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The Journey of a Successful Laser Tattoo Removal Non-Profit

   

Astanza is proud to partner with various organizations and businesses nationwide that perform laser tattoo removal to help change the lives of others. One nonprofit organization that has transformed its local community with laser tattoo removal is Tattoo Removal Ink.

Tattoo Removal Ink (TRI), founded in January 2017 by Jo Martin, offers free laser tattoo removal treatment to previously incarcerated individuals and human trafficking victims in the greater Cincinnati area using the Astanza Trinity laser. Martin took action after seeing a need for laser tattoo removal in her community and witnessing the positive impact this noninvasive procedure can have on a person.

We recently interviewed Martin to hear more about Tattoo Removal Ink’s beginning days, struggles, lessons learned, and successes. Keep reading to learn more about this growing laser tattoo removal nonprofit organization and how you can follow in her footsteps and start your own laser tattoo removal nonprofit in your community.


Why and how did you start Tattoo Removal Ink?

Jo Martin Tattoo Removal Ink laser tattoo removal nonprofit

“I had just retired from a 30-year corporate career and was volunteering at the local detention center as a GED tutor. I was shocked by how many students of mine had a visible face, neck, or hand tattoo. Shortly after that, I attended a conference and met with Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries. He inspired and encouraged me to start a free tattoo removal program in Kentucky as he had built in Los Angeles.”

Homeboy Industries is a leading nonprofit organization that provides free tattoo removal services for high-risk youth and former gang members to break down barriers for future employment. They use the Astanza Duality laser to remove more tattoos than any other business or organization worldwide. Martin attended the Global Homeboy Network, which helps other organizations create communities that offer job skills training, cost-free programs, and social enterprise employment. GHN’s goal is to assist other organizations by providing marginalized individuals with the tools and services needed to change their lives. With guidance from Homeboy Industries’ founder, Father Boyle, and a passionate team of board executives, Martin started Tattoo Removal Ink.

What was your biggest struggle?

“It was painful filling out the 1023 form to obtain nonprofit status with the IRS. But it’s something any nonprofit organization must do. Aside from that, we had hardly anyone come to TRI in the early stages of opening. It wasn’t until later that we realized our target demographic of clients couldn’t come to our location in a nice suburban area. After relocating to the Life Learning Center in the inner city area, our target audience could find us more easily. Not only that, our monthly rent went down from $1,000/month to $100/month, which allowed us to save a lot of money. We’ve seen the benefits of that move, especially during COVID.”

Choosing the right location and clinic space for your laser tattoo removal business or organization is crucial. The obvious things to consider are your market and competition, the building or office type, utilities, other costs, and accessibility. Most importantly for a nonprofit tattoo removal organization, as Martin shared, is demographics. Understanding who your customers are and how important their proximity is to your organization will help you make the right decision when considering the location for your nonprofit.

How does your pricing work since you’re a nonprofit?

“We provide free removal solely for previously incarcerated individuals with gang-related tattoos or human-trafficking tattoos. However, in 2018 we decided to charge a low-cost fee to individuals who do not meet the qualifications for free removal. Our prices start as low as $50 per treatment for an extra-small tattoo and increase proportionally to treatment size, with our highest price being $200 for a large tattoo. It works out great because we tell paying customers that 100% of their money helps someone in need, and they love that. We also receive various donations from numerous people and other organizations.”

Besides offering low-cost treatments, other ways to raise money for a tattoo removal nonprofit include cause-related marketing, corporate sponsorships, grant funding, and fundraising.

What marketing lessons did you learn that have been instrumental to TRI’s success?

“Create a professional, SEO-focused website, consistently ask for Google reviews, and connect with people on social media. Having a website allows us to connect with our target demographic and answer most of their questions before we even meet. Google reviews improve SEO efforts while also increasing our credibility and trustworthiness. We also didn’t add social media until 2019, but once we did, we saw a huge increase in exposure through Facebook and Instagram.”

For any nonprofit, having an online presence is crucial. A website acts as the face of your organization and tells your story. A good website provides information about your mission and services, creates awareness and support, and can even attract volunteers and donors. We’ve discussed the importance of client reviews in our blog before but will reiterate it repeatedly–client reviews have tremendous influential power. Not just for attracting clients and clients but also for boosting your search engine rankings. Furthermore, as Martin said, social media opens your organization to an entirely different market and expands your reach. Social media is an excellent way for nonprofits to create two-way communication between your organization, its target demographic, and supporters.

How has Astanza helped you since you’ve become a client?

"Since the very beginning, Astanza has provided great support. I liked Astanza because they gave me actual referrals to doctors and clients who used their lasers. In addition, every person I met or spoke to was genuinely very pleased with Astanza’s product and experience. After that, I knew I wanted to partner with Astanza. Once I was a customer, Astanza provided me with all of the treatment documents, client information sheets, marketing support, and expert training I needed to get started. Even today, the training and support are all still very good!”

Astanza is an award-winning laser company that has received multiple awards for the best laser service and training, best customer service support, and best marketing support. Our purpose is much more than just selling aesthetic lasers–we’re in the business of changing lives. We love partnering with nonprofit organizations like Tattoo Removal Ink that have the same mission as us, providing second chances through top-notch technology and improving communities.

Can you share a story about #changinglives?

“An HVAC instructor from Cincinnati State sent one of his students to TRI to remove a forehead tattoo that he received in prison. He explained to the young man that some people might be uncomfortable with a prison tattoo on the face of a technician coming into their home. We completely removed the tattoo, and now that young man has his own company van and purchased his first condo. There are many more great stories, all rewarding. Laser tattoo removal has really changed my perspective on people with tattoos. I never thought I would want to work in jails and be around ‘those people,’ but now I love what I do and every person I meet.”

Tattoo Removal Ink has been featured in Success Magazine, Jails to Jobs, and the local Channel 12 and 9 news. Martin was also one of 10 honorees for the 2017 Cincinnati Enquirer Women of the Year. To learn more about Tattoo Removal Ink or donate, visit https://tattooremovalink.org/, email info@tattooremovalink.org, or call (859) 817-9200.


Astanza laser technology is used by numerous nonprofit organizations and correctional facilities nationwide. We hope to bring more awareness and help other nonprofit organizations start laser tattoo removal to change lives through our pre-recorded nonprofit webinar, Deinked for a Cause: The Story of Non-Profit Laser Tattoo Removal.

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