Your product's uniqueness can be both a blessing and a curse.
On one hand, it stands out from the competition. On the other hand, it can be a challenge explaining an unfamiliar product to your market.
Our guest on this episode of Shopify Masters is Tyler Handley of Inkbox, the world's first 2-week tattoo made from an organic fruit-based formula.
Find out how investing in a quality explainer video did wonders for their ecommerce site's sales and conversions.
- Why it’s okay to do things that don't scale at first.
- Why you need a video when you're selling a unique product.
- Why success on Kickstarter can be a double-edged sword.
Listen to Shopify Masters below…
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Felix: Today I’m joined by Tyler Handley from inkbox.com, it’s I-N-K-B-O-X dot com. Inkbox is the world’s first tattoo that lasts 2 weeks, made from an organic fruit based formula. It was started in 2015 and based out of Toronto. Welcome Tyler.
Tyler: Hey Felix, thanks for having me on.
Felix: Yeah, excited to have you on. Tell us a bit more about the store, what are the actual products that you sell?
Tyler: The product itself as you said first 2 week tattoo. It’s applied like a traditional temporary tattoo, the kind you had as a kid but it’s much more surgical grade and it last a full 2 weeks because we’re not putting something on top of your skin, like a sticker or something like that. We’re actually sinking a formula into the epidermis, the top layer of skin, and over the course of 24 to 36 hours it’s actually changing the color of your skin, kind of like how a Polaroid develops. It lasts a couple of weeks because it’s actually locked into your skin. In fact it’s actually effectively changing the color of your skin. It sloughs off as the skin regenerates every couple of weeks.
Felix: Very cool. How did you learn about this kind of technology for this kind of product? Did you have experience in this space?
Tyler: Not necessarily. It was something we wanted. I had worked in e-com before. My brother who I founded the company with has always been an entrepreneur and I had a previous startup before this as well. The inspiration really came from wanting the look and feel of a real tattoo without the lifelong commitment. There didn’t seem to be an option for that. I had been a freelance designer on the side for 15 years, it’s quite a while. I had a lot of designs that I had made that I wanted to wear as tattoos but they were quite trendy and things I knew that in 10 years it would be like Tweety bird tattoo that all middle age women have, that kind of design. I started looking for a solution.
My brother and I ended coming up across these tribes in the jungles of Panama who have been using this fruit for thousands of years to paint their bodies with. It turns out that there’s a molecule in this fruit that’s very effective at changing the color of the skin. We took this fruit and worked with these tribes actually, which is another story, I won’t get into that know. Worked with these tribes and then used the basis of that fruit to develop a completely new type of tattoo.
Felix: Very cool. You mentioned that you already had experience in the past running e-commerce businesses, where you running a business at the same time that you launched Inkbox?
Tyler: Yeah, I had a previous startup that I was running as we launched the e-commerce store. My brother quit his job in February 2015 and gave himself 3 months to get it off the ground and start making money. I had a previous startup and it was dwindling down and I knew the end was in sight so I said, “Yeah Braden,” my brother’s name is Braden. I told him, “Yeah, just take this on. Get the shop setup, start the business and in a couple months I’ll join.” That’s exactly what happened.
Felix: Very cool. You both had things going on, at least maybe just before launching the business, or winding down like you were saying. How did you figure out how to devote your time between 2 things, even though like you were saying you saw the end was near for your previous business, whatever you were working on prior. I’m sure it still required some of your time and maybe some of your mental energy as well. How did you balance the 2 things, running a business previously and then also trying to get another one off the ground?
Tyler: Having run a business previously you make a lot mistakes. Not necessarily mistakes but you do learn a lot, make mistakes and then learn a lot in the process and meet the right people. I had enough experience about at that point that everything was quicker the second time around. Starting Inkbox was … We did in 3 months what would have taken I think someone for the first time doing something 8 to 12 months. One of the main things was just hustling. It’s not even a matter of devoting, separating time, it’s just working all hours essentially.
Felix: Okay. Yeah, this is important, I think you have a special kind of perspective on this then because like you were saying you already launched business in the past and you learned things that basically took 25% of the time that it took previously for your past businesses. What do you think that you and maybe other entrepreneurs waste a lot of time on in the first year of being in business?
