HomeEntrepreneurMange Buyer Relationships with Tyler Handley of Inkbox

Mange Buyer Relationships with Tyler Handley of Inkbox

Foundr Journal publishes in-depth interviews with the world’s best entrepreneurs. Our articles spotlight key takeaways from every journal problem. We talked with Tyler Handley, cofounder of Inkbox, about learn how to handle buyer relationships. Learn excerpts from that in-depth dialog under. To learn extra, subscribe to the journal.


Again in 2015, Tyler Handley was fascinated about getting his first tattoo. However he confronted a typical dilemma—and that’s the truth that tattoos are everlasting. How might he ensure that the design he bought at this time could be one he preferred 15, 20, or 50 years down the road?

Sure, you might at all times get a laser removing therapy, however these are recognized to be painful and dear. And, sadly—other than the short-term tattoos he used to get from merchandising machines as a child—Handley wasn’t conscious of another semipermanent choices.

He determined to handle the issue himself and enlisted the assistance of his brother, Braden. The duo borrowed $10,000 from a buddy to assist them get off the bottom and, in the identical yr, launched Inkbox.

Quick ahead seven years. At this time, Inkbox is a beloved model that generated simply shy of $30 million in income final yr. The corporate was additionally acquired earlier in 2022 by pen-maker BIC for $65 million.

The Snowball Impact

Getting these first few clients via the door is a problem each entrepreneur faces.

In line with him, Inkbox’s first yr was gradual. The corporate solely made just a few thousand {dollars} per day—in the event that they had been fortunate. What lastly began driving the corporate’s development was a mixture of Fb adverts, Instagram influencer advertising, and word-of-mouth.

“That’s at all times the toughest half. It’s like rolling a snowball down a hill, proper? It’s important to get it began in some way. If you happen to can’t, nothing’s going to start out rolling.”

For brand new founders who’re additionally struggling to develop their corporations, Handley recommends discovering that one core channel and homing in on it—fairly than spreading your self too skinny. One other piece of recommendation? Don’t lose deal with the top-of-funnel advertising efforts, particularly whereas scaling.

Though top-of-funnel investments could be extra expensive, Handley believes it positively impacts the remainder of the funnel and finally will ship returns. In truth, he’s tracked the information and is aware of that it pays off over time.

“I believe plenty of corporations get trapped in simply spending into the center of the advertising funnel. However you’re not driving sufficient consciousness, which doesn’t compress that value. We’ve been actually placing extra into that high to construct model consciousness and put the [Inkbox] title on folks’s tongues. So once they do see that advert that’s extra mid-funnel for them, they’re much more prone to click on and much more prone to convert.”

Bizarre However Good

Finally, the Handley brothers determined to search for extra funding. They raised round $1.2 million throughout its pre-seed and seed rounds and, just a few years later, $13 million throughout its Collection A—enabling them to considerably increase the forms of tattoos they’ll supply.

At this time, Inkbox has one thing for everybody. For individuals who need lovely and aesthetically-pleasing tattoos, the corporate has delicate floral designs. Folks in search of a extra atypical look have the choice to get a tattoo of a frog driving a skateboard or the Mona Lisa taking pictures lasers out of her eyes.

“I might say irreverent is the appropriate phrase to explain them. Bizarre can also be a great phrase—however bizarre in a great way.”

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Inkbox additionally launched a more moderen model of its product about three years in the past, which gave them way more flexibility from a design perspective. One of many advantages of this replace is that it allowed them to construct out the group of artists they companion with on the designs.

“One of many core elements of our enterprise is the truth that our 10,000+ designs are designed by round 650 totally different artists—lots of whom are actually, actually proficient tattoo artists from world wide. Collectively, I believe they earned round simply $1.5 million final yr, which was actually cool for us to see.”

The corporate additionally launched its customized platform, which makes up about 15–20 p.c of its quantity. With this function, clients can both add a design themselves or design one from scratch utilizing Inkbox’s fonts and catalog of designs.

“It’s why we now have so many designs on our platform. Folks have very particular tastes and calls for for what they placed on their our bodies for one to 2 weeks. And so customized was only a pure extension.”

Tricks to Handle  Buyer Relationships

How have the Handley brothers grown so shortly whereas managing buyer relationships? Listed here are their ideas for constructing long-term buyer relationships.

  1. Perceive the place your corporation is presently: Constructing buyer relationships is a resource-intensive course of—and typically your corporation isn’t fairly able to make that funding. For example, Handley explains that within the early days of Inkbox, they needed to focus extra on development than retention. “We had been simply actually relying closely on new clients from Fb to drive top-line development—with out specializing in returning clients and retaining these clients.” And that is OK as a brief state.
  2. Take note of your CSAT rating: Once you’re prepared to start out investing in buyer relationships, top-notch customer support is vital. One metric that may allow you to gauge the standard of your customer support is your CSAT, or buyer satisfaction, rating. “Our CS crew has a very excessive CSAT rating. And that’s essential as a result of it’s a product that’s new to shoppers,” Handley says.
  3. Put money into constructing your electronic mail campaigns: Begin with emails when you’re undecided learn how to construct a post-purchase journey for purchasers. If you happen to’re on Shopify, there are tons of prebuilt campaigns you need to use. “Simply get them again within the door with a drip marketing campaign,” Handley says. “12 emails over three or 4 months with rising provides.”

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