Small Business

rethink that ink

Permanent tattoos are losing their lustre, creating demand for more temporary body art

Written by Catherine McIntyre

Overdue: No-strings statements

Tattoos can be beautiful, deeply meaningful expressions of individuality. They can also be cheesy, pretentious or distinctly dated. (If you’re rocking a Tweety Bird on your lower back, you feel us.) That’s why when Tyler Handley was tempted to get branded, he started Inkbox instead. The Toronto company’s semi-permanent organic tattoos, made from the pulp of a South American fruit known as genipapo, penetrate the top layers of skin and fade away after about two weeks. The noncommittal body art comes in over 300 different designs—and there will soon be many more, as the firm introduces a “create your own” option.

Overdone: Traditional tats

Tattoos’ ubiquity has stripped them of any rebellious associations they once had. As of 2012, about 20% (or closer to 40%, by some counts) of North American adults had at least one tattoo and half of them wish they didn’t. (Tattoo regret has helped create a booming ink-removal industry valued at $75.5€¯million in the U.S. alone, up 500% in a decade.) If you believe the analysts—and the fact that tattoo parlours are now as common as coffee shops and dry cleaners—we’ve reached “peak ink.”

This article is from the October 2016 issue of Canadian Business. Subscribe now!

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