Tyler: I say planning, we didn’t write a business plan, we had ideas in our heads about how to go about things, but it was really just getting the product in people’s hand. I think a lot of people focus on the name and the logo and the brand and creating this kind of broad vision before you even know if people want the basic product that you’re going to sell them. I remember when we were sitting in an accelerator here in Toronto, there was another company that sat near us that was creating a bag or something. I think they spent like $5,000 to $10,000 with their consultant to try to get the name right.
They didn’t know if people were going to buy that bag or not. Here we were, we did everything ourselves. I think we paid like $100 for our logo design because we kind of half did it ourselves too, and then did almost everything ourselves. I guess not everyone can do that but if you have a decent grasp on culture and what would be a popular product, you can go at it yourself and hustle and not have to focus on that kind of stuff right at the beginning but develop it as you learn from your customers. I think a lot of our brand was actually defined by our early audience and our early customers. We evolved with the audience.
Felix: Okay, makes sense. It sounds like you got the product out to customers as soon as possible, try to validate it as quickly as possible rather than conjecture and think about what might work, what might not work. How does this actually play out on a day to day basis? Walk us through this process, how did you get the initial products made and how did you get them out to customers?
Tyler: We had an initial version of the product that was quite literally a fruit extract we imported directly from the jungle of Panama. It was a messy product. It had to be refrigerated. We ordered initial stuff off Ali Baba. Did it was quick as possible. Standard bottles, put this ink in those bottles, did it all by hand. Ordered stuff off of Uline for shipping and then used Shippo through Shopify. That allowed us to easily get it off the ground. That initial product was not scalable. It was something that it took a lot of time to mix it all together and bottle and package it. We had to even refrigerate it in the freezer before it was shipped. It was quite a cumbersome process and it wasn’t scalable. That’s actually why we developed the new version of the product, which is much different and it’s a much more scalable product.
Felix: Yeah, I like that approach of not being afraid to try something that’s not scalable just to get you to the next stage. I think a concern that entrepreneurs have though is that they wonder, can they ever make it scalable after that because you’re not spending time trying to figure out if it can be scalable if you’re just trying to get something out there like you were saying. It sounded like a very manual process. Did you guys know that it would be scalable at some time in the future or you were just hoping to figure that out later?
Tyler: Figure that out. We knew the concept was scalable, we knew people would buy it. I think our early traction showed that, early traction on the product. We weren’t even very content with, we didn’t really like the initial product. It was cool but it didn’t work as well as we wanted it to. I think it depends what you actually want to do with the company. We knew from early traction that if we developed an even better product, a product that was from a manufacturing standpoint scalable and we built the right company, we could turn into a proper high growth startup and not a lifestyle brand, if that makes any sense.
I think a lot of people start Shopify stores and it’s just going to be a side gig or a side hustle, or maybe a full time gig [inaudible 00:09:47] a couple people, and that’s a lifestyle business. It’s not super high growth but you make a living. You can make a good living but we knew early on, the initial traction that we saw and in general the concept of what we were doing was amenable to being a high growth startup.
Felix: What did you recognize? You don’t have to give away all your secrets, but how do you … If someone out there is trying to figure out what products to sell, what kind of business to start, are there telltale signs that a business can be scalable and not just be a lifestyle business, won’t be just a small business if they are aspiring to become a much larger company.
Tyler: I think in the e-commerce space there’s only 2 ways companies get that high growth, mainly, there’s exceptions of course. For the most part it’s companies that have a very unique product, and we’re in that category. It’s completely new, it hasn’t existed before, it’s in a market that hasn’t really had any innovation in generations. There’s that side of things, but then you have the other side which is business model. You’ve seen companies like Birchbox define the subscription box model. They have high growth because they defined an entirely new way to sell products. Dollar Shave Club is another example of that. I think Honest Company is a company that probably sits in the middle of those 2. They develop unique products but they are in a more competitive space.
Felix: You had a product early on for beta testing, you weren’t 100% happy with it but like you said it was cool. How did you know it was good enough to get going? Because I think it’s another stage I think a lot of entrepreneurs hang around at too long, which is that they wait for it to be perfect, to be exactly what they envisioned as the final form of the product, but you guys went ahead anyway with something that like you were saying you’re weren’t 100% happy with yet. How did you know that was good enough to get going?
