In the eight years since its inception, Ink Nurse has significantly disrupted the tattoo aftercare industry with its innovative natural remedy cream. The brainchild of a brand that saw an impressive $1 million net sales per calendar year and secured thousands of stockists globally, Ink Nurse’s newly reformulated and revamped product sold out within 72 hours of its pre-orders being made available.
Before the birth of Ink Nurse in 2015, tattoo enthusiasts had limited aftercare options, often resorting to antiseptic creams from big pharmaceutical firms. The label introduced a game-changing formula—a vegan, all-natural remedy cream that offered unparalleled hydration, nourishment, and bio-absorbency, vital for tattoo aftercare and maintenance. What started as a grassroots venture, with orders placed via Instagram DMs and founder-led deliveries, quickly turned into a global sensation, boasting million-dollar sales.
Ink Nurse, which began as a cult favorite within the tattoo industry, soon found its way into the mainstream, thanks to thousands of 5-star reviews and glowing testimonials from around the globe. The product demonstrated its versatility with user reports of it softening and hydrating skin, relieving dermatitis symptoms, easing psoriasis, and soothing sunburns and various skin irritations. Ultimately, it became the people’s remedy, valued by both the tattooed and non-tattooed population.
The brand recently underwent a significant transformation to scale up and keep pace with rising demand. Ink Nurse introduced a rebranded, revamped, and reformulated product, embracing sustainability with production in a Melbourne-based facility and a 50% packaging reduction. This improved formulation offers a lighter, smoother, better-smelling, and more effective remedy cream that is kinder to sensitive skin. The natural remedy cream serves as a daily face and body moisturizer, a soothing agent for skin irritations, and an intensive hydrator, all while maintaining its original purpose as a top-tier tattoo aftercare cream.
The product was relaunched with an initial batch that sold out within three days, further affirming its quality ingredients and value on the market. Ahead, we got to chat with Jason and learn all about the brand, its hero product, and much more.
Can you share the story behind the birth of Ink Nurse, from its initial concept to the development of your unique product line?
Having been surrounded by tattoo artists and the tattoo culture my entire life and living with a house full of artists (5 of us in a house), I would often wonder why there was never a clear-cut answer for what product to use on a fresh tattoo to stop the itch, burn, uncomfortableness and ensure a good solid heal. It was always a different answer for everyone; every artist would say something different. I realized there was no clear-cut answer in the industry and didn’t understand how a nappy rash cream was the most popular option when it’s not designed to be applied to a fresh tattoo.
So I contacted my friend in Los Angeles, who was a successful entrepreneur and had been working with this college professor on a number of projects, one which happened to be a revolutionary skincare product. With the help of a top dermatologist and the professor, we were able to work out which ingredient base would work best for the healing process of a fresh tattoo. Then I took that to a manufacturer in Sydney, Australia, and added my own flare to it, sat at home for many sleepless nights coming up with a name and logo when I finally landed on Ink Nurse.
I loved the fact that the name is so strong, the word ‘nurse’ makes the customer feel like they’re in good caring hands, and the name literally tells you what the product does, which is often a barrier in the cosmeceutical product world. Then, I built a website, social media, and ordered as much product as I could afford, which wasn’t even the manufacturers’ minimum order quantity threshold – but they believed in me and the brand so they allowed me to start with a low quantity, and the rest is history!
Out of curiosity, how have your personal experiences and passion for tattoos inspired the creation and growth of the brand?
It’s THE entire reason for creating the brand. Having been around the tattoo industry in some way or another my whole life, I have a pretty vast network that has certainly helped the growth of the brand, and I have always ensured that I work with my peers from the industry. It’s been a hands-on collaborative team effort. Artists have direct access to me and input on the formula, upgrades, new product lines, and even collaborating to make their own versions of Ink Nurse. Having that backing has definitely helped, and I truly believe in being transparent and working with your community.
There’s no denying that Australia boasts a strong tattoo culture, with statistics showing one in four people have them. How does this environment influence Ink Nurse’s approach to product development and brand positioning?
I undertook a thorough amount of market research when starting Ink Nurse, and I wasn’t shocked when I found the statistics of tattoo popularity in Australia. It just further solidified by a tactical approach to entering the market – which was to work with credible names and respected industry veterans from the very start because the power of a respected tattoo artists word-of-mouth carries immense weight in the industry.
