April 23, 2021
A couple of weeks ago we asked our official Botched Ink techs to answer a few questions, anonymously. This blogpost is their feedback and my response to it. I'm Lisa Henning, the owner and developer of Botched Ink
35 Responses to our Feedback Request
Responses have been quoted verbatim with ” and “ or a new paragraph separating responses. Words in brackets are words edited out
Lisa’s Introduction: Eek! was my first thought as the responses started coming through, I didn’t want to look straight away and left the first reading to Aimie. It’s weird opening yourself up to anonymous feedback, and then knowing you have to respond to it. I’m really proud of this whole article; it’s long, it’s reflective, shows you a bit more about me and what’s going on, or been going on in my head. I do love writing, not always in the mood for it, it’s difficult to get the flow going… but I feel good about this. Make a brew, sit down and enjoy the read
“I think this gives us a sense of exclusivity and the fact we have the knowledge to use it correctly” and “Personally, yes. I like that the forum has all educated Techs. "Other brands" do not allow their removal products to be bought without insuring the proper training. I think this is a good quality control/ business move.” and “Yes! I believe training is vital for any new products in the line of removals to achieve the best results, in which Botched Ink training is very detailed.”
“Yes, I 100% agree that only Botched Ink technicians should be using it” and “very important that only trained technicians has access to it.” and “Yes. Within this industry so many people do whatever they want so I appreciate the exclusivity.” and “it allows you to maintain standards and prevent any malpractice” and “Yes, I feel it's essential to build the brand and ensure standards.” and “Absolutely if the removal techniques are completely different from others” and “I personally prefer this way.” and “Yes, some kind of hands on training is needed.” and “Yes!!!” and “Yes” and “ Yes absolutely” and “Definitely”
“Neutral. I think if botchedink has different instructions that are crucial to maintaining client skin integrity and health then it should only be available to specific techs. If removal method is the same it shouldn't be restricted to only those who have paid for botched ink training.” and “No. Although I did think the training was top-notch. It seemed from the consumer perspective that the required training was for monetary gain. I think having proof of any removal system should be sufficient”
“I think is a very unique concept and really brings a higher standard to the industry. It is something positive to relay to prospective clients. But is it a viable option for Botched Ink long term” and “It was far more convenient to purchase it through (company)” and “I’m a bit concerned that taking it away from your distributors is going to hurt the brand in the long run” and “Not especially. Many products made for professionals are available to buy from anyone.”
Do you like Botched Ink only being available to officially trained Botched Ink technicians?
We enjoy the support and pride in being a part of the Botched Ink team, yet a few months ago I made a decision that affected the whole team without consulting anyone; removing Botched Ink product sales from distributors and only supplying via our website to our trained Botched Ink technicians. Big decisions for me come in a moment of clarity, when all the little bothering thoughts over the months, come together as one big ol’ reality, normally when I’m out walking my dog, or sitting on the loo. Being a typical Virgo, I’m practical and quite logical (no Mr Spock jokes please!), I’ve learned over the years to wind down or adjust some of the typically negative Virgo traits like overthinking (aka time wasting), instead becoming more of a big picture thinker, and I’ve always been pretty self-aware. Still a work in progress, we all are, but being 53 has added some calmness to the mix as well
Why the personality sharing ? It’s because of the saline tattoo removal big picture I’ve been watching over the past 3-4 years, and how in the last year it’s changed dramatically. Is it right that professional products, that essentially kill skin, are available for anyone to purchase, trained in the product, trained in removal or just not trained at all. Oh I know I’ve been a part of that, but talking and doing saline tattoo removal has never been so popular. Like the very wonderful Gary Vaynerchuk said about changing your mind being a strength: New data, new decisions
I absolutely know that many technicians see the business side differently from a brand manufacturer, but I’m overwhelmingly pleased at the great positivity to my decision, or indeed maybe you didn’t realise the change and are just loving Botched Ink being exclusive. But there are concerns from technicians that I’d like to address, and I am really thankful for their candidness and this opportunity to respond
To those who disagree with Botched Ink only being available to our trained technicians, when it has different ingredients, method, healing and aftercare…
In December 2014 I went to the Health Education England Steakholders Summit, which was a clinical and medical roundtable/debate session for proposed guidance changes in the UK. At one point we were discussing when a doctor should call themselves a specialist in a certain treatment like botox or breast augmentation. It was decided that a doctor could call themselves a specialist if they performed 50 of that particular treatment in a year. Discussions went on further to say: but can you be called a specialist if you’re performing exactly the same treatment on everyone, doesn’t a true specialist need to have the skill, knowledge and understanding to adjust what they’re doing according to the client and what was happening during the treatment or surgery. The discussion was left unanswered, though I don’t remember a change from the 50 treatments
In our industry we have many different pigment ranges and types, and we all feel the concerns when trying out a new range; which are the best colours, how do they heal, how long do they last, do they fade well. We’re trying to understand how the new range works, how is it different from what we were using before, gaining knowledge, becoming a true expert. There’s several pigmentology and colour theory classes, plus brand specific trainings, but they’re not a requirement, so who takes them ?
