inkbox toronto bic

Toronto startup that makes fake tattoos acquired by global manufacturing giant for $65M

What started in 2015 as two Toronto brothers with a great idea and some support from Ryerson's Fashion Zone incubator just resulted in a $65 million acquisition for BIC — one of the world's foremost makers of pens, lighters and disposable razors.

Congratulations to Tyler and Braden Handley of Inkbox, the latest Toronto-born company to grow so huge that it can't be contained in Canada... though its products outgrew local markets long ago and are now sold in 150+ countries.

"As consumer attitudes shift towards valuing personal expression, individuality and creativity, BIC is expanding its focus on human expression through the acquisition of Inkbox," announced the former company, which is based in France, on Tuesday.

"The direct-to-consumer, semi-permanent tattoo brand empowers customers with the ultimate tools for self-expression. With the DIY Skin Creative market expected to reach $1.5 billion in value by 2031, the acquisition of Inkbox will elevate BIC to a leadership position in the fast-growing skin creative industry."

LOL at the term "skin creative market," but it's nice to see talented locals make bank when their ideas come to fruition and take off in popularity.

Still headquartered in downtown Toronto, Inbox has grown since its inception seven years ago to employ more than 150 people in Canada, the U.S. and Japan.

The brand says it created a new promotional category called "skin merch" through its many collaborations with artists including BTS, Post Malone and Keith Haring.

BIC will acquire 100 per cent of Inkbox for $65 million, according to BIC, which after the sale is complete will own Inkbox's more than 10,000 artist-designed semi-permanent tats.

The 72-year-old French juggernaut will also own Inkbox's patented "For Now Ink," derived from plants in Panama that can stay on the skin for up to two weeks.

"Today's youth embrace freedom of expression to an extent not seen before. Our tattoos enable them to match their look to their ever-evolving identity. We're excited that an internationally recognized brand like BIC understands this and believes in our ethos..." said Tyler Handley, Inkbox's co-founder and CEO.

"Beyond our shared commitment to creative expression, BIC is the ideal partner to help Inkbox achieve its full scale-up potential, notably through accelerated international expansion and operational efficiencies."

Lead photo by

inkbox


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