I think of tattoo artists like a nurse, they work on you, and then they tell you what process and products to use afterward for continued care. Clients follow the directions of their artists. When it comes to product development and expanding our product range, I will build a quiz, asking the users to input what they want in a product and gather as much information as possible. I will run social media polls and send email campaigns asking for feedback and input from our existing loyal audience.
Because who better to listen to than the people that actively support your brand? And whenever I develop something new, I always look at how I can improve that product and what USP I can implement so we can distinguish ourselves in the market.
Let’s talk about the Remedy Cream, what inspired this formula?
It’s not complicated, I was inspired to just create a simple, effective, and natural formula that worked – no BS, no fancy false marketing, and complicated formulations. I worked with top professionals in their fields, found the best ingredients and the highest quality sources of those ingredients in Australia, and I just trialed each round of concept samples with as many people as I could in the industry. Until we finally found the perfect formula. The original formula was very well received in the industry, and I’m really proud of it.
The new and improved formula boasts a smoother, lighter, and more effective consistency. Can you elaborate on the research and development that went into enhancing your hero product?
After years of collecting customer data and feedback, we simply listened – I think it’s really that simple. I listened to what people liked and what they wanted to improve, and I spent a solid 12 months working with my manufacturer partner in Melbourne. I was personally in the lab with the chemists and the team working to make the lightest, most absorbent, nourishing, and effective upgrade of the existing formula.
I have the best relationship with my manufacturing partner, unlike any other I’ve worked with, and this was so important moving forward with Ink Nurse on the verge of scaling rapidly this year globally. The relationship is critical for research and development; they even allow me to go in on the weekends when they’re technically closed, so I can work on some crazy ideas I may have for the brand and our product expansion.
Caring for the community is integral to the label’s ethos. How do you engage with the tattoo community, and what initiatives have you undertaken to support tattoo artists and enthusiasts alike?
One of the first things I ever did was a partnership with Sea Shepherd in Australia, where I did a collaborative product with them. What I did was simply design a co-branded lid sticker for the jars, and for every one of those jars sold, I donated $5 to Sea Shepherd. I chose Sea Shepherd in particular because I grew up in Byron Bay, spent my life in the ocean, and their cause was always one that I was drawn to.
Also, almost all of their crew were tattooed, and Sea Shepherd Global even own their own Sea Shepherd Tattoo Studio and a range of inks. I knew they were looking to explore the tattoo market more, and I acted upon this strategic charity alignment because it was a good cause, aligned with the ethos of my clients, had a direct association with the tattoo industry and it was a smart business decision. In the earlier days, it allowed me to ‘piggyback’ off their established enormous global reach, which exposed the brand globally.
I ended up being invited to the prestigious London Tattoo Convention when they had their last one pre-Covid era, and I was with the executive group of Sea Shepherds at their stall, where we talked about working together further into the future (stay tuned!)
With the growing popularity of tattoos and body art, how do you envision the future of tattoo care, and what role do you hope that you all can have in shaping that landscape?
I think customers are smarter online now, since the covid-era online shopping boom, customers have begun to see through BS products, inauthentic influencer marketing, artists only promoting a product because they get paid to (something I have never done) and the entire marketplace is in for a huge shift. I want to disrupt the entire industry with authentic purpose-made, and scientifically backed formulations with a high-quality product that will stand the test of time.
I want to ensure every person on earth can have access to an affordable, high-quality end-to-end tattoo care kit that they feel comfortable using and trust the brand because I keep everything completely transparent. I think brands that aren’t transparent will slowly wilt away, and I’ve already seen it happen.
In the earlier days, we had some copycat brands who would copy the brand, content, rip off designs we worked on and even contact our stockists saying not to use Ink Nurse. They have since died off or faded into obscurity because they operated immorally and acted out of envy, and I truly believe so long as you keep your morals and ethos in check, you will always outlast those that don’t.
Lastly, what’s on the horizon for Ink Nurse? Are there any new product innovations, collaborations, or expansion plans that you can share with our curious readers?
Sticking with the push for transparency that I harp on about, absolutely! This year I will be releasing a world-first tattoo wrap, a numbing product, and a purpose-made body wash for cleaning fresh tattoos. This will provide an end-to-end tattoo aftercare experience. You can also expect to see us finally have booths at major expos and conventions around the world, starting with the UK.
We are launching our Ink Nurse UK warehouse, where customers can order domestically from the UK, and customers in the EU don’t have to order all the way from Australia. As I write this from a café in Los Angeles, I am exploring a few avenues to launch in the US as we speak. It’s a huge year!