Bright Idea winner helps heal tattoos
Wellington businesswoman Gillian Parkinson has quite literally got the good oil.
As an aromatologist she uses essential oils to treat a range of conditions including stress and depression and – as of a year ago – to help tattoos heal.
Her Tinkture Tattoo After Care product won the consumer product category of this year's Grow Wellington Bright Ideas Challenge, which recognises the capital's best new business ideas.
The product is a secret combination of therapeutic-grade essential and carrier oils which helps prevent infection and reduces the pain, bruising and swelling that can accompany new tattoos, Parkinson says, helping them to heal faster.
It is sold in 10 tattoo studios in New Zealand and one in Australia.
Parkinson developed the Tinkture solution after finding existing aftercare products ineffective.
"I had a tattoo done on my arm and used an aftercare product. A week later my arm was still swollen and bruised right down to my wrist."
After her next tattoo she tried her own concoction.
"The initial swelling was gone overnight and there was no bruising. It completely healed within 10 days. The tattoo artist was amazed at how quickly it healed."
Working with Cuba St tattoo parlour ALC Headquarters, she tested Tinkture on a range of people before deciding it was ready for the marketplace.
"We were getting rave reviews," she said.
Parkinson estimates she has sold 600 bottles. She plans to increase stockists overseas and in New Zealand where she says tattoos are especially popular, in part because of the traditions of Maori and Pacific Islanders.
"In America there are 20,000-plus tattoo studios and there are 152 in New Zealand that I know of. Within three years I'd like to have 500 stockists worldwide. I know it's going to be a bit of a slow process, as I need to attend lots of expos and tattoo shows to be seen and to do a little bit of education around tattoo aftercare," Parkinson said.
Char Hillerby, who works at ALC, is a Tinkture convert.
"Unlike other cream-based products it spreads quite lightly, so it doesn't feel like you're scratching sunburn when you put it on. It's vegan as well, and there's a huge market for people wanting vegan tattoos and vegan aftercare."
Tattoos used to be something drunken sailors got just for the sake of it, but they now have much more meaning, says Hillerby.
"People today getting them want a piece of art on their body. They go to a tattoo artist they really admire and say, `Hey, can you design me something?"'.