Inside Inkbox’s King West headquarters, with a tattoo studio and a mixing lab
What: Semi-permanent tattoo startup Inkbox’s office
Where: A former gym at King and Spadina
How big: 13,000 square feet for 60 employees
Inkbox has come a long way from its startup days in the Ryerson Fashion Zone, where it was founded in 2016 by brothers Tyler and Braden Handley. Their press on tattoos, which are made using all-natural compounds from a special plant sourced in Panama, last up to two and a half weeks and have been used in the production of The Greatest Showman and Stranger Things. Nine months ago, the company moved from their former cramped Duncan and Richmond office to a sprawling space on King West. The new three-storey building houses every part of the process, from mixing the ink to shipping (they mail about 60,000 semi-permanent tattoos per month).
Tyler and Braden come from a family of factory workers, so they wanted to stay true to their industrial roots. “You can really tell the product is cut and made here, and that’s important,” says Tyler. The space is filled with trendy touches, counterbalanced by all of the necessities that accompany producing a product in-house: cardboard boxes, laser cutters and piles of paper with sketches for new tattoo designs.
Tyler describes the office environment as extremely non-traditional—and it’s certainly one that caters to tattoo enthusiasts. The company gives each employee $500 a year for “personal body branding,” and there’s even a studio on-site where they can use their credit to get permanent ink. Many of the staff are tattoo artists themselves and the company regularly brings in renowned artists from around the globe to set up shop for a few days (this month, it’s South Korea’s Noil Culture).
The company logo is hard to miss from the street:
The main floor is devoted to retail space, where clients can stop by to choose a semi-permanent tattoo design and have it applied:
The formulas are mixed in-house. Each beaker contains enough ink for a few hundred tattoos:
They also make semi-permanent ink for freehand designs. Here’s where it’s bottled:
This wall shows off some of the company’s collaborations, including one with Vans Warped Tour:
There’s also a Nerf gun wall, but it’s a purely decorative jab at startup office stereotypes:
Here’s Charlie, one of the office pups:
The tattoo studio doubles as a lounge:
During our visit, one of the resident artists, Elyse Marcus, was giving a client a (permanent) tattoo:
One of the studio walls was designed by Sarah Skrlj, the brand’s director of artist community:
The office also has a content studio, where the team creates images and videos for social media and the website. Here, they’re shooting a lemonade jug tattoo:
Here’s where the tattoos are stored:
And, finally, an inspiration wall features a handful of freehand designs: