COVID-19 has hit many businesses hard, especially those deemed non-essential. Tattoo shops are one of many non-essential businesses that have been laid off due to statewide quarantines, leaving many artists unsure of how they will make this month’s rent. this. Tattoo artists all over the world have been pushing products and prints on social media for extra cash, however, now there is a way to earn a few extra dollars from tattooing, but without leaving their homes.
Inkbox is a temporary tattoo company that has started a program to support tattoo artists during COVID-19. They created the Tattoo Artist Support Campaign, which markets the artists’ designs on Inkbox and reimburses the artist $ 10 for each design sold. We caught up with one of the company’s co-founders and president, Braden Handley, to learn more about the campaign and how it is already helping artists.
How did you come up with the idea for Inkbox and how did you launch the concept?
My brother and I wanted tattoos, but we didn’t have a good way to realistically test them out before we got them. We came across a fruit from Panama that indigenous people have used for thousands of years to dye their skin, so we went there to stay with them for a week and learn more about it. Then we imported the fruit and, with the help of an independent chemist, isolated the active ingredient that actually stains the skin. Our first product was just self-adhesive stencils that you filled in with ink. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.
How did you grow your business through social media marketing?
We were on Instagram in 2014 when it really started to take off for businesses. Fortunately, we were able to use paid social media marketing to quickly build up a large number of subscribers. It would be much harder to do with digital marketing competition in 2020. Now it’s about finding organic opportunities elsewhere. We were at the start of TikTok and grew that audience to over 50,000 in just a few months.
Why do you think people love your temporary tattoos?
I think it’s mainly because people are much more fluid in their emotions and feelings these days. One day you might feel very different from the next, and that’s okay. Our tattoos speak to this audience. Plus, people want to test their ideas in a unique and realistic way.
Tell us about some of the updates you have made to your tattoos that make them look more realistic and last longer?
We took over a year of research and development to create our new product which was launched in late 2019. It is a much simpler application method than before and produces a clean, crisp tattoo every time. This is our third iteration of the product since our launch, but the app has changed so much since then that it really looks like a brand new product.
What are your best selling tattoos and why do you think it is?
Many of our best-selling tattoos come from collections of tattoo artists like Curt Montgomery, GIrlKnewYork, and Emily Malice. Tattoo artists have a better understanding of what will look good on the skin and I think that translates well for Inkbox. We have also made collections with Post Malone, Kurtis Conner and Rick and Morty (Adult Swim) which our clients loved.
How has COVID-19 affected the tattoo world and how has Inkbox responded?
As everyone knows, tattoo parlors around the world have closed due to COVID-19, including our own Inside Out tattoo parlor in Toronto. We have seen that many tattoo artists are creating and selling new art forms, like prints and merchandise, because they have had to stop tattooing, and Inkbox offers them another way to support themselves. We partner with tattoo artists and give them $ 10 for every Inkbox tattoo they currently sell. Some of the artists whose creations launched last week have already made a few hundred dollars.
Who are the artists included in this campaign and what styles can clients expect to see?
It is certainly a wide range. Everyone, from Brando Chiesa, Matteo Nangeroni, Mirko Sata and Tommy Oh to extremely talented little artists like Ruda Alina, Infrababy, Nathalie Talii and Cedric De Rodot. The styles are mostly minimalist, sketchy, blackwork, traditional, geometric or line art.
How does Inkbox select artists?
We try to diversify our designs as much as possible, so we really like working with people with a distinct style.
How can other artists get involved?
Write to me directly at [email protected]
What should our readers know about this project?
Please support the artists in this difficult time, buy their prints, shirts, and whatever else they might sell. You may not realize how much a few dollars and general support can help you right now.