While I started prepping in 2015, SecondSkin’s official launch and first sale came on January 4th. It's been almost exactly a year to the day, and I can't believe how far we've come. Starting SecondSkin, I expected it to be only a part-time, regional thing. I didn't plan on advertising, and I was going to let most of my customers come to me via referrals from the artists I already knew. I remember after about a month, a tattoo artist asked me if I planned on putting out a cream. My response was, "Fuck no, that market is so saturated."
But I have a hard time doing things half-assed. March was a big month for SecondSkin. In March I did my first tattoo convention: Vic invited me last-minute to join his booth at Musink. I was completely unprepared, but it showed me exactly what I needed to do for future shows. I met some great people there, some that became customers, and one that became my second sponsored artist, Shadow. If you're not familiar with him, you should obviously go follow his Instagram, but following him on snapchat (@shadowink) really allowed me to feel like I knew him. This dude is one of the most positive and motivating people I have ever met. Since then we've had the chance to do the Texas Showdown convention together and have talked often.
At Musink I also tried what would eventually become our tattoo cream. Danielle De Niro Hayes, the owner of Herbal Elixirs, has been studying to be a master herbalist and has worked in the natural retail business as a supplement specialist for over 12 years. Her husband is a tattoo artist at Vic's shop, 27 Tattoo. She had been working on this tattoo cream for over a year when I picked up a sample. I used it to help heal my tattoos after removing SecondSkin and loved it, so I met with Danielle to figure out a way that we could work together. Originally I was thinking that we could do conventions together or maybe try to get into the same shops, but we decided it made sense for her to start making the cream for me. I was able to help her buy in bulk, which got the cost down. Then we went through the organic and vegan certification processes, which, believe me, were PROCESSES. It's no wonder there are only a few creams certified USDA organic. As far as I can tell, ours is the only one certified both vegan AND organic, which I'm very proud of. I truly believe we have one of the best tattoo creams in the country.
In March I also attracted an investor. That has allowed me to quit my other job, add the tattoo cream to our line, and travel to conventions. We did the Seattle convention in August, the Texas Showdown festival in September, and the Puerto Rico convention in December. We already have two scheduled through the first two months of the year. You can view the details of those shows at our conventions page. On top of that, I've spent a lot of time driving to Las Vegas and up and down the West Coast from San Diego to Seattle to meet new and existing customers.
I have many people to thank for making SecondSkin so successful so quickly. Vic Back for putting the idea into my head and really help me kick things off. My girlfriend Jenn for the courage she gave me, the initial loan (which allowed me to purchase the initial 500 rolls), and all of the continued support she has given me. Seriously, who else would watch my maniac dogs while I was on the road? Allen and Ginger from 5th Ave Tattoo Supply for being my first distributors and giving me a bunch of business advice. Shadow for the motivation and inspiration. Jacob for his support, which allowed me to quit my other job and expand the company. All of the early adopters. Everyone who has used our product, tagged or posted about us on Instagram and Facebook, or told someone else about SecondSkin. I appreciate you all, and I am truly humbled by all of your support and praise for our products.
I'm excited about 2017. We're going to continue growing by adding new products and meeting new artists and collectors from across the country. Thanks again :D