A startup has invented a collection of realistic tattoos that you can get, without having to commit for life.
Inkbox is the brainchild of brothers Tyler and Braden Handley. The company sells fruit-based tattoos that last only two weeks. Applying it is simple: just put the ink patch on your skin and dampen for 10 minutes. Its organic formula will then seep into your skin four layers deep, appearing like a traditional tat after 12 to 24 hours.
The product debuted last year on Kickstarter, where it was able to raise AUS$367,202 (US$275,661), well beyond its AUS$26,641 (US$20,000) goal. Emmy-nominated actress Alison Sweeney and Survivor host Jeff Probst now count as one of the startup’s investors.
We recently talked to co-founder Tyler Handley to know more about inkbox.
What was the inspiration behind inkbox? What made you decide to pursue this project?
“My brother and I wanted to get geometric tattoos, but they were the type of ‘on-trend’ designs that we’d probably regret in 30 years. We still wanted to wear them temporarily, but both the appearance and flakiness of temporary tattoos wasn’t good enough. We decided to find a way to create a temporary tattoo that lasted long and looked identical to a real tattoo. The result is inkbox.”
You created your own patent-pending formula for the business. What were the challenges in creating such an original product?
“I think our biggest challenge was the fact that it took two weeks to see the results of every test. We couldn’t just stick something on our skin and test it immediately. We had to wait 36 hours for it to develop and then a few weeks to see how it lasted.
“Fortunately, we have a very talented scientist on our team who quickly overcomes any other research & development challenges we may have.”
You’re basically disrupting an entire industry. What’s it like to go up against centuries-old traditions like permanent tattooing?
“We don’t see it as a disruption. We see it as a complimentary form of art that is expanding the broader market. Think of all of the people who love tattoos but fear the pain or commitment. After using inkbox, they might even want a real one. Most tattoo artists love us. But of course we have some haters too!”
Your Kickstarter campaign was a massive success, and you were also able to get investors like Alison Sweeney and Jeff Probst. When you started the company, did it ever to occur to you that the host of Survivor would be a backer? Tell us how that feels like.
“Haha, not at all. I studied Communications in school which means I spent a lot of time studying reality TV, and Survivor is essentially the first big reality TV show. I never thought I’d have Jeff as an investor, let alone even know him. It’s definitely a confidence boost to have investors like Jeff and Ali on board.”
We love how part of your sales go towards supporting indigenous tribes. Please tell us more about the Darien Initiative
“When we learned about the Darien Initiative we fell in love with their premise. Essentially, they allow the indigenous tribes of the Panamanian jungle to live sustainably off of the land by bringing in job opportunities without government interference. They also help with disaster relief, healthcare, and education.”
What should we expect from inkbox in the near future?
“New designs every week and the ability to simply and powerfully create or upload any design you can possibly imagine!”