Oliver Zak and Selom Agbitor are two 23-year-old CEOs and co-founders of the brand, Mad Rabbit – they provide superior natural and unprocessed products to help improve the healing process for ultimate Tattoo aftercare.
Founding the company in 2019, the Columbus, Ohio natives, who were introduced in their college dorm, decided to put their business-savvy minds together to build a brand and dominate the tattoo aftercare market.
According to the duo, “we’re inspired by the tattoo artists that wake up every day to create beautiful art on their client’s bodies – the ones that create art to reflect personality and milestones. They put in the effort to create your art, so we are putting in the effort to make sure your tattoo maintains its natural vibrancy. Our mission is to provide the best performing line of tattoo aftercare products that meet all of your tattoo needs. We hope to deliver on our promise to you and keep you excited about all that our aftercare has to offer.”
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Oliver and Selom to discuss their journey as entrepreneurs and here’s what went down:
What were your top three motivations for starting your business?
– Identified an underserved market with misinformed consumers.
– Looking to grow our business acumen.
– Opportunity to innovate.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?
– Willingness and drive to always be learning and out-innovating.
– Ability to adapt to market trends and customer feedback.
When did your entrepreneurial flair first reveal itself?
Selom: Barely seeing my parents due to them always being busy with their nursing jobs. There would be nights where they’d be gone on the same night, and it would just be my brothers and me at home. Seeing that made me want to make sure I could create a life where my schedule was not dictated by someone else’s needs.
Oliver: I grew up watching my father transition himself from a surgeon to an entrepreneur after an unfortunate life-altering event. I was inspired early on by his drive to succeed no matter the odds and found myself pitching in entrepreneurship competitions in high school.
As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
– The ability to create and sell products that are truly revolutionizing the tattoo care industry and educating the market about how to best take care of their tattoos.
– Creating jobs and growing our Mad Rabbit family is one of the most exciting parts of our jobs as co-founders. The fact that we’ve been able to increase hires during the pandemic is a really exciting accomplishment for us.
– Facing new challenges – being an entrepreneur is not as easy and glamorous as it looks. A lot of things can cause disinterest. The new challenges bring the ability to learn and grow.
In one word, describe your life as an entrepreneur and explain why.
Evolving — Selom and I wear a lot of different hats throughout the week. Fundraisers, c-suite operators, ad copywriters, product line developers, etc. We are always adapting and evolving taking lessons learned forward with every misstep we take.
What are the three biggest challenges you have faced growing the business and how did you overcome them?
– Inventory: Being in stock at the beginning was very challenging. We now try to predict how much inventory we will need and order ahead of time.
– Keeping up with market trends: Conditions are always changing, and this can be good or bad for a business. For example, when COVID-19 hit, a lot of companies decided to stop or decrease spend, we decided to more than double our ad spend, which was a big risk, but ended up paying off because it catapulted us into being the top brand in the tattoo aftercare space.
– Time management: Time is money, and we have to be smart as to how much time we are dedicating towards certain things. To help overcome, we have begun to use a calendar more frequently, to help break down the tasks and goals we want to achieve.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
– Using a range of influencers from micro to mega, on platforms like Instagram and Youtube.
– Social Media Marketing: Using Pinterest to drive traffic, and using Facebook and Instagram to drive sales.
– Word of Mouth: Our customers spreading the word of our product on their own accord.
– Email Marketing: Brings back past customers and engaging new customers.
As you grew the business, what have been some of the most important leadership lessons you have learned?
Not only is it important to hire quality employees, but it’s possibly more important to make sure those employees are in the right roles. With a startup.. roles are fluid, walls are non-existent, and cross-functionality is expected. The downside is that nobody is good at everything and it is our job to place our people in the best positions to succeed.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice we have ever given is to go out and start learning about e-commerce. We’ve noticed a huge drop-off in the excitement in our friends as they go from “I have an idea,” to understanding the learning curve ahead of them. You can expect over 100+ hours of e-commerce learning before you launch your first product — but it will be the best 100 hours you’ve ever spent.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Don’t try to do it alone. Get yourself a partner(s) that has a different set of skills than you do. If you’re the marketing guy, find a finance guy who can help you understand your business and your budget. Starting a business solo drastically increases your chances of failure in the early days of startups.