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Temporary Tattoos Market Not So Fleeting

Runner fills need for sweat-proof temporary ink.

Runners and triathletes sweat. And though some of them are tempted to show off their achievements on their bodies with tattoos, they often have full-time jobs that frown on these.

This can sway some runners to look for alternatives, like temporary tattoos. But sweat can wash these away. That’s where RunGoddess comes into play. Its temporary ink lasts two weeks, says founder Dave Hurme.

“Our customers perceive that as good value,” he says. Plus, buyers say they look great.

Runner sees need

Hurme, a runner who’s participated in two marathons, eight half-marathons and several 3.2-mile races, knew there was a market for a store like RunGoddess, having been around runners for years. He knew many of them, like he, had thought about getting a permanent tattoo to reflect their love of running, but questioned getting permanently inked.

Hurme kept changing his mind about the design he wanted and where it would go.

“Other runners I knew were going through the same process and faced the same questions that I had,” he recalls. “When I looked to the marketplace to see what was available in a temporary tattoo, I wasn’t thrilled with what I saw. Having worked with a number of talented graphic artists, I knew we could create something better.”

RunGoddess debuted in September as a division of On-Line Distribution Inc., a Canadian company that has developed several running websites.

Ideas for designs come ‘out of nowhere,’ and from chatting with fellow runners, who mention designs they would like

‘Run like hell’

RunGoddess now has more than 1,000 unique visitors each month, and features a small selection of temporary tattoo designs—eight to be exact. The company has plans to slowly add more, Hurme notes.

The ideas for designs come “out of nowhere,” and from chatting with fellow runners, who mention designs they wish RunGoddess would create, he continues.

Hurme explains that when you hear an idea multiple times at an event, it makes you think that you may have a “winner.” For instance, when the company wanted to create a word tattoo to go along with its graphic tattoos, designers came up with the words “Endure” and “Believe” as options. Runners suggested “Courage.” RunGoddess listened, and the tattoo is now for sale on the store.

The most popular tat is one that features a red she-devil sporting running shoes and sitting on the words “Run like hell.”

Comments on the store show how much athletes appreciate the tattoos. One woman says a runner recently spotted the temporary tattoo she bought on RunGoddess as she was stretching for a half-marathon she was about to compete in.

The runner asked where she had gotten her ink, which he thought was “pretty cool.”

“Boy did I ever feel like a tough cookie at that moment—and I loved it!” the customer writes on the shop. “I swear the RunGoddess 21.1 [tattoo] made me run like a true goddess that day.”

Hurme says that as long as RunGoddess continues to “innovate and love” the products it makes, customers will continue to be happy. “Our goal is not to be the cheapest, but, rather, to be the best. Combining high-end graphics and top-quality manufactures, we believe, will contribute to long-term success,” he continues.

Social sites help build momentum

Finding victory online has taken work. The challenge comes with marketing and letting people know about your store.

“There are thousands of people selling online and the question is, how is someone going to find you?” Hurme explains. “The one thing about a brick-and-mortar store is people can actually pass by a store and see it, not so with the Internet. In order to overcome that, you have to be open to new ideas and keep an eye on the changing environment.”

Social media has been helpful in that respect for RunGoddess. Hurme says the store has a presence everywhere it can to spread the word, including on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Foursquare, Pinterest and Fitocracy, a fitness social network. It also advertises in running magazines.

And RunGoddess attends running expos, and the company offers a promotional product for race directors to give away to racers.

Ask yourself, where are you going to rank on Google? If you’re not on page 1, how do you plan on getting to page 1?

Developing a winning strategy

Hurme says he got into running because he travels a lot for work and found it was easy to gain weight when he was eating out every night. Hotel gyms allowed him to exercise, but the equipment in those facilities—and their quality—varied. However, he could always find a treadmill or a park nearby where he could run.

“I started out slowly, barely making it a kilometer without stopping to catch my breath, but overtime, [I] saw an improvement to my running that eventually led me to the half-marathon and then onto the marathon,” Hurme says. “Running provides a tremendous sense of release. It’s a great way to get rid of the stress of the day. I find if I am trying to work on a problem, it clears the mind, and often a good run will provide the solution that I seek.”

Running has become such a big part of Hurme’s life that he feels guilty if he misses a run he had planned to do, he says.

His words for those who are ready to open an online store: Get ready to work—hard.

“You don’t simply set up an online store, walk away and it generates money,” he explains. “You have to work at it. I would also encourage [sellers] to read a number of marketing books, anything written by Seth Godin and books like Blue Ocean Strategies. We started developing running T-shirts a few years ago, only to realize that every third runner out there was doing the same. Competition was extremely fierce, and we got out of it.

“Before you open an online store, ask who your competition is going to be and how many competitors do you face in your niche,” he continues. “You constantly have to be absorbing new marketing ideas. I read a marketing brief on emerging trends every single night. You have to ask yourself, ‘Where are you going to rank on Google, Yahoo and Bing, among others?’ If you’re not on page 1, is anyone ever going to find you? And then, how do you plan on getting to page 1?”

Visit RunGoddess.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

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