Tyler: Just wearing it ourselves and having friends try it. Not just friends but a larger startup community, we’re part of an accelerator, about 80 different companies in there. There were a lot of people to test drive the product. We had a bunch of people use it and love it. Obviously the downside of the product was that it was difficult to apply, it took a long time to apply, it was quite messy, didn’t get the clean lines we wanted, but we knew that those were things that we could work on and at least partially resolve. We did enough research to know that we could partially resolve at least some of those problems. Even with those problems people were super excited about the concept, even though they had bad applications at the start. They saw its potential. They saw the potential, we saw the potential.
Felix: Yeah, hearing you talk it sounds like you … I’m not sure if you did a ton of research to know that all of these problems could be resolved, or did you just move ahead anyway because you knew yourself and knew your company, that you guys could figure out. Again I think this is another stage that a lot of entrepreneurs around, which is that they want to be able to see everything from beginning to end. Were you in that kind of camp too, where you had to see everything from beginning to end? How much did you know about the possibilities of the product before you even got started or were you comfortable getting started without knowing that?
Tyler: As an entrepreneur I’d say you’re never going to have perfect knowledge of something. I think that’s inherent being an entrepreneur, that there’s this risk and that risk comes from having imperfect knowledge. You just have to be comfortable with that imperfect knowledge. Worst case scenario, e-commerce it’s not as risky because you are making money if you have a product that has a decent margin. Worst case scenario we don’t make a lot of money and it’s something fun we did for a while. You’ve got to be comfortable with that risk and carry forward with it.
Felix: Yeah definitely. You mentioned as well earlier about how you fall into this camp of a innovative product, a product that has never been seen before. It requires a little education, like you were saying a lot of people are familiar with these kind of temporary tattoos that you find in a machine where you print it and put it on yourself, but yours is different than that. There’s some more technology that’s a little bit different than what you would find putting a quarter into a machine to get a temporary tattoo. It requires some education, how do you overcome this when you have a product as innovative? People don’t understand it, they might even relate it to the wrong type of product. How do you overcome this issue?
Tyler: I think we’re figuring it out. It’s a double sided with an innovative product because on the one hand there’s a greater, we call it a blue ocean in front of you. You don’t have competitors in the space so you have a lot of room to land grab and grow. If you can protect yourself with patents that are [defendable 00:14:44] then that’s even better. But the other side, yeah you have to educate people on what it is. It’s been really interesting to look at our bounce rates. That’s our metric for education, seeing if people are sticking around and reading about it. It took us a while to figure out what converted people. The best thing for us was video, just showing it being applied, because it’s quite a unique application process, has really helped us boost our conversions and sales.
Felix: Okay. How does this bounce rate come in? Are you saying that people come to the site and you’re seeing if people are leaving because they don’t understand the product? How do you interpret the bounce rate in your case?
Tyler: Yeah, if we had a bounce above, let’s say I think it was above … At one point it was about 55%, 60%. We didn’t have a video on the site. The application process wasn’t quite clear. Once we added that video you could see that bounce rate gradually drop down into 30s, low 40s.
Felix: Makes sense. Cool, so with that initial run again that you had and you were testing out with people that you knew offline, were you asking specific questions? How did you figure out if they were actually interested in the product or not? Because especially when you are an entrepreneur and you’re giving out free products for people to try, a lot of people would be polite, they would tell you things and they sugar coat a lot of their feedback. Did you do anything to make sure that you were the raw honest feedback that you needed to guide you?
Tyler: Yeah. We got that raw feedback on the product and what people thought of it obviously from the community around us, but online and for people we didn’t know, our strategy was to create some hype about it beforehand. What we did was create an Instagram account and a couple of our early shots were friends and family. We’d post them and say, “World’s first 2 week tattoo.” I think actually our tag in the beginning was, “Natural fruit based tattoo that lasts 12 to 15 days,” something a bit more verbose like that. We just built initial hype. I think we got a couple hundred followers just using hashtags for tattoos and temporary tattoos and lifestyle tags. Got a couple hundred followers, built up some hype.
