Mad Rabbit CEO Oliver Zak on Gaining Acceptance from the Tattoo Community

Mad Rabbit, a tattoo care brand, has set out to mainstream a growing body care niche.

The company was founded in 2019 and produces products for tattooed people. This includes body washes and balms to ensure the tattoo doesn’t fade. It has seen a significant increase in sales year-over-year and over 100% growth over the past two years, thanks to an appearance on “Shark Tank” and a subsequent deal.

Where are you going? Oliver Zak is the co-founder of the company and its CEO. “It’s about beauty and mass,” he said. Zak spoke to the Modern Retail Podcast about his brand’s ambitions.

Already, the mass expansion of retail is in the works. Mad Rabbit revealed plans to expand its reach to 1,800 Walmart locations just last week. The question is, how can you make sure that people buy your products?

Zak says it’s all about the message. He said the key to success is to shout tattoos on your signage. “I have never seen anything in a Walmart related to tattoos before.”

A big part of his plan is to gain acceptance in the tattoo world. Zak explained that when he and his partner first entered the tattoo industry, their biggest obstacle was not being tattooists. “Many of them have a problem with ‘outsiders’ coming in and making money off the backs of tattoo artists. We are, in a sense, doing the same thing.

Over the years, Mad Rabbit has worked to establish partnerships with tattoo artists of all kinds and let them know they’re not just a bunch of suit-and-tie interlopers. That has begun paying dividends now, Zak said.

Zak stated that “this past year, conventions have been filled with nothing but love.”

Here are a couple of highlights from our conversation. The text has been lightly edited to maintain clarity.

Mad Rabbit on Amazon
“We’ve noticed that some of our Shopify clients have become Amazon customers. Two-day shipping is, in my opinion, a major benefit. The Prime badge has become a popular item. I do too. I bought Mad Rabbit on Amazon instead of our site. Two-day shipping is unavailable, and people often wait to order their tattoo products until the last moment. Say, their appointment — it’s later in the week; I’ll pick it up later. But you get to 48 hours before, and you’re like, oh shit, I have to get my aftercare. This is why we also sell in tattoo parlors. That’s another third leg of our retail strategy — having that point of care… where the artists can say, the best thing for your tattoo is at the front — go pick it up there.”

How Mad Rabbit achieved industry acceptance
“When we entered the industry for the first time, our biggest hurdle was that we were not tattooists. Many of them have a problem with ‘outsiders’ coming in and making money off the backs of tattoo artists. To a certain degree, this is exactly what we are doing. It’s important to add value to the tattoo artists and community. But beyond that, I think over the last three years, I’ve seen firsthand — whether it’s the conventions I go to or the artists I’m talking to — the general opinion of it used to be, ‘look at these two Shark Tank kids coming to monetize our industry,’ to ‘oh, these guys aren’t so bad, and their products are pretty decent,’ to this past year at conventions. It has been nothing but love. “So I think it has been a process to give back and be a stage for these artists’ work.”

How to get people to notice your product at mass retail
“We’re yet to prove it for sure. The key, I believe, is to shout tattoos on your signage. I’ve never seen anything about tattoos in a Walmart before. So if I’m a tattooed person, if I’m debating what body wash to buy and I see ‘Got tattoos?’ If you can find something that clearly states that we are a tattoo brand or something similar, I believe the foot traffic will allow a successful partnership. Aside from that, we will have to be more creative in our advertising. Our brand has always been very digitally focused. That’s what I consider our strength. We had the chance to do TV and out-of-home ads and more top-of-the-funnel things, which will help people familiarize themselves with the brand when they are in the aisles at Walmart.”

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