Threadless Makes Strategic Investment In Tattoodo, Which Is Kind Of Like Threadless… For Tattoos

Ever want to get a tattoo but didn’t know what to actually get? New startup Tattoodo has created a crowdsourced platform where users can browse and purchase tattoo designs — or even have custom designs made. It’s bolstered by a strategic investment and advice by some veterans of community-driven T-shirt design shop Threadless.

Tattoodo was founded by Johan (Joe) Plenge and Mik Thobo-Carlsen, two friends from Copenhagen, who recruited Miami Ink and NY Ink star tattoo artist Ami James to join them. The idea was to create a place where people who wanted to get tattoos could find interesting designs.

The original plan came about after Plenge decided he wanted a tattoo, but couldn’t find a design that he liked. It became obvious after a certain amount of time that there was no single reliable place where people could browse, search, and find designs that they like.

According to Thobo-Carlsen, there are some 147 million searches for tattoo designs on Google each month, and there’s very little competition for search engine marketing on Adwords. And, frankly, most of the designs you can find are pretty horrible. So the team set out to create the place where users could find attractive, high-quality designs.

On the one hand, Tattoodo has a peer-to-peer marketplace for interesting tattoo designs. Famous tattoo artists from around the world upload their designs, which can be purchased for anywhere between $29 and $59, and then tattooed on Tattoodo customers. It’s an easy way to find a design from a well-regarded artist without commissioning him yourself.

Tattoodo also provides a platform whereby users can create contests to have custom designs made just for them. To do so, they submit an idea of what they want and create a contest… Then artists submit their proposals, and collaborate with the user to come up with what they want. At the end of the contest, they then pick the design they like best.

Either way, Tattoodo is taking a crowdsourced approach in the way it connects those who want tattoos with designs they might like. And in that way, it’s not so different from strategic investor Threadless. That company, of course, was founded in 2000 to crowdsource funny and interesting designs from users, which it then printed on T-shirts and sold to customers.

With that expertise, Threadless co-founder Jake Nickell and former CEO and board member Tom Ryan have been advising Tattoodo on building its own crowdsourced marketplace of art. They’ve also invested in the tattoo startup, and are providing strategic help both in suggesting Threadless artists submit some of their pieces to Tattoodo and advising how to get greater distribution.

So far, so good: Tattoodo has more than 100,000 Facebook fans after just seven weeks, and has seen its traffic triple since launch. It’s hoping to soon become the #1 tattoo destination site, less than a year after it opened to the public.