It seems obvious: people with tattoos have special skin care needs. But let three new college students see something no one else has and start a skin care business right for the masses.
It was in 2019, when Drew Fallon joined two of his friends at the University of Miami (Ohio) who created a similar disturbance called Mad Rabbit. “We have products, social sites, and social media,” Fallon told me.
Two years later, the company achieved sales of $ 3 million per year, still on the side. That’s when the three founders quit their full-time jobs to, as Fallon puts it, major in tattooing.
I recently discussed The Rise of Mad Rabbit with him. The full text of our conversation is below. This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.
Eric Bandholz: Give us a quick overview of your business.
Drew Fallon: Mad Rabbit is the first direct-to-market skin care company. Our products help people’s tattoo ink stay fresh and fresh for as long as possible. We offer alternatives to mass produced products that are harmful to the tattooed body as a whole.
We started together in 2019, the same year two of my colleagues and I graduated from Miami University in Ohio. We all got full-time jobs about two years after graduation. During this time, we were making money from zero to $3 million from one product, one social site, and one social media channel.
In the winter of 2021, we decided to do it full time. All three of us are 25 years old now. We are at the beginning of our tattooing journey, so our customer base. Most people are between the ages of 25 and 30 and only have a few tattoos. But tattoos can be addictive. People get one, and they want to get more.
Bandholz: How do you make $3 million as a movie sponsor?
Fallon: Similarly, my co-founder Selom nailed the Instagram ad, which is our only paid promotion. He did an amazing job. Our first Google ad came in 2021, the same year our first Amazon sale.
But it’s often about giving people something that doesn’t exist.
Bandholz: You went from a lifestyle to a lifestyle.
Fallon: We’re only profitable without paying three employees. At the end of 2020, we just finished watching the Shark Tank show. We don’t know if it will blow. We were closing a $500,000 deal with Mark Cuban. He is now our biggest investor, having joined the next round of funding.
We launched our soothing gel in January 2021. It sold well. Then we created sunscreen in March, which is crazy. We sold 10,000 units in one week. At that time, we said, “This is a unique opportunity. We have two options. We can continue to convert, or we can chase it as it can get. We are the last one.
We are building a brand to be the best in tattooing – way beyond skincare. But building a brand is expensive. It requires a lot of money. We decided to go for it and had a little competition.
Bandholz: I think most of your customers are women.
Fallon: Yes. That’s right – about 55% women. Initially, we had mostly male customers, but our female audience grew as we launched more products. Women buy more skin care products. We’re doing a refresh right now to bring down the masculine vibe. We also go with white packaging.
Different tattooing traditions. My 18 year old sister has three tattoos. Harley Davidson riders have many tattoos. Chefs love tattoos, as do athletes.
Telling each side is a missed opportunity. We approach everyone as if they were one. But we hire people with experience in the division to create different buying cadences.
For example, a woman can buy a balm and check the sunscreen after two months. Maybe a man should buy sunscreen first and try to shower.
Bandholz: You mentioned Facebook advertising. How did Mad Rabbit react to the iOS 14.5 update?
Fallon: In April 2021, about 85% of our spending was on Instagram. When iOS arrived in May, it seemed as if the train had derailed. We don’t know what’s going on. Our sales reflected not only iOS changes, but also supply shortages.
Fast forward to 2022. We’re spending more than ever on social media, but with much better marketing performance. Also, we made two big pivots.
First, we entered Inked, an online magazine and contract for work. They have about 60 million subscribers on their social network. They only promote our brand, products and content on these channels in exchange for having a piece of our business. He blasted us over the pit.
The second thing is TikTok. We have TikTok videos in the last six months with over 20 million views and 400,000 subscribers. They also produced high quality effects.
With millions of views on TikTok and Inked, our Facebook ad has started working again. We launched Facebook in January 2022 and have grown month over month since then.
Facebook now carries a large portion of our market, as our feature index shows. We take daily advertising by channel and daily sales on our website and Amazon and run a simple line in Excel. We can understand that Facebook still drives most of our sales, including Amazon.