We’ve all been there. We pick out the design, we research tattoo parlours and we even start putting change in a jar labelled “tattoo money.”
However, when it comes down to it, we just can’t seem to make that leap. After all, tattoos are forever. At least, they used to be.
Brothers Tyler and Braden Handley have found the solution to your commitment issues. Combining their design and marketing expertise, they founded Inkbox and now produce the world’s first two-week, all natural tattoo.
“I think with our generation, we’re accustomed to quick cultural shifts. Our attention spans are decreasing in that respect. That’s not the only reason but it definitely comes into play when you think of the rise in temporary body art, because you don’t have to commit to it full time,” said co-founder Tyler.
He went on to say that this mentality has fuelled the rise in the tattoo removal market. “We choose the easiest path. When it comes to tattoos, no one’s really done that yet – made it easier for you to get real-looking tattoos.”
The ink is derived from a plant called Genipa Americana, colloquially called Jagua, which is sourced from a tribe in Panama. According to the brothers, the plant is also used in the medical field for bone repair and skin grafting.
However, long before he attempted to produce the product, Tyler’s inspiration came from his own trouble committing permanently to a large tattoo.
“I wanted a large piece on my back but I had to travel to get it. I wasn’t in the right place to get a tattoo but I wanted something. I wondered if there was a way to customize temporary tattoos,” he said.
When he realized he could use his own designs, he brought Braden on board to get the word out, who manages the brand’s online presence and secures suppliers for the tattoo’s primary ingredient.
Tyler is no stranger to startups. Prior to co-founding Inkbox, Tyler was the founder of a startup called Blurbi, which connected freelancers with marketing agencies to provide social media content. However, after realizing the growth potential of Inkbox, Tyler didn’t hesitate to make the leap.
With their growing success, the brothers are looking to develop a make-your-own-tattoo tool for their website where customers can design their own customized tattoos. Furthermore, customers will be able to submit these designs for resale.
“We really want to be a platform where – and the whole goal is – you can get anything you want on your skin. That’s our end goal, and that’s why we started it. That’s where the idea came from,” said Tyler.
He goes on to acknowledge that the boom in the popularity of tattoos, and the simultaneous boom in tattoo removal, has helped them market the product. “I think right now, we’re coming up on the cusp of the wave.”
They’re definitely onto something. According to Market Watch’s Quentin Fottrel, revenue from tattoo removal has surged 440% to approximately $75.5 million over the last decade. Fottrel goes on to state that though this number is expected to hit $83.2 million by 2018, this is simply in line with the growth of the tattoo industry, whose revenue stood at an estimated $3.4 billion at the end of 2014.
So far, they’ve gotten positive feedback from their customers. The business’ kickstarter campaign has raised over $175,000 and has more than 6,000 backers.
Inkbox tattoos currently sell for approximately $19 a piece, and customized designs are priced depending on the amount of work required to produce them. They take between one and two hours to apply and last for two weeks on average. However, the cost of removing a tattoo can reach well into the thousands of dollars. For many, Inkbox is a reasonable and less intimidating alternative.
The brothers agree that though the culture of tattoos has changed over the years, they’ve never really gone out of style. They’re confident that through bringing Inkbox to eager customers, they’ve simply made tattoos accessible to a wider audience.
“People want something. People want to express themselves a bit more with body art and we’re simply another outlet for that,” said Braden.
It seems the Handley’s have struck a happy medium between the growing tattoo industry and the growing tattoo removal industry, and they’re planning to ride this wave until it crashes. If they have anything to say about it, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.