Ok, we want to try a new pigment range and choose a few of the best sellers or a starter set. Do we verbatim take the brands colour chart advice, or perhaps test out the colours on some white paper, wetting and drawing the colour down, to see for ourselves the colour makeup and consistency. Or do we test on practice skin, or real human skin ? Even with this, how long does it take you to feel comfortable working with a new range of pigments and trust they’ll heal as intended, and that’s just a few pigment colours in a carrier fluid
And now to tattoo removal solutions, each with different ingredients that have different effects on the skin, yet some techs get so hung up on the methods being similar why should there be any need for another training… To this I say, which kind of an expert are you ? You can’t do tattoo removal on practice skin
Does Botched Ink need distributors to succeed ? The simple answer is we haven’t for a long time, and having them was stifling my promoting Botched Ink as that would result in more product sales, not educating how to use the product. I’ll cover this a bit more in another response, but I suffer from what’s been called being typically British. I am trying to address this and grow to the audience I now reach, while still figuring out what remaining true to myself means !
There was an initial surge late 2019, when we launched our Botched Ink worldwide online training at a hugely discounted price, and product with a distributor outside the UK for the first time; but since the start of 2020, distributors have counted for on average 3% of the sessions on our website, checked via their affiliate link and our analytics. Botched Ink is hugely popular in the Facebook groups, I’m in there most days looking for posts I can add value to with comments, and thanks very much to all the techs who tag me and Botched Ink on posts too. Botched Ink is also number 1 on Google worldwide for saline tattoo removal, this actually accounts for most of the traffic to our website, searches will be from potential clients and technicians looking for product or training. I’m good at building websites, and I’m good at SEO, we get on average 200 visitors a day to the website, and that’s without advertising. We’re only getting started !
Ok, that was a long response, but I think it was deserved
“When I started tattooing, it was impossible to get any tattoo supplies without being a trained artist working in a shop. While being able to order from anyone anytime is super convenient, I think it lowers the quality of the industry as a whole.” and “It’s very unnerving and can have a detrimental affect on the industry resulting in untrained people making huge mistakes and insurance companies no longer allowing insurance for the treatment.”
“Each is different and therefore needs training to be able to use properly. It's good to be able to have the option for saline when laser isn't an option/the only option. Botched is by far the best I've used.” and “I'm not too keen on them. Sometimes it will be handy, to be honest. But I feel IP should be protected.”
“It is what it is. There is every tattoo product you can think of on amazon, there will always be those people who try to dabble in the art without proper training. So I suppose it's better to have a real saline product available instead of them trying to make a homemade salt mixture (which they will probably do anyways).”
“I don't mind. People who want to try and do that on themselves are wasting money. People who want to try and do it on others will lose their credibility” and “I think this issue is also one can be addressed regarding needles, pigments, numb etc. Its a moot point if everything else is not addressed as well."
