Despite an ever-evolving digital era and having more than 1/3 of the Gen Z population (i.e., born in the 2000s) already inked, Antoine Fayad and Georges Diab felt that the tattoo industry is being left untouched, scattered and digitized and decided to create Book Ink.
The Book Ink co-founders walk us through the story of how their startup originated, the various roadblocks they had to overcome, their peak achievements so far, and their journey with Berytech through the ScaleSmart Program.
Q: What is Book Ink?
A: Book ink is a SaaS (software as a service) platform that automates and facilitates every single step of a tattoo artist’s day by reducing all their time-consuming tasks.
Now that the artists can focus on the art, this engaging marketplace platform allows them to connect with millions of potential clients worldwide. We facilitated the tattoo experience by creating an interface for clients to search, get inspired, book, and connect with their favorite tattoo artists from anywhere in the world.
Q: If you had to choose one achievement to highlight during your entrepreneurship journey, what would it be and what lesson did you learn from it?
A: One of the most notable achievements during our entrepreneurship journey was the series of long-overnight brainstorming and business plan forecasting sessions. Throughout this experience, we learned a valuable lesson that has stayed with us ever since – there is no such thing as a perfect business plan. No matter how thoroughly we analyze and prepare, unexpected variables and uncertainties will inevitably arise, challenging our assumptions and strategies. However, the key lesson we took away from those moments is that the real essence of a successful business plan lies in the storyline and vision it conveys. We believe that the journey of entrepreneurship taught us invaluable lessons about resilience, adaptability, and the significance of a compelling vision. These insights continue to shape our approach to business, empowering us to face new challenges and pursue success with determination and passion.
Q: What are the main challenges that you have faced so far?
A: The main challenge that we have faced so far is having to commit to specific deadlines or timelines, especially with regards to tech developments and legal/regulatory compliances. Regulatory compliance and tech developments – in terms of security, privacy and speed, is an ever-evolving process with always having so much to do yet to perfect your code. With time, you notice that you cannot always wait to have a perfect code before launching. We had to take a leap of faith and commercialize our product while continuously enhancing it day-by-day.
Q: How did you overcome these challenges and what did you do to keep on going?
A: We are hard-core believers that every challenge (or hick-up) happens for a reason. New challenges shed light on problems we haven’t previously thought about, which always follows with new ideas and putting us in an even better position with new enhancements to our app. We often like to think of challenges as a ‘breather’ – it puts breaks on a very fast-moving environment, which sometimes is essential as part of your startup journey, allowing you to take a step-back, slow-down, reflect, and step-back on the gas again.
Q: Why did you apply to the ScaleSmart program? What were you hoping to achieve when you applied to it?
A: We applied to the ScaleSmart program because we recognized the value of third-party opinions and expertise for our startup’s growth. We saw it as an opportunity to access great minds and industry veterans from various fields like Finance, Marketing, Strategy, and Technology. Our hope was to gain invaluable insights, strategies, and a wider perspective to take our startup to new heights. Being part of ScaleSmart meant joining a supportive entrepreneurial community, fostering shared learning and accelerated development.
Q: What are your long-term goals as a startup?
A: Our long-term goal as a startup is to revolutionize the Tattoo industry globally through our app, Book ink. We aim to be the go-to platform connecting clients, artists, and suppliers, making the tattooing process more accessible and efficient worldwide. Our ultimate measure of success is when Book ink becomes an essential tool for the Tattoo industry, fostering a vibrant and interconnected community of stakeholders worldwide.
The ACT Smart Innovation Hub
The ScaleSmart program is under the ACT Smart Innovation Hub, a comprehensive initiative launched by Berytech aimed at enabling the Lebanese entrepreneurial ecosystem, revitalizing the funding and investment sector, stimulating innovation and startup creation, and strengthening the competitiveness, growth, and market access for innovative businesses in the agriculture, food and clean technology sectors in Lebanon.