Sharpie the Brand

We tried to imagine what Sharpie would be like as a store. First, we took a deep dive into the brand and outlined their core. 

Sharpie's Purpose: Stand up for self-expression

Values: Creativity, honesty/integrity and encouraging innovation

Vision: Help people to experience their ideas, feeling, moods and memories

Strategy: Design new products to help creative people work

Sharpie takes a stand for self-expression by designing new products to help creative people work. The permanent ink of a tattoo mirrors the confidence that Sharpie wants to instill in their creators. Sharpie, owned by Newell Rubbermaid, is the dominant market leader in permanent marker and pen products, holding 89 percent of the market share in 2013, so they can afford to make a bold move[1]. Sharpie recently launched the edgy Sharpie Extreme campaign through social media. Sharpie Extreme, with fade resistant UV technology, is for “when you need a marker as bold as you.[2]” Tattoos are the boldest form of self-expression because of their permanence. The recent advertising strategy and continued market share dominance makes now the perfect time to launch Sharpie Tattoo.

Sharpie Tattoo (Ink Space + Tattoos + The Shop)

Sharpie Tattoo was born as an expression of the creativity of the brand and the confidence permanence instills in its customers. 

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Ink Space                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Sharpie Tattoo is part creative space part tattoo shop. Customers arrive and are greeted by our creative inspirer who shows them to our Ink Space. This creative nook has a papered floor, an assortment of sharpies, sticker paper and a blank wall. Visitors are asked to leave part of themselves permanently behind by drawing on our wall. Sharpie Tattoo also provides creative prompts in case a creator needs initial inspiration. The Ink Space will also serve as a home for our monthly tattoo workshop classes and evening adult social events centered around the communal creation of art.   

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Tattoos                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If a customer brings their tattoo idea, drawn with Sharpie products, they will receive 15 percent off their tattoo. Sharpie Tattoo will also offer henna and semi-permanent tattoo options.


The Shop                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The final three walls of the shop will be professionally designed, in Sharpie, by local artists to reflect the location and the culture surrounding the shop. 

The Audience

The ideal person to walk through the door of Sharpie Tattoo is a student interested in design. A Pew Research Center study indicates that more than one-third of Americans ages eighteen to twenty-five have a tattoo[1]. Our launch will specifically target college students in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago with prominent social media accounts (especially Pinterest and Instagram) by inviting them to design a complimentary henna, semi-permanent or permanent tattoo in Sharpie. We will also reach out to art schools in each area.

The Launch

Our launch locations are based on the aggregation of areas with the most tattoo shops and a large population of college students. The large amount of existing tattoo shops in our locations, while creating competition, also conveys interest in permanent ink design. Sharpie Tattoo will capitalize on the existing platforms of popular artists and tattoo interest in the various areas. In order to create a widespread presence throughout the Unites States, Sharpie Tattoo will launch on both coasts and in the Midwest: in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. The first shop will be in New York City and based on the rate of success, Sharpie Tattoo will expand to Los Angeles and Chicago.

-New York City has at least 1.3 million college students[2] and the most tattoo shops in the country with 277[3]

-Los Angeles has at least 1.1 million college students[4] and 160 tattoo shops[5]

-Chicago has at least 670,000 college students[6] and 121 tattoo shops[7]

The Competition

The competition for Sharpie Tattoo will be other local tattoo shops. We have included the top five ranked businesses on Yelp, in our three launch cities, because forty-nine percent of tattooed people think that the reputation of the tattoo artists/studio is the most important factor in choosing an establishment.[8]

-       New York: Village Tattoo, Kings Avenue Tattoo, Diamond Tattoos, The End is Near and Eight of Swords Tattoo[9].

-       Los Angeles: American Electric Tattoo, Generation8tattoo, Tattoo Love, Tinta Rebelde Art Gallery and Tattoo Studio and Alchemy Tattoo[10].

-       Chicago: Insight Studios, Deluxe Tattoo, Speakesy Custom Tattoo, Revolution Tattoo and Code of Conduct[11].

Our Business Model

Sharpie Tattoo’s employees will include our creative inspirer/administrator and three artists who will work as independent sub-contractors within our studio. Sharpie Tattoo will retain high quality licensed artists by only collecting a sixty percent commission rate.[12] Artists will bring their existing customers and their own tools to Sharpie Tattoo. Sharpie Tattoo’s overhead will include the rental and design of the space, materials for various programs, initial design aesthetic and the salary of the administrator/creative inspirer. Sharpie Tattoo’s profits will be monetary, but the greater profit will be in social media shares and likes for the Sharpie Brand amongst the targeted audience of college students.