A scalable, global business for the 50 million who regret their tattoos

Matt Buchanan

Livewire Markets

Speaking for the un-inked among us it is fair to say we always suspected a high proportion of people who get tattoos regret them once the mood/infatuation/trend/intoxicating gas leak had passed but we've not had the proof. 

Now we do.

According to Lucerne Investment Partners' Anthony Murphy. Not only that there's now a US business - Removery - that can dependably do it. (Not that people learn. As he explains 60% apparently just remove one to make room for another). 

"In the US, at the moment, there are 350 million people. Circa 100 million people have tattoos. By the age of 35, 50 million of them regret actually getting that tattoo. 
So ... once you regret getting the tattoo, you're going to go into your local Removery centre and you're going to get that tattoo removed. And two-thirds of them do that. But the two-thirds of them that do that, actually get it replaced with another tattoo." 


That's quite a market. And it's not going away. It is quite literally coming back.

Removery is just one of the businesses invested in by Lucerne's partner HEAL Partners, an early to mid-stage growth focused on Health Education And Lifestyle. But he commends it as representative of what happens when smart tech and savvy investment find each other.

As he explains in the wire and video below: "For the last 10 years people have said that a great business to invest in would be tattoo removal. Everybody's talked about it, but no one's done it. People have always talked about the pain associated with getting a tattoo removed. And so the market catches up to that eventually. 

The market gets smart. Technology gets smart, and these guys (HEAL) could see that thematic evolving. And so they owned it and they knew it would be a global business. They knew it would be a scalable business. They knew it would be a repeatable business. And those three defining factors are what makes a great investment: scalable, global, and repeatable."


For more on Removery, HEAL, and how HEAL co-founder Mark Evans put new meaning into having skin in the game, please click the video button or read the transcript below. 


Managed Fund
Lucerne Alternative Investments Fund (Fee Class 1)
Alternative Assets
Managed Fund
Lucerne Alternative Investments Fund (Fee Class 2)
Alternative Assets

This transcript has been edited for length and clarity

Why is tattoo removalist company Removery here to stay?

Two of the partners behind HEAL actually founded Tattoo Removery business and that has evolved into what is known as Removery today. 

And we think this is a fascinating story. I know plenty of friends of mine for decades have talked ... Well, not decades. 

For the last 10 years, people have said that a great business to invest in would be tattoo removal. Everybody's talked about it, but no one's done it. People have always talked about the pain associated with getting a tattoo removed. And so the market catches up to that eventually. The market gets smart. 

Technology gets smart, and these guys again could see that thematic evolving. And so they owned it and they knew it would be a global business. They knew it would be a scalable business. They knew it would be a repeatable business. And those three defining factors are what make a great investment: scalable, global, and repeatable.

And so when you look at Removery, they started the business by aggregating a few centres around the US. And that has since expanded to nearly a hundred stores now across US and Australia. That's within less than two years. So, they're scaling quickly and now the largest tattoo remover in providing business in the world.

Why we like it is we don't really care what happens with the tattoo craze. In the US, at the moment, is 350 million people. Circa 100 million people have tattoos. By the age of 35, 50 million of them regret actually getting that tattoo.

One would then think once you regret getting the tattoo, you're going to go into your local Removery centre and you're going to get that tattoo removed. True, and two-thirds of them do that. But the two-thirds of them that do that, actually get it replaced with another tattoo.

So, you, unfortunately, might have just broken up with your ex-lover, but now you've fallen in love with someone else, so it's important to get their name on your arm now instead. And then, history might repeat itself. You fall out of love with that person, have to go in and get another name on your arm. Two-thirds actually get the tattoo removed to get a new tattoo over the top because they still love tattoos. And one-third just want it gone completely.

But if you think about Removery as a whole and this is why we like the story is that if the tattoo craze continues - and we think it will, by the way. 

Think about all the celebrities in the world and sports stars, they're all getting more tattoos these days and they're more accepted in working culture, whereas previously they'd be covered up. But let's just say that the tattoo craze does die down and people want to get them removed. Well, where are they going to go? To Removery to get them removed. So, either way, Removery's in this sweet spot. If the craze continues, great, if it dies down, great. They're going to be sitting in front and centre to service those individuals as well. So, we think it's got tremendous scale.

Look, HEAL's investment in Removery's really been vindicated by Elliott Management. They're a global behemoth in funds management. HEAL first invested in Removery in September 2020, and then Elliott Management came in at a premium to that of 40% in January '21, leading a 50 million round. And then recently both HEAL and Elliott went into a recent raising where they raised 30 million. They both put 15 million each into Removery. So, it's about scaling these businesses and accelerating their growth.

What's been more of an indication for HEAL is that now as announced in the AFR last week that Elliott has come out and encouraged HEAL Partners to start a second fund, because the first fund that we've invested in is now hard closed. And they're going to anchor that with a substantial investment and HEAL is looking to scale that fund to 500 million US. 

So, don't take our word for it. Take Elliott Management's word for it that they've identified how well and how impressed they were actually with HEAL Partners and the way they went about investing, have given them their own capital and ask them to build a second fund for them in the US.

Taking market research to a new level

Mark Evans, who's one of the founders of HEAL, one of the founders of Edge and founders of Removery, Mark went and got a tattoo himself - I should have mentioned this before. 

But one thing about getting tattoos removed these days, it's actually, I wouldn't say it's completely pain-free but it's quite painless. Whereas historically, it hurt more to get a tattoo removed than it did actually to get a tattoo. 

These days, and what I've been told is it feels like just a rubber band flicking your skin. And so therefore the barrier to entry becomes less as well because individuals are more inclined to go and get something done. It's not going to hurt them as much. So yeah, no, Mark went out there and got himself a tattoo. 

I'd never asked to see it, but he's gone himself and got a tattoo to prove and I guess put his money where his body is and get it taken off. So, he is a pretty conservative guy, Mark. So, it's not the sort of thing that he'd normally go out and do.

A different type of wealth management

Lucerne is Australia’s pre-eminent independent investment group, providing high net worth investors access to a family office-style service. They allocate to any investment that meets client objectives and they invest alongside you. Click ‘CONTACT’ below to talk with them or visit their website here.

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Matt Buchanan
Content Director
Livewire Markets

Matt Buchanan is a former Head of Content at Livewire Markets. Matt is an avid investor and a big fan of the Livewire community, which he first joined in 2017.

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