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The boys with the temporary tattoos

By Will Sloan

Tyler and Braden Handley

Inkbox founders Tyler and Braden Handley launched a Kickstarter campaign last week for their new temporary tattoo technology.

Getting a tattoo is a lifelong commitment. Wouldn’t you like to take it for a test drive first? Inkbox, a startup based out of Ryerson’s Fashion Zone, is breaking new ground in the art and craft of the temporary tattoo… but according to founders Tyler and Braden Handley, the terminology might be a little bit off.

“We don’t call it a ‘temporary tattoo’ – we call it a two-week tattoo,” said Braden, a Ryerson entrepreneurship graduate. “A ‘temporary tattoo’ is ingrained in people’s minds as a stick-and-peel – something kids would wear.

“It’s for people looking for a permanent tattoo who want to test it out, but it’s also going to be people wanting a fashion accessory.”

The “two-week” in “two-week tattoo” is key – Inkbox’s innovative ink formula, made from the Genipa Americana fruit from Panama, offers longer-lasting designs. “I’d wanted tattoos for a long time,” said Tyler, “but I didn’t want to commit to one permanently. But there were no options to do a custom two-week tattoo: I was even looking at the stick-and-peel ones that last two or three days, but there were no options for those that were custom either.”

Based at the Fashion Zone, Braden and Tyler patented a $15 tattoo kit – with ink, stencil, and protective glove – and developed 300 designs with 11 artists. Now they’re crowdfunding to mass-produce a new applicator that can cut down the tattoo application time from two hours to 10 minutes. Their Kickstarter campaign, which launched last week, is seeking $20,000 for lab and manufacturing costs.

Zone learning at Ryerson University is about helping students turn their ideas into action, and the entrepreneurs attribute some of the business’ early success to the resources and connections at Ryerson’s Zone Learning model. “Networking within the Fashion Zone itself is one of the most beneficial things,” said Tyler. “Anyone we met – be it investors, journalists, or anything that can help us grow the business – you typically get from meeting other entrepreneurs.”

“With our Kickstarter, when we launched it, everyone here spread it, because they want to help,” added Braden.

To donate to Inkbox’s crowdfunding campaign, go to www.kickstarter.com/projects/1382015739/inkbox-the-2-week-tattoo. To learn more about the Fashion Zone, go to www.fashionzone.ca/.

The Fashion Zone is also seeking startup applications from young entrepreneurs for The Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation. To apply for the first cohort, go to joefreshcentre.com by July 30. The second cohort will be in January 2016.

 

Other zone stories:

A new legal ecosystem

Funding helps zone startup soar

Everything is fashion

DMZ welcomes South African entrepreneurs

Collaboration is key to Design Fabrication Zone