Then when we launched the product on our first day I think we got $400 in sales, and they all came from Instagram. The first one was from Amsterdam and we’re in Toronto. It’s cool to see someone in a completely different country, speaks a different language although Dutch do speak English, purchase our tattoos. The first day we were like, “Okay, this is cool. People are actually wanting this.” In terms of price it was interesting for us because again it’s a new product that didn’t exist before, we wanted to price it high enough to differentiate ourselves from temporary tattoos and low enough that it’s an impulse buy, that you can see them going, “This is cool. I want this right now,” and then you wouldn’t really feel bad about spending the money.
In retrospect I think it would have been cool to use … What is it? I think Van Westendorp’s price sensitivity meter, which is an interesting model, asking users, customers a couple questions and getting that feedback and using that to draw a demand curve essentially, to see where the optimum price point is. I think we would have done that if we did another product but for us it was mostly what we would pay for it, kind of gut checking it ourselves.
Felix: I like this approach. I don’t’ think I’ve heard [inaudible 00:18:39] talk about it, which is pricing to differentiate yourself from the other kind of temporary tattoos out there. Can you speak about this a little bit more? How did you know to do this? How much of a difference did it make?
Tyler: I’d say it made a huge difference. We’re defining a market. In defining a market you have to define the price too and what the average price for a product like this should be. We wanted to make it clear that this wasn’t what you thought it was. If you initially just saw, “Temporary tattoo,” or something, which we don’t market ourselves as at all, you would think that it’s the thing you get for $5. You get a couple of them on a sheet and you stick it on your skin, it lasts a couple days.
We were very cognizant not too give off that brand image. I think there’s a brand image of temporary tattoos being cheap and there’s been a couple companies that have done really well in overcoming that cheapness by really focusing on artists and using really cool art, but we had a technology so it had to be quite a bit different than anything in existence. I think people, you pay more technology obviously because it takes a lot more money to create that technology. Taking it all into account it made sense to make it the price point it is now.
Felix: Yeah, I think that all makes sense. You mentioned that you first built up the hype for the product even before you guys launched by building an audience on Instagram first. I think that’s awesome because you get a feel for interest that way as well. Did you have a 100% complete product at that time or were you still iterating through it while you were building this audience?
Tyler: Yeah it was complete enough. We weren’t ready to start selling it yet but in testing it was completed. I think mainly we were sorting out shipping, figuring out how to ship properly and the packaging, little things like that before we launched.
Felix: Yeah, because I wonder if you do promotion and building up hype prior to having a complete product, do you worry about presenting a product that’s not complete yet that might impact your brand or I guess it might dilute the brand a bit if it’s not the end product that you were trying to put out? Did you ever worry about that while you were building the audience?
Tyler: Yeah. I’ll separate that into 2 parts then. First part being before launch, we didn’t really worry about that because our product shots were the result and the result worked. We knew it worked so we just took the shots of it and people could see exactly what they were getting in that respect. Post launch we were still developing the product as we grew the company. We were always very clear to make people know that this was a new product, this didn’t exist before and we’re brothers, small business. We’re just trying to get this off the ground and really figure it out. There’s customers that are pretty loyal customers of ours, who were there from the start. It’s pretty cool to see them still coming back and engaging with the brand because they were there at the start and they grew with us as we defined the product.
Felix: Yeah that makes sense. I think that that’s important, that kind of clear line of communication and then the vulnerability and the honesty, putting yourself out there I think people give you a lot of runway when you don’t have everything figured out yet. They like being able to see you progress and essentially grow with you. I think they can buy into your story a bit more when you’re able to do that. Speaking of going through this process, you guys had launched on Kickstarter as well. I think, I’m looking at the stats here, your initial goal was 20,000 Canadian Dollars, ended up breaking through that goal, ended up raising $275,000 from over almost 8,000 backers. Amazing success there. When did this come into play? Was this after you guys had launched or before you launch? When did you guys launch the Kickstarter campaign?
Tyler: We launched it about 5 months after launching the initial product. The goal of the Kickstarter for us was we had that initial product, we knew we needed to iterate on it to build a more scalable version of the product. We worked with chemical engineers for that 5 months time frame and came to some conclusions that were very revealing, that we could in fact make a very scalable product, a much quicker application time, perfect tattoo almost every time. A much better product all around. It was so vastly different from the original version of the product in terms of how it was applied, the manufacturing of it that we wanted a single place to give it hype and really build it up into something new. What better place to do that than Kickstarter.
