but I knew I wanted to get back to New Orleans…I wanted to stretch my wings. I still wanted to work in music and had some amazing, creative friends that needed some PR help and direction, taking their careers to the next level,” explained Napper. “For some strange reason, I wasn’t afraid and just went with it. That’s why I started Bats on Strings.”
Napper admits that the unique name of her company does elicit extra attention, but she’s happy to tell the story behind it; she calls it silly. “I was sitting with a director doing some research on a film and we were watching this really old horror movie,” she shared and I suddenly imagined a bleak, black and white Hitchcock creation. Napper recalled a scene where she saw bats escaping and you could see the strings controlling their movements. At that moment, she started a melodic mantra of bats on strings. “As a publicist helping a client with branding and creative design, I’m like a puppeteer behind the curtain, giving things direction and making them move. It was so unique." Both the company name and the URL were available, so she was compelled to snap them up.
While she still works with Yamaha on a contractual basis, she also has many other clients including, Grandmaster Flash, Maggie Koerner, The Breton Sound, Marc Cohn and Your Nutrition Delivered. Although Napper runs a lean PR company and is heavily involved in the daily operations, she still finds time to diversify her interest in other areas, such as clothing and accessories.
Bats on Tee’s started in 2013 as an alternative creative outlet for Napper. “My job with Bats on Strings is very creative but it’s also a lot of all-in-your-head or on computer screens—it’s nothing tangible.” She launched her second company when she found out about the NFL’s new requirement that women carry clear bags when attending games. “I go to games so I started to look at what my options were on the internet. They were abysmal and a little bit tacky…even the ones that the NFL made were not my style,” said Napper. “I thought that [this product] would be the one that I should use for the launch of Bats on Tees.” She had a mere six weeks before the first pre-season game for the Saints, but Napper was able to pull it off.
Her accessory line also includes tank tops and tote bags, which she has collaborated on with other artists and she admits that the name of her company might not reflect its quick success. “I will be changing the name down the road to accurately reflect what it really has become. It has taken off more than I anticipated and I have been selling plenty of t-shirts, clear purses and now, leather ones.”
It’s no surprise that Napper's biggest challenge is the lack of hours in a day to accomplish all she wants in order to explore her creative outlets. Her greatest reward is enriching the lives of others. “It’s rewarding to pull in other people to work with me, be able to give them jobs and do things with them that are fun. At the end of the day, it’s work but we’re all doing something we enjoy and that is a gift.”
When asked about her plans for the future, she has a solid path. “I want to collaborate with all the amazing people I know in my life, help them achieve their dreams, be in the New Orleans community and help put them on the map,” said Napper of both businesses. “It’s great for me to have my hands in both equations. They feed me creatively in different ways.”
Currently, Napper’s five-year plan is very specific and doesn’t include starting a family anytime soon. “I’ve always been motivated and driven regarding my career…I don’t see myself going down that road as I’m completely satisfied with my life the way it is.” Another goal in Napper’s plan is to open a multi-purpose flagship store in New Orleans that would feature an in-house factory.
Lofty plans, yes? Achievable? Most definitely because Napper has the drive, inspiration and energy to achieve anything she sets her mind to. Let’s just hope she slows down just enough to enjoy the many rewards of her inevitable success.