The Power of a Purpose-made Product
When asking business owners what makes their product so successful, it regularly begins with identifying a gap in the market. A consumer-demand or an industry-need that essentially solves a problem. When a product is made with an identified purpose, that truly embraces a community and fosters relationships of customer retention, it often doesn’t need the big budget marketing campaigns and paid-influencer alignments to make an impact and stand the test of time.
Ink Nurse is an Australian made and owned tattoo-aftercare brand that embodies this business path. Founder, Jason Taylor, grew up surrounded by the artistic flair of tattoo culture and he immersed himself in it through friends that lived at his parents’ house who went on to become established and well-respected Australian tattoo industry figures. Jason always respected the tight knit tattoo community and thought of them as an extension of his family, knowing the community was built off staunch morals, respect, tradition and integrity for the art and culture. Back then, the go-to tattoo aftercare cream was a well-known antiseptic nappy rash cream made by a big pharma company, there was nothing that existed that was both natural and purpose made for tattoo aftercare and maintenance. And Jason wanted to create one.
The moment occurred and Jason identified the gap in the market and spent years and research and development mode creating a special formula that he tested out with tattoo artist friends and ensuring the formula was signed off and tested by the most respected veteran tattoo artists. In 2015, Ink Nurse was born and operated as a side project from Jason’s one-bedroom apartment. Brands often get to this point and commence any and every aggressive marketing tactic they can in order to get the product in-front of their target market. For Jason, it was different. And deliberately different.
Jason focussed on creating an Ink Nurse global family, and didn’t take any “shortcuts” when it came to building the global customer base. Ink Nurse never engaged with or paid big influencers, never did any cold calling or emails, never through money as lavish marketing and advertising campaigns. Instead, he hit the road on a grass-roots level. The core foundation for Ink Nurse customers was grown from the ground up through word-of-mouth and online forums in a very slow and steady fashion. The biggest competitor, the nappy rash cream, had access to millions of dollars of advertising and marketing budgets, and while Ink Nurse couldn’t compete in this space, it also didn’t want to. Jason would drive one jar of cream 1-hour across the city to drop it off to someone at their workplace in exchange for a $20 note, organised through Instagram DM’s. Why? Because he knew that spending such dedicated time in research and development for the perfect science-backed product meant that it worked, and once people tried it, they would love it and spread the word. And spread the word they did. Ink Nurse started to develop into an underground product with a cult following. If Ink Nurse went down the path of paying a celebrity or influencer to promote the brand, it would result in more brand awareness and perhaps sales, but it would mean tarnishing the grass roots effort and respect the brand was gaining.
As a result, the demand for Ink Nurse was growing and a French company had noticed some great reviews of the product and placed an order that Jason simply couldn’t fulfil. Luckily, they loved and believed in the product so much that they made a deposit for their order so Jason was able to fulfil it. After 18-months, word continued to spread and Jason realised he needed to scale the business in order to keep up with demand. What began as selling tubs via Instagram DM’s in hopes of word-of-mouth marketing, quickly evolved into a massive business venture and Jason needed help. Jason turned to his best-friend and now business partner, Benjamin Garsia. Once they joined forces, they secured a warehouse space and worked 14-hour days packing and posting orders.
Over the years, other brands popped up to compete in the space that Ink Nurse was now dominating. Their desire to make a quick-buck with a below-par formula coupled with an aggressive marketing campaign was not well received as they sought to expand, grow and dominate too quickly while capitalising on an industry founded on integrity and respect. While the humble story of Ink Nurse was a slow build, it continues to stand the test of time because the word-of-mouth marketing and viral un-paid and transparently honest reviews are worth much more in the eyes of the consumer than a big fancy branded advert or marketing campaign.
Now in 2023, Ink Nurse is created in a state-of-the-art sustainable manufacturing facility and Jason and Benji are heading off for further international domination with trips planned to Columbia, the UK and France as enormous demand for the Australian-made super remedy cream continues to grow.
Ink Nurse is such a successful business story because it grew its customer base organically. It focused on being transparent, scientifically driven and listened to any and all feedback on the formula to improve it. Ink Nurse are constantly innovating and never settling, and this slow growth approach has resulted in a brand and product that stands the test of time.