Two former Ohioans appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank” Oct. 14 to give an update on their company’s success since appearing previously in 2021.
Cleveland native Oliver Zak and Columbus native Selom Agbitor of Mad Rabbit Tattoo, a tattoo after-care and skincare company based in Los Angeles, returned to the show following an initial $500,000 commitment from “Shark” Mark Cuban in exchange for a 12% stake in their company.
In the year since their appearance, Mad Rabbit Tattoo has expanded from $3 million in sales to $14 million in sales, Zak told the Cleveland Jewish News Oct. 18. The company was founded in 2019 while the pair were roommates at Miami University in Oxford, established with $300 each and launched from their university apartment.
Originally starting with one product, its tattoo balm, the brand has grown its skincare system to eight products, which includes the balm, a numbing cream, a balm stick, soothing gel, body lotion, sunscreen, body wash and lotion tube.
“It was quite the honor, since not every company gets to do an update,” said Zak, 25, who splits his time between Cleveland and Los Angeles. He graduated from University School in Hunting Valley in 2015 and Miami University in 2019. “It is only the businesses doing quite well. So, it was a huge compliment for us. It’s the best opportunity to come out of ‘Shark Tank’ because it is your chance to make the narrative come full circle from the first visit.”
Along with the increase in revenue since their first visit, Zak said Cuban has reinvested a few more times in Mad Rabbit – with those totals now reaching over $1 million. He added Cuban has “been great” to work with, but other than strategic advice, “he hasn’t been overly involved since.”
Mad Rabbit has also inked some major brand deals since “Shark Tank” audiences last saw them – one with Urban Outfitters, which gets them into their stores and in front of their core consumer base of urban-dwelling tattooed individuals under age 25, and the other with Inked Magazine, a leading publication for the tattoo community.
“Appearing on ‘Shark Tank’ really helped get us out there as a household name for people with tattoos,” Zak said. “We were very much built during COVID-19, so a lot of our brand growth relied on social media. Going on television was an entirely new marketing channel that opened us up overnight. It changed our trajectory.”
Inked Magazine has a fan base of over 60 million fans, Zak said, which gives Mad Rabbit access to a “culture hub” like never before.
“We wanted to tap into legacy media, those old-school magazine markets,” he said. “They’ve been great helping us connect with the tattoo artist community specifically. There was a little aversion to us as a brand with artists initially, as we’re the young kids from ‘Shark Tank’ making money off the backs of the industry. But, the reality is we’ve done a 180, due to them brokering relationships and introducing us to these artists in person. We’re totally on top of that relationship now.”
In the next couple of months, consumers may even see Mad Rabbit products in GNC stores, Zak said.
“It will be amazing to tap into the fitness community, which cares so much about what they put into their bodies,” he said, noting they’ll be rolling out into over 100 storefronts.
Zak said a lot of the work now will focus on innovating its products and securing a mass retailer.
“We have some really exciting products in development for 2023,” he said. “As a business, we’re also setting our eyes on mass retail. Stores like Walmart and Target are the next big unlock for us. It’s a slow process, but we’re excited about it.”
Publisher’s note: Oliver Zak is the grandson of Susan Paley Zak, a member of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company Board of Directors.