Over the past few decades tattoos have become less taboo and have seen a recent rise in popularity both in the U.S. and around the world. Yet, as tattoos became more widely accepted, there remained a lack of aftercare and skincare solutions specifically designed for those with tattoos. Mad Rabbit, based in Cleveland, honed in on this gap in the market and developed products that revolve solely around the care and preservation of tattoos.
“Mad Rabbit is clean and natural skincare for the tattooed person,” CEO and Co-Founder Oliver Zak said. “While generic skincare routines can contain certain ingredients that can affect the way a tattoo looks over time, we were formulated with tattoos in mind to provide holistic skincare.”
The company began as a side hustle built by Zak and his co-founder Selom Agbitor. They created the first few batches of their formula in a crockpot in their apartment at Miami University. As they began to grow their business through social media and expanded their product line, their success captured the attention of the television show SharkTank.
“We took a deal with Mark Cuban and now we are soon to hit our one millionth customer,” Zak said. “We’ve recently taken on a ton of capital, which is going towards creating a great brand experience for both our core consumers and tattoo artists. No one has been appealing to this market and capturing customer data through that lens, so this is a huge opportunity for us to leverage. We’re using those insights to build some tech products that will help us better service the tattoo community.”
Now, Mad Rabbit is looking to play an even bigger role in the tattoo world by collaborating with tattoo parlors, pop-up events and festivals to bring their products outside of the digital realm and directly to consumers. For Zak, the next phase of their business is all about creating a deeper connection with the company’s customers and shedding light on the evolution of the tattoo community.
“The reasons people get tattoos are often because of great victories or stories of terrible loss,” he said. “People tend to get very personal stories tattooed on their body. I view that as a way to open up and connect on those things and that’s what really drives me at my core. Mad Rabbit showcases all those walks of life and what tattoo culture really is — passionate people who wear their heart on their sleeve.”
While Zak and his co-founders are passionate about innovating the tattoo industry, they’re driven by Mad Rabbit’s overarching mission, to normalize self-expression globally. And the center of that global reach is right here in Ohio.
“In high school, I had the opportunity to do entrepreneurship pitch competitions and interned at Flashstarts, a startup incubator in Cleveland,” Zak said. “I think that accessibility to the startup scene changed my life. After founding Mad Rabbit at Miami University, the school has been an incredible resource as well for helping us find a network for funding and venture capital. Ohio is home for us and it’s a great place to have a business.”