This is obvious even though it may seem obvious now: Tattooed individuals have different skincare needs. It was three college students who decided to create a skincare company that would be direct to consumers.
Drew Fallon was paired with two Miami University (Ohio), friends to create a side-business called Mad Rabbit. “We had one product, one social site, and one advertising channel,” Fallon told me.
Two years later, the company hit $3 million in annual sales — still as a side hustle. That’s when the three founders left their full-time jobs to be, as Fallon puts it, the ultimate in tattoos.
Recently, he and I discussed Mad Rabbit’s rise. You can find the complete audio below. For clarity and length, the transcript was edited.
Eric Bandholz We need to know the basics of your company.
Drew Fallon Mad Rabbit We are the first direct-to consumer tattoo skin care company. Our products help folks’ tattoo ink stay vibrant and fresh for as long as possible. Alternatives to harmful products for tattooed skin are offered by us.
Our side-hustle was launched in 2019 by my two cofounders, who graduated in the same year from Miami University. After graduating, we all worked full time for approximately two years. We went from zero revenue to $3 million with just one product and one social media site.
We decided that we would do it full-time in the winter 2021. We are all now 25, and we have been together since then. We’re early in our tattoo journeys, and so is our primary customer. Some people are between 25 and 30 years old, with just a few tattoos. Tattoos are addictive. Many people get tattoos and then they get even more.
Bandholz: What is the best way to make $3,000,000 as a side-business?
Fallon: Selom, our co-founder, was a master at Instagram ads. This was our sole paid promotion. His work was outstanding. The year 2021 was the same year that our first Amazon purchase. Our first Google Ad appeared.
But it mainly came down to giving people something that didn’t exist.
Bandholz: From a lifestyle brand, you have gone hyper-growth.
Fallon: Only three of our employees had to be paid salary, and we were still profitable. Late 2020 was the end of Shark Tank. We didn’t know if it was going to air. Mark Cuban was our largest investor, and we were closing the $500,000 deal. He’s now our largest investor, having participated in subsequent financing rounds.
In January 2021, we launched our soothing gel. The gel was well received. In March we developed a sunscreen that went viral. Within a single week, 10,000 units were sold. At that point, we said, “This is a special opportunity. There are two choices. We can keep coasting, or we can pursue the most of what this could become.” We went with the latter.
We’re building a brand to be the ultimate in tattoos — way beyond skincare. Building a brand can be expensive. This requires a lot of money. It was a decision we made and there wasn’t much competition.
Bandholz: It is likely that most of your clients are female.
Fallon: Yes. That’s correct — about 55% female. At first, there were more male clients than we could serve. However, our female customer base grew with each new product we released. More skincare products are purchased by women. We’re going through a brand refresh now to de-emphasize the masculine vibe. We’re switching to white packaging, too.
Tattoo culture can be very diverse. My sister, 18, has three tattoos. Harley Davidson motorcycle riders are known for their many tattoos. Athletes and chefs are also fond of tattoos.
Speaking to each segment is an opportunity we haven’t cracked. Everyone is treated as though they are the same. But we’re hiring people with segmentation experience to build different purchasing cadences.
A female could buy sunscreen and then check it out two months later. A male might purchase the sunscreen first, then test it on his body.
Bandholz: Facebook Ads were mentioned. Mad Rabbit was astonished at the iOS 14.5 tracking.
Fallon: In April 2021 Instagram accounted for 85% of all marketing spending. It was almost like the trains were going off the tracks when iOS launched in May 2021. We didn’t know what was happening. Sales reflected the iOS change However, the supply chain has been strained.
Now, fast forward to 2022. We’re spending more money on social than ever but at better marketing efficiency ratios. Two pivots were also made.
Inked is an online magazine. We did an equity for services agreement. There are 60 million people following them on social media. For a part of our company’s ownership, they exclusively promoted our brand, products and content on these social media channels. This helped us to explode the top of our funnel.
TikTok was the second. TikTok videos have been viewed over 20,000,000 times and have attracted more than 400,000 people in six months. The videos also have generated massive buzz. top-of-funnel effect.
With millions of users visiting TikTok, Inked and other sites, Facebook started to function again. We scaled Facebook in January 2022, and we’ve been growing month-over-month since then.
Our attribution modeling shows that Facebook is now driving a large portion of our sales. Daily we take advertising by channel You can use Excel to calculate the daily sales of our site and Amazon, and then do a linear regression in Excel. It is clear that Facebook continues to drive a lot of our sales.
Bandholz: What are some places people can follow you and help?