“Personally I believe in continuing education for all techs on new products for the best results.” and “I think it's best to have the training so that it's done right and there isn't further damage being done” and “I think the idea of anyone buying solutions that are not trained is not good. But quite honestly this is indicative of the entire pmu industry that has no real way of monitoring artists.” and “bad idea” and “neutral” and “Inferior”
“I think training is necessary, no matter what brand solution they choose” and “Not good, it's a hands on process and mistakes will be made” and “No opinion. I'm focused on my own training and business.” and “I feel like it endangers the public and can give all artists a bad name.” and “They may work but I wouldn't trust the technician.” and “I don't feel it's safe, but there has to be some type of compromise.” and “It's just not safe. There is people out there that just don't care in having the proper training and just risking.”
“I think it could be brand damaging if someone who is not trained with the product uses it” and “I wouldn't use them. I'd think of them as cheap or second rate.” and “It makes them a less trustworthy brand in my opinion” and “I think its a headache. I would imagine that the alt. brands deal with a lot of misc. dm's/ panic/ incorrect usage/ lack of results. It becomes a free for all.” and “Some are okay, some I can't stand behind due to ingredients or photo shopping photos. I also think there needs to be monitoring and proper training” and “I don't think it's a good idea, keeping the removal solutions to trained techs only keeps the brands reputation intact and prevents misuse of the product”
“undermines professional qualifications - makes it harder for technicians to charge their worth” and “It's dangerous, and the product is blamed just as much, if not more, than the artist if something goes wrong or the client wasn't properly informed about the process.” and “I believe them to be very dangerous as this is a specialized technique that should only be administered by a professional that has proper training.” and “I feel training is highly important. I would not use a product without training. Knowledge is key!”
What do you think of removal solutions that are available to anyone, trained in removal or not?
Ok this response will be quicker. Why do you think it’s so hard to get insurance cover for non-laser removal treatments, with only a small number of companies covering ? The damage to the removal industry has already been done, years ago with certain brands and low quality training, or technicians risk taking, resulting in huge insurance claims and cover no longer being offered by many mainstream insurance companies. What do you think is going to happen if saline tattoo removal product sales continue unchecked, and the volume increasing of varying qualities of generic training ?
We do have the cola wars going on here. I don’t mean brand v brand like Coca-Cola v Pepsi, but consider that the other non-saline brands (acid or alkaline etc.) might be Dr Pepper, Sprite or Fanta; what happens to cola happens to us, and I am watching this. See, that’s the big picture thinking going on. And as an official Botched Ink technician how do you consider this ? Do you promote yourself as a saline tattoo removal technician and get mixed in with everyone else having taken a generic training course and using any saline brand, or indeed just salt and saline; or are you a Botched Ink technician, still using saline tattoo removal and lightening somewhere in your description for SEO. I’m going to be accused in a minute about deciding to make Botched Ink only available to our trained technicians for monetary gain. To me the business side of things is sport, winning and striving to be the best takes planning, it isn’t just about money
“Yes I do. I believe Botched Ink is a unique product. Having done a couple of different trainings I think Botched Ink is by far the gentlest procedure. It's the individual packaging that also sets it a part. I like the fact that Lisa's presence on the FB community is very tangible.”
“I'd feel better about joining a company who gave the impression of community over competition. Good on Lisa for tapping in on gaining more $ through requiring training though... I hope that this brings her success. Personally, I'd feel more proud of being apart of a team who had confidence in knowing their product was successful on it's own rather than pushing the bizarre training requirements. As we all know, people skim through training videos so it made me question if the training requirement came from a safety approach vs if it was only for monetary gain. Tattoo removal as l is not rocket science. I would more enjoy being apart of a community to leans into understanding rather than secrecy, botched is not that. We can all be better artists and make removal systems more known if we could openly share knowledge about a product. Botched has too many weird rules - don't share photos, buy the training, etc. Reminds me of a controlling ex who had insecurities.”
