"Mini" products that inspire me

Tool emoji on a light purple background

As I’m beginning to design and code new products, I wanted to quickly collect products that inspire me as a builder. These products have a combination of these factors:

  1. Built by 1-2 people
  2. Bootstrapped (no VC money)
  3. Beautiful design/care for design
  4. (Bonus) Founders/creators share behind the scenes/journey

This list is me trying to create my hidden gems of “mini” products. I will consistently come back to this list for product inspirations and motivations. I also intend to gradually add more to this list.


Tally graphic

Tally is the simplest way to create forms for free. The first time I saw Tally was on Product Hunt. It won “Best Bootstrapped & Small Teams” in 2023.

And as a Notion user, I instantly fell in love with it.

The branding is gorgeous. The product is beautiful and useful. But two things that really stood out to me are the founder’s product philosophy and their transparency.

Right from the beginning, our main goal has been to make form-building fun, powerful, and free. (Tally founders)

Also, to stand out in a crowded space, the founders Marie & Filip decided to set Tally as a freemium product. 99% of the features are free. This includes unlimited forms, unlimited submissions, collect payments, and so much more. Love that.

They also publicly shared their journey building Tally on their blog. As a blogger, I love it when founders share behind the scenes of their products. They’re so fun to read.

Tally blog

Focus Traveller

Focus traveller app

Focus Traveller is an iOS app to help you get into the flow of work and learning. I first discovered it on Twitter 2 years ago when the creators from Taiwan shared their journey in a blog post (Mandarin). When I saw the app designs, I thought to myself:

Oh god… This art style is so beautiful. This is right up my alley.

An illustration of a man hiking with a woman who’s taking a picture

On top of the beautiful, calming art style, I love the idea of having a hiking companion.

A gallery of different hiking companions

Only a team of 2, they’ve done such a great job designing this app. And recently, they released another new app called Rumbo, a training app. And it looks so good as well.


Dudel app

Dudel is an iOS app that aims to ignite your imagination and creative potential. Every day, you’ll receive a new shape to draw on.

Steps to use Dudel the drawing app

It’s such a beautifully designed app. And the best parts?

  1. The creator (Jaryn Bunney) is a product designer who wanted to learn how to build iOS apps
  2. She wrote an awesome case study about Dudel


Moon - a lunar calendar app to see the current phase of the moon

MOON is an iOS lunar calendar app that shows the phases of the moon. It was designed and developed by Charlie Deets, a product designer at The Browser Company. He started MOON as a personal project to learn how to develop an iOS app - Love that.

Wait… a lunar calendar app? That sounds quite niche

Well, I thought that too. But then, in Charlie’s case study, he said the app had nine million users.

Nine. Million. Users.

Such a great example of seemingly “niche” products being successful.


Corner - an app that allows people to save places

Corner is a home for people who take places seriously. You can save places and create a personalized map. It was built by Eliza and Jake.

What I love about Corner is not only the design, but also their philosophy:

our lives are shaped by the places we go: the neighborhood cafes that become part of our weekly rituals. the family-owned restaurants that serve up dishes reminiscent of home. the bars where we dance our hearts out surrounded by familiar strangers.

we take places seriously because where we choose to spend our time matters just as much as who we choose to spend it with.

Maybe I’m just drawn to products with personality. Products that want to say something about this world.

Hello Weather

Hello Weather - a simple weather app

Hello Weather is a friendly, no-nonsense weather app. It was built by Jason Downey - design manager at Figma - and his friend Trevor.

Different iOS widgets for Hello Weather app

The app was born out of frustration:

Why are there so many terrible weather apps? Just show me the damn weather!

He also shared his journey of building the app here. One thing to note is that he shared the difficulty of running an app company.

There’s no way to do an app that is not an entire business onto itself. If you’re going to do an app, you also are now running your own company more or less.

It’s a good reminder before diving blindly into making an app.

Leave Me Alone

Leave me alone - a product that makes it easy to unsubscribe from unwanted emails

Leave Me Alone is a product that makes it easy to unsubscribe from unwanted emails. There are so many things I love about this product:

  1. Name: Such a fitting name (”Leave Me Alone”) for this product
  2. Targets a real pain point: People are frustrated when they get unwanted emails. This product solves exactly that
  3. Branding: Fits the product so well. It’s friendly and calm.
  4. Small team: Only 2 people built this product

Like when you see this, don’t you want to just pay them $7 to get rid of all of these?!

Number of unwanted emails showing on Leave Me Alone


untitled - an app to save your in-progress music

[untitled] is a sacred place for your work-in-progress music. What I love about [untitled] is their dedication to craft and the musicians. I also really like the idea of a “sacred place.” It feels secretive. It feels special.

This app was built by Miles, an inspiring builder. He has built three iOS apps so far, and all of them are above 4.7 stars (insane). The other two are Andante (music practice journal) and Miles (running tracker).


habitkit - an app to track your habits and streaks

HabitKit is an app to track your habits and streaks. It displays your streak as a tile-based grid chart. This is similar to how GitHub displays code contributions.

github contributions

What I love is how this app puts a visual twist onto an extremely common app type: habit tracking. And the result? Over 100,000 users use HabitKit.

Want to stay updated?

Subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest updates on new blog posts and cool design finds!