When it comes to InkJecta, two words come to mind: quality and curiosity. InkJecta’s flagship machines, the Flite Nano Lite, Elite, and Titan, are known for their durability, craftmanship, and distinct look — that’s why they’re among the top-selling tattoo machines in the industry. But, what about the makers behind the machine? What’s their story? Searching for “InkJecta” on the internet yields little to no information beyond listings for the products this much-admired company provides.
PainfulPleasures was fortunate enough to host InkJecta’s Company Director and co-owner Chris Cashmore, along with their Head of Global Marketing & Branding Scotty D. McBain for two days while they were in town for the Richmond Tattoo & Arts Festival. Chris Cashmore’s business partner and co-owner of InkJecta, Byron Dreschler, was unable to join us for our chat to lend insight about his machines and their features. Nonetheless, we were happy to meet Chris and Scotty; it was an invaluable opportunity to show them around the PainfulPleasures facilities and to learn a little more about InkJecta’s beginnings, their products, and their overall mission.
Chris Cashmore, well-known and celebrated in the industry, is an artist of approximately 36 years who speaks of his success with soft-spoken humility. From whittling a question mark tattoo into his arm at age eleven to constructing top-selling tattoo machines, the Australia-based artist has a colorful, storied history. His tattoo machine building endeavors began during his apprenticeship in New Zealand with Steve Ma Ching, a renowned Polynesian tattooist.
“I’d always been making machines the whole time with Steve and things like that, so I always knew I could build machines […] I couldn’t get the supplies I was after one time; it was taking, like, six months. That was an American machine I was trying to get hold of. When it turned up, I cut it to pieces straight away and thought, I can make this better, you know? In my own eyes.”
When asked about the first machine he ever built, Cashmore talked briefly about his first few machines in general.
“[…] We used to give them away to other tattooists. They were cheaply made, but would run really well, the needle would go up and down, and that’s all Steve [Ma Ching] was concerned about.”
Chris Cashmore professes that an understanding of how a tattoo machine works is crucial to understanding the art of tattooing itself. It’s his understanding of machine construction, his vision for what can make them better in his own eyes, and his entrepreneurial endeavors born of artistic values rather than big business aspirations that are perhaps the most important keys to his success. He continues to tattoo regularly, demonstrating his commitment to art as well as his commitment to his business. When asked what sets InkJecta’s machines apart from other popular machines in the industry, Cashmore is modest in detailing some of his machines’ most distinguishing features:
“We’ve got these patented torsion bars that are kind of special to us. Byron [Drechsler], he invented that. They flex to change give and you can actually turn them like a torsion bar on a car and it stiffens it up […] they’re essential torsion bars. You get three of them as opposed to just one, so you can play with them and you can change the stroke of the machine […] They’re balanced well; we make carbon fiber frames, we make aluminum frames, and brass frames so there’s three weight differences for balance. We put big stainless steel grip covers over the grips to balance it even more if you wanna go down that road […] We really just wanted to build what we know people are gonna want to use at this time.”
While we would have been enthusiastic to meet Chris Cashmore’s business partner Byron, it was a pleasure to meet Scotty, the InkJecta marketing and branding spokesman. Scotty's booming, enthusiastic voice sounds innately designed for radio and public speaking. Chris explained the instant friendship that formed between him, Scotty, and Byron:
“[…] Scott’s been in radio and TV for thirty-odd years. Byron and myself decided we were gonna put a tattoo convention on and, out of the blue, Byron said, ‘I’ve got a man who could MC the whole show and do a really good job.’ […] I actually took a liking to Scott just by listening to his voice to be honest.”
It may be considered coincidence or business partnership destiny that Scotty also performed a self-administered tattoo at the age of eleven. Whether or not it was planned by the cosmos, the camaraderie and mutual respect in the partnership speaks volumes for the integrity of the business. There was certainly an element of choice and an overall understanding of the industry that steered Scotty toward InkJecta. His knowledge of big names in the industry such as Gaston, FK Irons, and Cheyenne only bolstered his faith in InkJecta as a brand and manufacturer. Detailing his admiration and reasons for working with InkJecta, Scotty only has positive things to say:
“ […] I knew the technology was that good […] to be involved with taking a product to the world and growing it to where those guys are now, keeping in mind that FK and Bishop started out about the same time that Byron and Chris did making machines, and I know where they’re at now.
I thought well, why can’t we do it? Our machines are just as good […] the fact that we’re in Australia means nothing, you know? We hand-assemble every machine. It’s not a production line, you know, we manufacture in Australia. We don’t outsource to China to manufacture.”
Aside from the motivation to keep up with an ever-evolving industry, the passion for the work, and the wherewithal to be a leading competitor, it’s forming relationships, making connections, and making new friends that truly drives InkJecta as a company, brand, and enterprise. Scotty gave us another kind of insight into the heart and soul of the business, indicating that InkJecta strives to never let their success make them big-headed:
“[…] We’re in a position where people want stock, and they will have stock. It’ll be on the shelves, we’ll supply in far greater numbers, and we’ll be able to back that up with a marketing campaign […] but a lot more of it is gonna be through us being on the ground all over the world at conventions and actually talking to people […] that’s the way you build relationships. […] We’re never gonna be a big heartless, soulless corporate entity. No matter how big it gets, there will always be a human side to Inkjecta. We will always be out there with the people.”
It's this devotion to building relationships that we at PainfulPleasures admire most about InkJecta — and given their sales, quality products, and overall drive, there's much to admire. Friendship and networking within the tattoo industry are common values that make distributors like us and manufacturing enterprises like InkJecta members of the same team. It was a pleasure to play host to Chris and Scotty, not only to learn more about their story and their product (which had formerly been shrouded in mystery), but to reach out and foster relationships as well. It makes us even prouder to carry our selection of InkJecta products and machines. We look forward to their future innovations.
Our entire transcribed interview with Chris Cashmore and Scott McBain is soon to come. Stay tuned for more insights on InkJecta’s beginnings, their overall mission, and fun anecdotes.