“I love it! You guys are amazing! I did my first removal today and secretly enjoyed it haha” and “Yes I feel part of a wider group of trained individuals” and “Yes! Awesome support from the inventor team and fellow techs!” and “I love the product!!” and “Love it, there is so much support and a real sense if community” and “Yes! I love it and wish to grow with the team more!” and “Yes for sure. This has been my 3rd training and I'm quite happy to be here. It's the only system I'm using now.” and “Yes” and “Yes!!” and “Love it” and “Absolutely” and “Sure” and “I love the product” and “of course” and “yes of course”
“Yes. Even on my worst removal days, I appreciate the Facebook support with high quality people.” and “Yes I am so proud to be a part of the botched ink certified technicians and team.” and “Yes! The training and support is excellent.” and “Yes. The group is awesome. I love seeing how supportive everyone is. Your constantly learning and refreshing your knowledge in the group.” and “Love it! I love all the conversations and learning from other artists. I also love how Lisa is always on top of what we are all doing!”
Do you like being a part of the Botched Ink team?
(In the main) all this has got this British bird blushing, thank you ! Revisiting my previous being typically British comments, I don’t know if this is as prevalent in other countries but I come from a culture who says ‘sorry’ when showing the slightest bit of emotion or a tear, and saying ‘Oh this old thing’ when complimented on a nice dress, or ‘I got it from Home Bargains/Walmart’ when someone admires a piece of furniture. Why do we do that!!
No matter how big a brand Botched Ink becomes, I don’t think you’ll ever get me being blasé when receiving compliments, how to handle them is a different matter. I’m just not very ‘Showy’ and don’t particularly court public support, though I do absolutely love it that you’re on board with us and it does give me the strength to really enjoy this brand we’re building
“I think the concept of actually only selling to qualified technicians has the ability to regulate the standard of practice." and “I think Lisa is a strong brand ambassador who provides excellent training. I feel the brand has integrity. I am confident of the quality and consistency of the product.” and “The way Botched ink is presented has always been a business of standards and I was happy to become a part of the standard!” and “I've honestly never researched any other brands, but I'm in love with Botched and their mission” and “Can't really comment as I've not trained or looked into any other brands but I have to say the level of support is amazing”
“I've trained with one other removal company and to me, the only real difference of the brand is now that fact that it's more exclusive. Both brands I use are good brands made by good people who care about the industry.” and “It's protected. It has better and more informed training. It has a great support group. It has videos & social media images that no other brand has. I feel like I've actually brought into a brand and my investment has been worthwhile.” and “safer’ and “Not sure” and “It’s exclusive”
“Exclusivity, high-end, and logo is easily recognized” and “I only know this one! But the closeness of Lisa being involved in almost everything makes it worth it and reassures me that she loves and stands behind product she created” and “The transparency on the product, the access to Lisa and her knowledge, the proper training, and smart trained techs in the forum.” and “Training, image and ingredients create measurable and safe results.” and “I don't know too much about Botched Ink brand yet or other brands to feel anything.”
“I feel you are setting standards in regards to the fact that only techs trained by botched can carry out the treatment. Lisa's style of teaching is fab. It's uncomplicated and it is super interesting.” and “Because of the training and the love and care Lisa and staff has put into it.” and “Ongoing support, it works really well and I trust in the brand” and “The support, the accountability to perform a service properly and safely. The non photoshopping of photos” and “It's a natural product, it has a map for the public to find trained techs and training is priced reasonably” and “Only available to trained techs with Botched ink”
Why is Botched Ink (the brand, not the product) different from other removal brands?
What can I say other than - You got it! This is magic feedback and I’m thrilled to read it, and I hope you are too. A huge big thank you from me. There’s some big powerful words used to describe the brand, and me too, integrity, quality, standards, and yes there has been a mission. I wish I could wrap the mission up in a few sentences so I could look at it each day for confirmation, it’s something I’m currently working on as we look to grow our training offering around the world. Does your company have a mission statement ?