Everyone knows what Kickstarter is. Check us out, we’re on Kickstarter. That is such an easy thing to say to people to get them to go try something out. Then going back to that concept of working with us to grow the company, that’s exactly what Kickstarter is. We already had that story going into the Kickstarter, which was good. We knew we wanted to launch that product and we needed money to do so, so we went with a Kickstarter.
Felix: You already had an existing product but then through some research you discovered that there were ways to improve it and that’s when you launched a Kickstarter. You used this Kickstarter to actually launch an improved version of an existing product?
Felix: Very cool. Because you already had the story going, you already had the product out there, how did promote this? What were some ways that you were able to … I guess maybe what kind of preparation did you do prior to launching the Kickstarter campaign?
Tyler: Preparations? Make sure we did a really good video. It’s an accessory, it’s a fashion item, it had to look great. We’re very fortunate to have a really awesome videographer make the video with us. It started out with good models, different skin types, different looks, people that are beautiful but naturally, that kind of vibe. Then I think the main thing with the Kickstarter was creating a schedule on getting everything ready and done in terms of making sure your images are done here at this time, your video is done at this date, all the copy is written by this time, because there’s quite a lot that goes into a Kickstarter campaign. If you really want to do well it’s got to be a pretty nice page, so make sure you give yourself a couple of months to plan it, if anyone else out there is thinking to make a Kickstarter.
Felix: You mentioned the video is key, I’ve heard this plenty of times too, especially with Kickstarter is what was really catch the people and get them to stick around to learn more about the product. What are some things that you learned that you definitely want to include in let’s say a future Kickstarter campaign, that you want to include in the video? What are some things that you found to be very successful to make sure that it was a high converting Kickstarter campaign?
Tyler: Yeah, I don’t think one video gives me the authority to say what should and should not be included in a video, but we did a bunch of research before we launched the video and the Kickstarter campaign. One of the main things was that, pretty clear on what the value proposition is right away in the video, within the first 30 seconds, because people get turned off if not. Obviously make sure the quality is high, unless you’re going for something kind of goofy that doesn’t need high quality.
It really depends on the type of product you have. I think third would be to have the founders in it and speak directly at the camera. That really helps in my opinion. Anything with a person in it makes it feel very relatable and people are more drawn to images that have a face in them. Even just making the still of a girl’s face with a tattoo on her hand in front of her face, the image we use across Kickstarter was taken from that train of thought.
Felix: Yeah that makes sense. I think a lot of times people spend too much time maybe presenting the product itself but not the story and not the founders. I think a lot of times people will back a campaign because they fall in love with the founder’s story essentially.
Tyler: Story is huge.
Tyler: Story telling in general, we’re story telling creatures, that’s how we survived for hundred of thousands of years as humans and proto-humans, it was telling stories. There’s leopard that sits behind that rock every fall looking for preys so don’t go near it. We’re hard wired to listen to stories and love stories. We made sure we told a story in our video as well.
Felix: Yeah for sure. I think when it comes to working with a videographer it’s probably a path that other Kickstarter campaign creators want to take as well. Anyone out there who’s listening that wants to do it. What some tips on working with a videographer? What kind of direction do you give? What is that process like when you work with someone, a professional to create a Kickstarter video?
Tyler: The process for us, we found them through another company. I think that’s the easiest way, find someone in your city whose brand you like or whose video you liked and reach out to them. Be like, “Hey, here’s your videographer.” It’s exactly what we did. This cool brand called [Vitaly 00:28:14] here in Toronto, kind of trailblazing the men’s jewelry trend right now. Really, really cool videos, trend setting. It’s really interesting. One of their videographers we reached out to and from there it was just a matter of story-boarding, but loosely, we’re not actually drawing a story board we’re just writing down what we want to go in the video and the scenes are and what we want to say. It was just one session of that and then set it up for filming.
