681
9 min 5 sec

Farmer Makes “Tater Tats” for All Your Produce Tattoo Needs

When a running joke doesn’t end up running its course, a side hustle seed takes root and begins to grow.
Kids Low Startup Potential Manufacturing Product

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What It's About

A spudtacular temporary tattoo side hustle that's fresh off the farm!

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Design & Marketing
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Jenna feels that she’s really been able to help the farming community because farmers don’t always have the time to think of their own creative marketing ideas and farmer’s markets are always looking for ways to engage with kids. To be able to have a window into that has helped her to see where the opportunities are.

Fun Fact

Every once in a while they’ll get someone who reaches out and asks if they can get one of her designs tattooed for real. One Tater Tats lover got a tattoo done of the "Eat Real Food" design that’s in a carrot. That was a really neat moment for Jenna.

Notes from Chris

Episode 681
Some people show their love of local produce by joining a community garden or slapping a “Powered By Plants” bumper sticker on the back of their Subaru. Some proudly hoist “Eat More Kale” tote bags as they peruse the stalls at their local farmer’s market. And thanks to Jenna Weiler, a real-life part-time farmer from Grand Rapids, Michigan, you can now broadcast your love for produce right on your sleeve. No, we’re not talking about t-shirt sleeves—we’re talking about tattoo sleeves.

And it’s a side hustle that took root with the help of a running joke.

If you’ve ever found yourself up to your wrists in mulch around bean harvesting time, you’ll understand the struggles that go with determining at what point a bean is ripe for the picking. A good rule of thumb is that a pod is ready to harvest once it reaches a length of four to seven inches long and has a diameter that’s just a little fatter than a pencil.

But what Jenna and a couple of her fellow bean pickers realized a few rows in one fateful harvest season, it was challenging without a visual guide. Jenna joked that she should just get a tattoo of one on her arm so that she’d always have a reference, and as the beans piled up, they realized that the idea had merit.

It’s not uncommon for die-hard chefs to get their chef knives tattooed or hairstylists to add clippers to their sleeves. When something is such a big part of your life, paying homage to your craft in the form of a tattoo seems fitting. Since Jenna and her friends spent so much of their time out in the fields, they started talking about what kind of produce they’d get tattooed on them if they had the chance.

When one of them mentioned that they’d get a “tater (or potato) tat”, a seed was planted in Jenna’s mind. “Tater Tat” had a nice ring to it!

Every time they met up at the farm, they’d joke about how they still needed to go and get those tattoos together, and eventually, that seed began to sprout. Although she wasn’t ready to go under the tattoo gun herself, Jenna realized that this could be a pretty cool idea for a business.

Temporary tattoos were popping up frequently in mainstream culture, and companies like Tattly had paved the way for more designer-inspired works of wearable art. Jenna could totally see herself creating a line of produce tattoos that would be educational for kids and a fun way to get people excited about eating vegetables.

Once Tater Tats was validated, Jenna located a manufacturer to create her tattoos, built a website using Squarespace, and started taking orders. In their first year, Tater Tats brought in $17,000, by 2017, that number grew to $59,000, and at the time of this episode going live, they’ve made $68,000 (~$5,000/month) in sales with 50% profit margins!

But what’s the Miracle Gro that’s caused Tater Tats to grow and thrive? Jenna says that their placement in the farming community and the sustainable food movement has been a major driver of sales. As she said to us, she’s narrowed down to a niche market of farmers and people who are motivated to support them and their efforts supplying local produce.

Jenna also gives back to the community that she loves. She donates 10% of all of her profits to farms and growers, and because of this, she has been able to gain a lot of authentic followers. In return, these recipients have been huge advocates for Tater Tats.

Jenna’s isn’t passionate about temporary tattoos, she’s passionate about farming and healthy eating habits. And Tater Tats has served as a spud-tactular bridge between a product that brings in money to that larger, bigger passion. It’s a mash made in heaven.


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Tater Tats: Wear your love of produce on your sleeve—head on over to Jenna's website to score some spudastic temporary tattoos of your own!
  • Tattly: A temporary tattoo company that inspired Jenna to create her own line
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"You don’t have to go into debt in order to determine whether people will like your idea."
—Jenna Weiler #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau