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Summer 2011 All That Glitters

Glimmer Body Art, the temporary tattoo company, has its eyes set on the specialty retail market and is hoping for sales to sparkle.

Temporary tattoos aren’t just for boardwalks and amusement parks anymore; in fact, they might be coming to a mall near you.

Glimmer Body Art was founded in 2007 and originally focused on providing glitter tattoos for parties—including celebrity events—in Los Angeles. “The concept was an instant hit, and we quickly evolved and grew to include locations around the world,” says Sydney Michael, account manager for the company.

At mall kiosks, the Manhattan Beach, CA company offers application of temporary glitter tattoos; some locations also sell kits so customers can apply their own tattoos at home.

“People love the tattoos because they are sparkly, engaging and customizable; the shape and colors of the tattoo can be changed to fit their preferences,” Michael says. Of special appeal to malls is the fact that many Glimmer Body Art locations partner with mall retailers for custom promotions and events, and even apply tattoos with the retailers’ branded logo.

When asked what makes Glimmer Body Art’s products stand apart from the competition, Michael says it comes down to quality. “Our tattoos really live up to what we say they can do. They last up to seven days on the skin, they look good and they’re very easy to apply. All of our products are also dermatologist tested and safe for the skin, which is very important.”

Specialty retail process

Depending on the quantity and type of merchandise, retailers can expect to spend between $2,500-$5,000 to fully outfit a cart. “We’re flexible and able to work to identify the individual location’s needs and demographics,” Michael says.

Markup can be 2,000 to 3,000 percent for the application of tattoos. While pricing is left up to individual retailers, Michael recommends bundling and promotions to boost sales. “Promotions like ‘buy two, get one free’ or family discounts are recommended, but it’s up to [retailers],” Michael says. “Of course in [high-traffic] destinations like Las Vegas or Orlando they’re likely going to charge more money than a kiosk in a smaller, non-tourist location.”

All operators are provided with a CD tutorial explaining how to apply the tattoos, which Michael says takes about 10 minutes to learn. The company offers on-site training for a fee as well.

Michael notes health licenses are not necessary, although each city and state has different laws. For example, Santa Monica doesn’t allow retailers to touch customers when selling, so the Glimmer Body Art location had to set up on the pier versus in the city itself.

Locations and expansion

Glimmer Body Art operates glitter tattoo kiosks in close to 100 amusement parks around the world. There are less than 10 mall locations and that’s where the company’s focus is shifting to in the short term, according to Michael. She says the goal is to open 60 mall locations within the next year.

“[At] SPREE we have received lots of interest about mall kiosks, although we’re being very selective about locations,” Michael says. “It’s all about identifying the high traffic, touristy locations, since glitter tattoos are a summertime fun type of product.”

As Glimmer Body Art expands to malls, Michael says it’s the sparkle and fun of glitter tattoos that will get people talking. “When it comes to glitter, it just makes people smile. As shoppers are walking around a mall, others notice their glitter tattoos and want to know where they got them, and that brings customers in to our locations.”

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Kristin Larson Contino

Kristin Contino is a freelance writer and copy editor based in Philadelphia. She writes for a variety of print publications and blogs, and also covers women's fiction for

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