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Contraband has been supplying transfer tattoos to clients for over 20 years now but where did it all start and why did I ever start manufacturing tattoos?
Sitting in the sun in Delhi in my factory in 1999, drinking my chai and I had one of those ‘eureka moments’. Flicking through my henna design book I thought I’d pick the top 100 designs that people wanted henna tattoos and print my own transfer tattoo range, package them and flog them at the Clothes show on my henna stand. Henna crazy transfer tattoos were born and designs included ‘Bitch’ in Chinese (well it was the third most popular design in the book), Dragon,Chinese symbols such as Love, Friendship, Peace’, cartoon ,caricatures and armband designs.

Next I had to work out the transfer tattoo packaging. I couldn’t just sell that tattoos on little sheets as they are sticky and have a clear covering which you peel back, they needed clear plastic pouches, a branded printed display card and the all-important holes so they could be displayed on hook stands. None of this is simple to do I can tell you and it took various attempts at getting it right, much to the amusement of my factory boys listening to my splattering of Hindi in the local markets in Shashtri Nagar. I ended up throwing in the towel and having them packaged in the UK, the packaging ending up costing more than the tattoos themselves!

I printed about 40,000 transfer tattoos and sold them over a couple of years at various public events, selling them alongside the henna tattoos.  They were the top designs and they weren’t available anywhere else, they simply flew out of my stalls.

The jump from selling retail to wholesale was just the next logical step and I began supplying UK clients with branded bespoke transfer tattoos of their own designs, although quality control from India, once I’d returned to London was pretty tough and I remember one shocking order, where much to my horror 10,000 order of glow in the dark insects for a council event landed in the UKand the majority had been badly packed (simply chucked into boxes I fear) and nearly a third of the tattoos had all stuck to each other and were covered in fluff from the cardboard boxes they were packaged in which had disintegrated in the 4,016 mile journey from factory to my home.

Needless to say I stopped printing in India and began printing in the UK. My first big order was for Honda who printed 100,000 transfer tattoos for a Bike Exhibition at the Excel. The transfer tattoos were a massive success and really helped Honda get the brand remembered above their competitors at a busy and competitive public exhibition. Honda re-ordered for years and we supplied over 200,000 over a 2 year period.

We’ve now supplied transfer tattoos to over 250 clients over the years, from charities to night clubs, from swimming clubs to drinks and food brands, from the Eden Project to The Groucho Club.

Transfers aren’t just for arms and legs, we’ve printed transfer tattoos for face designs such as Nivea flowers for Race for Life and transfer tattoos to be used as party invites, pick a design apply it – or you’re not coming in!
I reckon looking back I’ve transfer tattoos now over half a million people and those transfer tattoos have been seen by millions and millions more and it all started with that cup of chai. Talking of chai, I’m going to make one now.

Transfer tattoos work really well for branding at various sporting events, private celebrations, and many other events!   If you would prefer, we have a variety of body painters who can do smaller designs too.

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