LFC: Introduce yourself to the LFC community through one of your favorite drawings.
Dani Egna: Hello LFC! My name is Dani Egna and I am the CEO and founder of INKED by dani. This is one of my oil paintings that I did as one of my pieces as a Fine Arts student. This is definitely one of my favorites, and I actually made it into a tattoo, which has become one of our best-sellers!
LFC: Now tell us about the start of creating your own company, INKED by Dani.
DE: I started my company during the end of my senior year as a Fine Arts major at the University of Southern California. I started off by creating a simple website, and hosting trunk shows at my sorority house! After seeing the overwhelming response of my friends and classmates, I think I could feel I had something special on my hands. Within weeks, our website had exploded and we were launched into the retail world by working with Brandy Melville and Nasty Gal right off the bat. Since then, it has been an amazing journey of building the lifestyle brand that we are today, and we have been so lucky to work with the incredible brands and people we have thus far.
LFC: You had a great idea for a product that people may not have known they wanted/needed. How did you take that idea and turn it into a marketable, profitable product that actually reached the right audience?
DE: The great thing about INKED is that it really speaks to so many different ages, styles, and personalities. Whether you’re reliving your 90’s nostalgia, or can’t commit to the real deal, we have such a big range of styles that everyone from a 5 year old to a 95 year old can find something they love! I think the simple idea of a temporary commitment is what is so appealing, and has been a great way to market our brand. People are also really excited about concept that everything is hand-drawn, and that each design is created by an artist (me), not just generated by a computer! In this digital age, it’s think definitely an important contrast to have that as your roots.
LFC: Where would you be most surprised (in a good way) to see your tattoos?
DE: I was most surprised to see one of our tattoo designs actually tattooed for real on someone’s neck! They had sent us a direct message through Instagram proudly showing off the new ink they got, inspired by one of our temporary tattoos! That was pretty awesome :)
LFC: As a young entrepreneur, do you find that potential business partners treat you differently due to your age?
DE: I actually really haven’t felt that I’ve been treated any different! I am treated with the same level of expectation of someone who’s older, and has been in the industry for years, where as I am just starting off here!
LFC: Due to social media (which, don’t get us wrong, we love it), we’ve created a very cluttered marketplace. What is some advice you could provide for young women looking to start their own ventures in a saturated industry?
DE: It is definitely important to stand out and make it clear why and how you are cooler and do whatever you do better. I believe the person who succeeds is the one who makes a very clear voice for their brand, and can really bring that to life in a visual and shareable way. You always have got to be ahead of the game in terms of styles and trends! And every single day you have to be continuously working to grab the market share.
LFC: Since there are many different facets to what you do (i.e. business, art, style, etc.), where do you draw inspiration from?
DE: I definitely feel like our brand pulls from so much of the art, fashion, design and beauty world. I draw inspiration from so many different places, including tattoos I would personally want, bringing in some of my favorite trends from being a 90’s kid, and pulling from current trends and styles. I also draw inspiration from my years of training as a fine artist. It is a perfect combination of so many worlds colliding!
LFC: Do you have any real tattoos? If so, tell us the story/stories!
DE: I have always wanted one, but nope, my mom would kill me! This was a huge part of my inspiration behind creating the company in the first place. I used to sit through all my classes and doodle different tattoo designs that I loved, but knew I’d never actually get. I figured so many people had that same internal conflict!