As we grow, I do expect more of you will have nearby Botched Ink technicians, as really, let’s have that saying… “If you know how to put it in, you really should know how to get it out”. And isn’t it preferable to have someone nearby who’s had the same quality of training and product as you, so you don’t need to do that whole X v Y comparable and why one is better than the other. You can just focus on your Botched Ink skills and knowledge, and your Botched Ink bedside manner. Plus not everyone has space in their diary for the unfortunate emergency removals
“I highly recommend botched ink to other artists. As well, I recommend to other artists if they don't do removal, to visit the botched ink website to find a botched ink technician in their area to refer any clients that need removal.”
“almost exclusively. I do not suggest people seeking training elsewhere. Information + safe fool-proof products + Results = satisfied tech and client” and “I'm pretty new to botched and removals in general. I definitely recommend the training, it was in depth and I really like hot the manual is organized. As far as results, I need to have more results before I recommend anything.” and “I thought the training videos were very informative so I would recommend it.”
“I've been recommending the product with the disclaimer that the owner requires her training program... when similar training is sufficient in my (and my insurance) opinion.” and “Because of the move to pull out of trusted distributors, unlikely” and “Very likely as long as it's around, that's my biggest concern.”
“I already do recommend it” and “Highly recommended!” and “I just did today and she's taking the course online too!” and “Yes I will always recommend” and “highly likely” and “100%” and “Very likely!” and “Somewhat likely” and “I have already” and “Yes. I recommend the product.” and “Very, I tell everyone!” and “I always do!” and “Extremely. I already have.” and “I ONLY recommend Botched Ink!” and “I totally recommend it to anyone that's interested on removal.” and “Every single time.” and “I think it's a treatment that everyone needs to know about.” and “I already have to others and some PMU trainers”
How likely are you to recommend Botched Ink to your industry friends?
Again thank you ! You’ve got me beaming and blushing with all the positivity. Definitely valued, as your support helps me know we’re going in the right direction. I don’t believe any technician means to do bad work, maybe some clients do like their work. Several years ago I was chatting with a guy from the licensing department in Brighton UK, about the huge number of traditional tattoo studios that were opening up in our fairly small city. Think there was about 35. I asked why they were setting up just about anyone as a tattooist, and only checking their hygiene, not their standard of tattooing. His answer shocked me, but I hate to admit it, it was the right answer. Who are we to tell someone that they can’t have the shitty £40 tattoo they want, that it’s not artistic enough. The problem lies when someone expects an artistic tattoo when paying shitty money
There’s other reasons to need removal, like saturation or scarring; as a removal tech we see clients who don’t really want to be here, so best we give them results as we’ve the product and knowledge to help them, and of course a removal treatment can actually be quite relaxing, for you and the client! Working together, supporting each other, setting and maintaining standards while our numbers are manageable, will only ensure as we grow, that we as Botched Ink technicians self-regulate, in an industry that’s struggling to
The only point I feel I haven’t already responded to is ‘as long as it’s around’. A very valid question, these are difficult times. Botched Ink is a bigger name than the company is, hope you’ll get that in the way it’s intended. Most of the work is done in house by me and my wonderful assistant Aimie, I train us to do what’s needed skills wise to organically grow the company, this is pretty much my full time job. I’m no illusionist, or is it delusionist, Botched Ink is a solid company, not propped up with borrowed money. I’ve said before, we’re just getting started !
Another reason we plan to be around for a long time, playing at the top levels of being a known and highly regarded removal brand, is that I am on it with what techs are doing. A few people mentioned it earlier, protecting the brands reputation. Over the years I’ve seen so many removal brands get a tarnished reputation and subsequently disappearing due to the misuse of a product, for whatever reason, and I aim for that not to happen to us. Crikey the cancel culture on social media is scary and our industry is small, I think I’ve the personal strength to deal with things maturely, and I do expect they’ll be highs and lows ahead. No one person can claim they made us, not even me, Botched Ink is definitely a team effort
It’s a big ol’ deal bringing out a removal brand and being as publicly ‘gettable’ as we are, if it were easy everyone would be doing it. There is an easier way of course, become a non-branded removal trainer instead (yowch!), recommending another brands product, even though the brand has their own perfectly good removal training themselves !