We rented out, I forget what it was called but there are spaces around most cities now they’re rentals, like Airbnbs essentially for filming and photo shoots. We found one, it had lighting there already which was nice. He brought his camera. He shot on a Red, a 4K camera which was nice for us because if you shoot on a 4K camera, which is nice about having a videographer, you don’t actually get a photographer there. If he takes enough footage you can actually take stills from the 4K footage and they’re beautiful images. We didn’t even need to hire a photographer for our shoot, we just used the stills, which was great.
Tyler: Yeah. That was really it. We paid him a couple thousand dollars for the video. Expect to pay for quality video a couple grand.
Felix: That sounds like a well worthy investment, especially when it’s such a staple part of a Kickstarter campaign and has such a big impact on [inaudible 00:29:52] Kickstarter campaign, especially when you’re trying to raise this kind of money. Speaking of the money, you raised $275,000 again, what did you after you finished the campaign? What did you need to spend this money on?
Tyler: We freaked out. At first I was freaking out, we went like, “Oh my God this is amazing,” and then it was freaking out like, “Holy crap, how are we going to do this?” Because we only set out to raise 20,000. Kickstarter is a double edged sword because … I already used double edged sword, is there another analogy?
Felix: I can’t think of one.
Tyler: It is a double edged katana, there we go, or something like this.
Tyler: It’s a double edge katana because on hand you want to raise as much money as possible, but on the other hand if you raise too much shit gets out of control because you didn’t plan for this. But it’s great at the same time because it gives you that validation that what you do is something people want and that you do actually have something here. Initially, right when we finished the campaign, or even before obviously, we set into motion working with suppliers and manufacturer that we had been talking to beforehand, and then just developing the product. I think the one main thing that we got wrong on our Kickstarter campaign was not charging enough for shipping.
We got crushed on our shipping for Kickstarter, and we had been doing shipping before too, it’s just we hadn’t shipped to all that many countries and shipping internationally can be complex. If you are doing a Kickstarter I would setup on Shippo first and play around with it and then go on USPS’s website or wherever you’re shipping from’s website and you can usually find a parcel cost calculator. Take a bunch of countries from different continents because people on Kickstarter buy from everywhere, and math all your pricing and then how much to charge. We charged a couple dollars less than we should have for our shipping and it really crushed us.
Felix: On Kickstarter can you have variable pricing based on where you’re shipping to or do you have to build it into the tiers?
Tyler: I actually don’t recall. I think, at least from what I read, it was always best to do a flat rate for either domestic or international. That’s what we did, but we decided a bit too low.
Felix: Makes sense.
Tyler: I know it’s based on tiers, so a certain tier had free shipping and then others didn’t.
Felix: Okay. One of the things that you mentioned in the pre-interview was about influencer outreach, that was a key for you. Tell us a little bit more about this, what is influencer outreach and how did you use it to market the business?
Tyler: Yeah, this came after Kickstarter. Kickstarter really blew up because of press. We had an insane amount of press. We just reached out to journalists ourselves and they liked it and they wrote about it. That really helped boost our sales on Kickstarter, but after that as we were starting to actually grow without that press, we’ve made use of influencers. Mostly going around ourselves and having a couple of our employees skim through Instagram every day, finding influencers. I think the best thing is to find someone whose style and [inaudible 00:33:03] you like and then hit that little arrow where it says follow and then you can see the suggested people to follow and then just go through all those people and then [inaudible 00:33:13] we DMed a bunch of people. Most … I guess I don’t know what you’d call them, but they’re smaller influencers, anywhere from like 10 to-
Felix: Micro-influencers I think.
Tyler: Yeah micro-influencers, that’s a better term. Anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 followers, they usually don’t care for getting paid. If it’s a big brand that comes to them they’ll want to be paid but if it’s a small company, that has a cool product that’s new that they could show their friends they’ll usually take it free and then post about it if they want. We’ve done a ton of those. Plus it gives you great photos to use on your own Instagram. We use that as our product shop on our website too. It’s kind of our main thing actually, is going back to that whole concept of this is a new product, how do we show people, educate people on it being new?
I think product shots of influencers and micro-influencers really help with that because these are people who we sent the product to and they wore it themselves. They put it on, they take great photos, so they’re already good photos, different skin type, different locations. It gives our website a really interesting feel I find. It looks like you’re browsing through a Pinterest page for inspiration and then you can save things to your wishlist and then boom, you buy 3 or 4 tattoos that you’ve seen other people on our Instagram or our website wear.
