The tattoo parlor Ephemeral on Valencia Street promised tattoos that are “made to fade” within a year, but worried customers are frantic that after a year and a half, their tattoos have not faded much at all.
When our sister site Hoodline covered a new “temporary” tattoo parlor on Valencia Street called Ephemeral that opened in March, they pointed out a company press release claiming to offer “the first made-to-fade tattoo ink that disappears in 9-15 months.” Hoodline also noted “The Ephemeral website may feel more like a startup’s website than that of a tattoo studio” and that “the New York-based company has raised more than $20 million in venture capital, and is in aggressive growth mode with other studios in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and another in Atlanta on the way.”
Ephemeral may have also been kind of startup-y in their use of a “growth hack,” that is, promoting the technology as far more effective than it actually is. A new exposé in the Chronicle reports that Ephermeral tattoos are not fading after 15 months, and jilted customers are worried they might be stuck with a long-term commitment they didn’t sign up for. The Chron reports that one customer’s tattoo “is at 19 months with about 75% visibility”
“If I had known I would still have this on my leg, I wouldn't have done it in the first place,” customer Michelle Mathews told the Chronicle, noting her tattoo is still very visible after 17 months. “The whole point was that I didn't want to have a permanent, real tattoo.”
We should note that none of the seven angry customers the Chronicle spoke with got their tattoos at the Valencia Street shop. That location has only been open eight months, so tattoos given there would not have faded yet. All of the people the Chronicle spoke with got their tattoos in New York, but with the troubling pattern that the tattoos are not fading as predicted.
The Chron notes that the Ephemeral website has removed the language “gone in a year,” and replaced it with the words “about 9 - 15 months.” That’s still not consistent with what some customers are saying they’ve experienced.
“We never want customers to be disappointed, so we think it’s really important to be proactive and educate and be transparent,” Ephemeral CEO Jeff Liu told the Chronicle.
Ephemeral says they’ve now tattooed 10,000 people. Are those people’s tattoos ever going to go away? You can keep track on a Reddit page of Ephemeral customers, many of whom are up in arms that those tattoos are still on their arms.
Images: (Left) Joe Kukura, Hoodline, (Right) Ephemeral