Millennials, remember when you were kids and crimped hair and temporary tattoos were just the coolest thing? Although we have not seen kinked hair in trend for a while, the new generation of temporary tattoos are totally making a comeback. INKED by Dani, the best temporary tattoo brand currently on the market, is bringing us all the best of ’90s nostalgia.
Dani Egna, founder & CEO of INKED by Dani, was born and raised in NY and has been extremely passionate about art and design since she was little. After a night out at a themed party during her senior year of college at the University of Southern California, Egna’s friends, who knew how much she loved drawing, asked her to cover them in unique hand-drawn doodles using eyeliner. The designs were an instant hit — and Egna had a lightbulb moment to create chic temporary tattoos and turn them into a whole new category of wearable art and creative beauty expression. INKED by Dani was born.
“I think the wearable, elevated, minimalistic design approach we’ve taken, is exactly what’s needed to bring these temporary tattoos back to life in a modern way.” When asked why she thinks temporary tattoos are making a comback, Egna says: “And of course, riding the wave of the major ’90s revival has been a huge boost for our nostalgic and colorful designs.” The brand recognizes customers’ desire to try out a tattoo design before they get inked for real, and allows those who are unsure of permanent tattoos to get their dream designs commitment free.
In the short space of 5 years since its establishment in 2015, INKED by Dani became so successful and popular it earned Egna a place on Forbes 30 under 30 in 2020.
“Being honored with Forbes 30 Under 30 was truly humbling. I think I am still in awe!” Egna speaks of her nomination. “It is so inspiring being a part of such an impressive group of people who are really changing the world and making a difference. I will forever be grateful for the instant community and genuine connections that this nomination has brought me.”
Egna considers herself amongst INKED by Dani’s target group of consumers, and as a result she is able to create products for her customer base in an organic manner. “I can take a Gen Z/millennial lens on everything we do, hence being able to authentically bring our audience what they want to be wearing. Allowing and inspiring people to express themselves creatively — but without the pain, cost, or commitment of the real thing, is something I feel truly makes us successful.” Egna says with a smile.
However Egna agrees that building her brand was not as effortless as it may have seemed to many, and she still faces challenges on a daily basis. “Scaling and building out a robust team to accommodate the growth and demand we’ve been receiving is our current (exciting) challenge!” Egna enthuses: “As a young brand, we are dedicated to hiring creative, entrepreneurial employees that not only have the required skills, but also fit in well with the company culture.” At the moment Egna oversee all aspects of the company, with her main roles falling within design, production, and marketing.
Did the pandemic affect her business? “Absolutely. We have been extremely lucky in the sense where this shift in lifestyle has ended up impacting us in a positive way.” Egna says, and points to the mood-lifting quality of her products, as well as their affordable price points, as a couple of the main factors contributing to the surge in sales.
But the team’s inventive effort did not stop there — the brand launched Nail Art Tattoos ($10), which also hits a need created by the pandemic: an easy way to get an amazing manicure without going to a salon. “We’ve found our customers are not giving up on self-care, and are so excited to bring our tattoos to a new realm to fit this need and trend.”
Egna tells me there are exciting collaborations of INKED by Dani with incredible brands in the works, in addition to expanding their presence in retail, including launching in the UK at Selfridges.
“A really important focus for me are our charitable initiatives. We donate proceeds from the Charitable Tats Collection.” Egna speaks of the brand’s outlook and notes that she would like to be involved in more charitable projects. “Inked has designs for Breast Cancer Awareness, LGBTQ rights, Black Lives Matter and we are constantly adding new causes to support.”
When asked about what her favorite design is from her own collections, Egna says with a smile: “Sounds so cliche, but picking a favorite tattoo is like picking a favorite child: I truly don’t think I could just pick one!” Understandable, as they are all her works of art, and she loves each for different reasons. But for those who still wonders, Egna did make a limited edition pack called “Dani’s Picks” which includes a few of her favorites. “It was so popular, we actually sold out of it in just a few weeks!”