I predicted this would happen and when I trademarked Botched Ink back in 2017, I got it for the product and training, two separate categories, twice the cost. But it does mean that no removal trainer can mention Botched Ink in their training or anything to do with training. Unfortunately not all removal brands go the trademark route, or if they do haven’t protected their name for training. I know a number of removal trainers we’re promoting Botched Ink on their generic courses, and the last one led to the end of my allowing Botched Ink to be sold via distributors. Product sales were going up, other saline removal trainers were going up, our own generated sales were consistently going up; leads to only one course of action really, protect the brand
“So far I don't have any issues. There is a learning curve to this. Initially I felt like what the training explains vs. what the training shows are 2 different things. The training says one dense pass but the video shows sections being worked multiple times, which I see as 2 passes. We all interpret things differently so it's just trying to make sure I understand exactly what is intended. But that is kind of standard with all trainings to an extent so it isn't an issue I take with botched.”
“Seems the "brand" lacks confidence which is unfortunate because it really is a superior product. I can only imagine what happens when a client pisses off the owner... from what I've seen, Lisa makes a point to be confrontational which makes her look fearful that her brand will fail.”
“I took the course not too long ago and I worry whether it will be here a few years down the road." and “I'm afraid your company isn't going to grow without the support of other artists and distributors because it's not readily available.” and “I wish it was still available on (company) but it's easy enough to get. I would like a refresher course every year or two to make sure I'm staying with company standards” and “The new ordering wed site difficult to order!”
“I don't like the individual sachets. I would like access into the online course indefinitely so I can go back to refresh.” and “the packaging. if the plastic boxing could be switched to something more eco-friendly.”
“Nothing as yet, although I would like a solution that could be safely used for eyeliner.” and “Not being able to remove body tattoos” and “Wish it could be used on larger area so traditional tattoos can be removed.” and “Would like to see cartridges designed with removal in mind.” and “I only wish I was able to get my hands on the correct cavilon cream. We are making due with the purple” and “I wish the purchase of the training came with a student kit and not at an additional cost.” and “I like everything. I just wish there were more videos to watch of the procedure.” and “I wish we had lifetime access to the videos but I understand it’s probably a security measure.”
“Nope! Just need lockdown lifted so I can promote the hell out of it to help more people” and “No not at all. It does worry me that some more local techs may introduce soon so this will have a hit in my bookings.” and “Nothing! I love the brand, the owner, the vision” and “Nope!” and “No” and “I like it” and “High quality product and company! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ All the way!”
Anything you don't like about Botched Ink? Other comments or suggestions
Just going to fire through these with quick replies. Would love to know why someone doesn’t like the individual sachets. The training videos are in the Facebook group, from a mobile check the Topics, from a laptop check More > Media > Videos. Interesting idea about the yearly refresher course, will think how to do that. We now require you to set up an account on the website, once you have it’s easy to order
Lifetime access - Techs have up to 6 months access to the course, 3 to complete and 3 after. When you do a company’s live training class, you only get access to the course manual and any notes you take on the day. All updates are posted in the group anyway, as that’s where I learn what info needs to be added to the course
Eyeliner removal is the hardest of the hard, and with any brand really should be with the most experienced eyeliner techs, who knows this area well. I won’t be developing an eyeliner version of Botched Ink, as in the main it’s black eyeliner and a really great laser specialist can do a safe job. Body tattoo’s, when you take our body tattoo removal course, you’ll understand why you need to limit the size of the area worked
Your normal 5 round liner machine needles are perfect for removal, no need for anything different. We have developed a hand tool for removal and sell it on our website. I hear you re the Cavilon cream! Working on it. The wipes are still good, it’s the same product, just different application. Student kit, some techs just want the product, others also want a hard copy of the training manual, client forms and aftercare, I’m happy to leave it with personal choice. And don’t forget the adverts, results photos and text that are in the Facebook group for you to use
Closing comments: This has been a good reflection for me to sit down and think what’s been said in the Feedback Requests. I’m grateful to all those who took the time to fill out the form and let me know their views
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