Dan Lorenzo: Connect’Ink™ has made a name fairly quickly for itself, but I can't say I fully understand who benefits from your app and how. Can you please explain how it works?
Matt Benacquista: Connect’Ink™ streamlines the tattoo process from start to finish, making it easier for users to access shops and artists, while allowing those shops and artists to abundantly grow their business. Using the Connect’Ink™ features, a customer can find, talk to, and book a tattoo appointment from their home, office, or even on the beach or poolside. Using the same features, a tattoo artist can talk to customers and book appointments from their breakfast nook, in an Uber, or on a beach or poolside as well. Everyone using the app benefits, whether you’re a tattoo artist, tattoo shop, or tattoo collector.
What led to you to come up with this idea?
I went to a tattoo shop one day and all four artists were tattooing so no one was available to help me immediately. While I was waiting, I realized that I had not heard back from several tattoo artists that I emailed about a month or two before. I was kind of annoyed for both artist and consumer, because I realized that many shops did not have a shop manager, and that a lot of artists had very little time or incentive to answer emails and phone calls that would more often than not be a waste of time. So it dawned on me that there had to be a better, more organized way to go through this process that would allow customers to get the feedback we needed, and also get the artists paid for their time.
Tell me some of the key features?
GPS Location Technology, Online “Availability” of Artists, Online Booking and Deposits, In-App Video Consultations and In-Person Walk-In Consultations (because time is money for everyone involved in the process). These features will give the user more incentive to book a session, and help each tattoo shop and artist abundantly grow their business. Each artist sets their own individual
fees for these services: Video Chat, Walk-In Consult, as well as Tattoo Deposit.
Connect’Ink™ GPS technology - a user can search their immediate area to find artists and shops by entering a name, zip code, or a specific type of tattoo style.
A user can also see an artist’s availability right there in the app - no more guessing or trying to figure when an artist is available.
Connect’Ink™ also has In-App Video Consultations and the ability to now book Walk-In appointments, which traditionally are free, but for convenience reasons of both artist and customer, can now be a pay service. Users can even leave a deposit for the tattoo through the app (again, artists set all prices for pay services)!
I know you've met with some heavy hitters in the tattoo world. Time to name drop.
[laughs] I definitely have and am very grateful for the opportunity. [chuckles] How many can I name? Ryan Ashley Malarkey, Steve Butcher, Babiery Hernandez, Megan Massacre, Pony Lawson, Joseph Haefs, Saga Anderson, Anthony Michaels, Jeremy Hanna of Sullen, Arlo Dicristina, Megan Jean Morris, Sara Fabel, and the owner and CEO of Inked Magazine, Don Hellinger, just to name a few.
Before you came up with this, what career were you in?
I was a high school English teacher at Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne, NJ. I’ve also bartended for a long time as well.
Anything else you want our readers to know?
The app can be found and downloaded in the App Store and Google Play - there are two versions, one for Artists (red) and one for Customers (black and grey). Make sure you search "Connect’Ink" including the apostrophe.
We’ve also just signed a one year sponsorship with Inked Magazine so there will be a lot of really cool stuff happening in the near future.