Felix: When you do identify these influencers, what are you guys asking them? Are you just sending them free products or are there any stipulations I guess that are involved in this? How do you work with them?
Tyler: Stipulations, pretty simple, just use the hashtags. There’s a couple hashtags we use. Make sure to tag us if you like it. We don’t force them to post, we just send them a free kit. It costs us not a lot of money to send them a free kit and then they try it on. If they don’t like it they don’t post about it, and if they do they post about it. I’m trying to estimate our success rate with that. It’s probably like 85%, 90% people we send it to will post about it in end. The few that don’t I have no idea why they don’t but it’s a definitely good ratio to work off of. In terms of process, yeah, it’s easy as just sliding it into DMs “Hey, what’s up? Love your style. Here’s what we do. Check us out. Let me know if you want a free kit. Choose a couple designs and we’ll send [them 00:35:35] to you.” It’s how it works.
Felix: Very cool. You mentioned that a lot of your product photos actually come from these influencers. Again I think it’s a great way to get photos and to get these lifestyle photos, actually photos of the product being in use in the wild. It looks much more organic I think most people put it in their minds [inaudible 00:35:55] better how this product will work. How do you get the rights to these photos? Do you have to ask or do you have get anything legally done to get the rights to the photos that people are posting or they’re putting out on their social media, to take those photos and put them on your site as product photos?
Tyler: No, at least with micro-influencers. With micro-influencers it’s all about attention, right? It’s an attention economy, they want more attention. We have a pretty big social following already and we have a lot of traffic to our website. We just tell them, “Hey, we might use this as a product shot if that’s okay. We’ll tag you in the product shot on our website in the description so people will go through and find you. Then we post about you in Instagram, we’ll tag you as well.” We know our influencers get a lot followers doing that. It’s kind of a win-win situation for both of us.
Felix: Okay, so as long as they’re okay with it and if they’re not at some point you can always take it down, it’s not a big legal to do.
Tyler: We’ve never had one influencer request a photo being taken down. We ask for permission of course but yeah, we’ve never had any problems with it.
Felix: Yeah, I think what you say makes a lot of sense, which is that it’s attention they’re looking for so if you are helping them with that that’s a lot of value in itself and I figure that’s I guess a fair exchange for using their photos. Cool, with all this marketing, all the work that you’ve done, [inaudible 00:37:20] Kickstarter campaign, can you give us an idea of how successful the business is today?
Tyler: Yeah, I’ll give you some high level metrics. We’re coming on our 2 year anniversary in February. Since doing the Kickstarter we did 275,000 and that helped us manufacture the initial product. After that we started building out our team. There’s 15 of us now in the company. We have an office here in Toronto. We’re growing at about 50% month on month and driving hundreds of thousands of people to our site on a monthly basis.
Felix: Cool, very awesome. What are the plans for the future? It sounds like you building a 15 person team is not a typical size of people that come on this podcast. You’re building a legit team, legit sized team. What are your plans for the next year or so?
Tyler: Plans are really to focus on allowing customers to create their own tattoos. We’ve build out a web app that allows them to do so and we’ll be launching that in a beta version very soon, in the next couple of months. Done some beta testing so far actually and it looks awesome, people love it. Really the goal with us is to allow anyone to wear a non permanent tattoo for a couple of weeks and up to a month. It’s really all about self expression skin deep. That’s where our focus will lie in the upcoming years.
Felix: Very cool. Thanks again for your time Tyler. Inkbox.com is the site again, I-N-K-B-O-X dot com. Anywhere else you recommend the listeners go and check out if they want to follow along with what you guys are up to.
Tyler: Yeah, just check us out on Instagram, @Inkbox. That’s our main social channel, so check us out there and check us out online.
Felix: Cool, we’ll make sure to link all that in the show notes. Again thank you so much for your time Tyler.
Tyler: Thanks Felix.
Felix: Thanks for listening to Shopify Masters, the e-commerce marketing podcast for ambitious entrepreneurs. To start your store today visit shopify.com/masters to claim your extended 30 day free trial.