Tinies, or tiny avatars, are smaller-than-normal avatars usually found in the form of cute creatures and other pint-sized marvels. Much like Kleenex or Xerox in real life, Tinies is a brand name that became synonymous with a more general product due to its popularity. Many residents make and sell Tiny avatars under their own (or no) brand names.
Kage Seraph was the first person to figure out the secret to making tiny avatars: by using an animation overrider and a custom animation set that folded the avatar's limbs in on themselves, and covering the resulting shape with prims, it was possible to make an avatar much smaller than normal slider adjustments would allow. The concept wasn't entirely new; people had long been using animations to fit avatars into unusual prim bodies (often based around a sphere and/or the avatar curled up into a tight ball). However, this was the first iteration on the idea that could walk, sit, dance and preform other gestures required for a fully animated creation.
After proving the concept with a chibi-sized mecha avatar, Kage went on to share the devlopment with other creators including Wynx Whiplash of ExtroVirtual, who took the concept and ran with it. Already known for creating cute anthropomorphic animal avatars, Wynx began work on a series of tiny animals that would become officaly known as Tinies. The release of Tinies in mid 2005 was enormously successful and sparked a massive fad that spread through most of Second Life (largely based on "cute factor" as well as the novelty of the small avatars). The fad was fueled by other developers and ExtroVirtual's open attitude to people selling complimentary products. The market was soon flooded with a wide assortment of tiny outfits, accessories, houses, furniture, and animations. Many popular Second Life locations such as Neualtenburg put up special areas for tiny avatars to shop and play. Working with Kage, a developer's kit for Tinies was also released which opened the door to competition as well.