Mad Rabbit Brings Tattoo After-Care to an Underserved Market
Following a $2M seed round, Mad Rabbit co-founders share the keys to their success
“Chefs, military, gamers...tattoo culture is made up of countless different subcultures,” exclaims Mad Rabbit CEO and co-founder Oliver Zak. But the co-founders found that tattooed people weren’t getting the kind of attention from skincare brands they needed. Sensing white space in the tattoo after-care market, Oliver and co-founder Selom Agbitor set out to create quality products modeled after Oliver’s mother’s apothecary experience. The brand started as many do—from a college dorm, then as a side hustle alongside traditional 9-5 jobs. But after two years of brewing tinctures in their apartment, and validating product-market fit, the pair took the plunge and made Mad Rabbit their full-time gig.
Inking the deal
In January 2021 after making the leap, Mad Rabbit expanded beyond their first after-care balm and into a soothing gel and sunscreen. They shared these new products on Shark Tank and signed a deal with serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban for half a million dollars. Once they had this institutional support, the company used that momentum to build a seed round led by Acronym Venture Capital for $2 million. How will the brand use that money? “Now officially a venture-backed startup, we will look to deliver value and services to tattoo culture far beyond after-care,” explains Oliver.
Don’t get mad, get faster
That may sound like an easy success story, but building the brand came with its fair share of obstacles. Oliver jokes that “the title of entrepreneur might as well be ‘problem solver.’ Every day you wake up as an entrepreneur, you are challenged to critically think, and to tie vision to execution, all while putting out fires along the way.” Until now, fundraising has been one of their biggest entrepreneurial pain points.
“There will be many no's along the way, but the worst kind of ‘no’ you can hear is a slow one.” Oliver’s advice? “Push for quick yeses and quick no's — there are very few cases of slow ‘yeses.’ Every hour spent fundraising is an hour away from adding tangible long-term value to your business.”
Don’t fade away
Tattoos were long seen as a taboo, but Mad Rabbit wants every individual to celebrate their unique tattoo story. “Our brand ethos is storytelling and promoting individuality. We want people to share their stories, show off their ink, and feel good about themselves. We want to cultivate a community for self-expression and self-confidence.” Perhaps because tattoos were previously not part of the mainstream conversation, there hasn’t been a brand to cater to the unique needs of tattooed skin. Oliver notes how important it is to educate customers on proper tattoo after-care that’s dermatologist-approved. Some major myths still surround tattoos, for example that petroleum jelly is a suitable tattoo balm, when in fact it makes scabbing worse and contributes to ink loss.
Next stop: success
Now, Mad Rabbit is looking to expand across products and retail channels. Soon they will be launching new products to help their customer in every phase of tattoo care. And in addition to their DTC channels, their products are now also being sold at Urban Outfitters, where they can reach a new audience.
So what’s next for the wunderkind founders? “We’ve been laser-focused on building out a team of high performers and creatives to help push our growth efforts to the next level.”
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