Article by Lauren Martin
Things don’t have to last forever to be appreciated.
Two brothers from Toronto teamed up to create a revolutionary product called Inkbox. Now sold in 25 countries worldwide, the brothers have possibly trumped the temporary tattoo industry.
Tyler and Braden Handley introduced their ink product in early 2015, which is pain free, certified organic, safe and can be used by all ages. The ink is made of a pulp from the Genipa Americana that grows in the jungles of Central America. A percentage of every sale goes towards supporting local indigenous communities in Panama – Learn more here.
They both desired tattoos for a long time, but couldn’t decide on what they wanted permanently. In the meantime, they wanted tattoos that were trendy, meaningful, and most importantly, temporary.
How big can the stencils get?
Tyler: Typically 5×5 is the largest size that we can do right now with the gel, but we are currently in the process of improving our product to stain quicker, and that will then give the option of doing entire body tattoos, because it will be even easier to apply.
What about customers who want a custom design, but might not be the best artists?
Tyler: In the future, we are working on a “Build Your own Tattoo” system that allows individuals to design their own tattoo online, for easier submission. This system will allow customers to pull shapes, or any images they are inspired from online.
How do you generate new designs?
Tyler: We have 8 artists that work with us, and we gain inspiration through sites, like Pinterest, in search for the latest trends. Walking around the city, seeing what tattoos people have or what they are wearing also is great inspiration.
What are the top 3 skills to be a successful Entrepreneur?
Tyler: 1st, It’s important to have full commitment. If you really want to be successful and if you want to do something really big you have to give it your all, everyday and have it consume your life, basically. At least for getting started, because that’s all you have and it’s important to consistently work at it. One of my favorite quotes is “Chance favours those who are well prepared”, and what I take from that quote is to work as hard as possible, and do the right things and you will get lucky, eventually because you have casted enough hooks – you’re most likely to get noticed.
2nd: Make sure you have the right connections and hustle for the right connections. Once you have them, things begin to fall into place. It’s important to leverage those networks to get more connections to the right people.
3rd: Talk to as many people about your idea, even if they are not necessary in your industry. You will get so many insights from people. When you have a business and people get excited about it, they want to help you, or know someone they can make introductions for you, then you know you’re onto something.
What would you say, long-term success would be?
Tyler: Long term success would be a loyal fan base and customers who are your fans. We listen closely to our following, and most people generally like to wear the latest fashion, and be creative to be recognized, so we gain inspiration from customer’s creativity. This is the base of our design and marketing through word-of-mouth is a great strategy for conversions. It’s extremely important to leverage that and listen to your customers.
What is your background?
Tyler: I received my masters in Humanities, from Kings College University in London England and did my BA in Communications at Laurier University of Waterloo. I have an interest and experience working in social media and worked at the technology accelerator at BBC London. I also had a previous social media startup and I have a marketing and web design background.
What motivates you?
Tyler: I would say, I have always enjoyed creating things, and creating things motivates me, whether it is through design or music.
Why did you decide to push this business?
Tyler: For months we walked around wearing our own temporary tattoos. People began to talk. They asked if they were real. They were shocked when we told them they weren’t. Then they would ask, “How can I get one?” So this really motivated us to continue with our business.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
Tyler: We want to be a completely new way of tattooing. We call them semi-permanent tattoos because we are not associated with the “stick” and “peel” method. We want to define an entirely new market for semi-permanent tattoos that will allow people to unleash their own creativity. This will help with the “build your own tattoo tool”, where you can resell your designs and make profit. We want to bring tattoo artists and artists of all sorts over into the digital world – to design tattoos who want them. So in 5 years we want to be the number one place for someone to go design and get a tattoo, and continue to gain a large following and take a significant chunk out of the tattoo market.
This is something unlike anything I’ve come across. With their determination, constant branding and work ethic, Inkbox is an exceptional product, which is transforming the tattoo industry into something new and worth checking out.