Oliver Zak and Selom Agbitor are the CEO’s and founders of the very successful Mad Rabbit. The East Coast EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalists, Oliver and Selom, appeared on “Shark Tank” in March where they met Mark Cuban and accepted a $500,000 offer for 12% of their company. Cuban also recently took part in their closing of $2M Seed Funding Round Led by Acronym Venture Capital, along with NFL star Stefan Diggs.
Oliver and Selom, who earned finance degrees at Miami University, started the company Mad Rabbit, which produces natural solutions that help keep tattoos looking vibrant, as a side hustle in college, mixing batches of their first balm in Oliver Zak’s apartment.
Mad Rabbit reported more than $2.8 million in revenue in 2020 and is on track to hit eight figures this year. “We look forward to reaching a larger, more inclusive community of tattooed consumers with our products,” stated Oliver Zak. “Our vision for the brand is that it will someday extend far beyond skincare.”
Global Elite Media Group recently had a one on one interview with the 2 CEO’s and here’s what they had to say:
Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?
Selom: After moving from Ghana to the U.S., I was always driven by the sacrifices my parents made for me and my family. Seeing their strong work ethic motivated me to work hard and create my own story.
Oliver: I grew up watching my father transition from a surgeon to an entrepreneur after an unfortunate life-altering event. I was inspired early on by his drive to succeed no matter what the odds are and found myself pitching in entrepreneurship competitions in high school.
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
We’re working on new products and new packaging, to tell our story that we think our customers will really love.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years? Influencer marketing.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness? Instagram.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
We appeared on Shark Tank in March and were lucky enough to receive two offers from two sharks. One of the toughest decisions was choosing between Kevin O’Leary and Mark Cuban. We chose Mark Cuban in the end who invested $500,000 for 12% equity.
How has your business been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
When Covid hit, many companies decided to stop or reduce ad spending, but we decided to at least double our ad spend, which was a big risk but ended up paying off because it catapulted us into being the top brand in the tattoo aftercare space
How have you adapted your business operations in response to COVID-19 and its associated impacts?
We have increased our influencer marketing and social media operations to have a direct channel to consumers and hear their voices.
What have been some of the most important lessons you have learned because of this pandemic?
With a startup, roles are fluid, walls can be non-existent, and cross-functionality is expected. The downside is that nobody is good at everything, and it is our job to place our people in the best positions to succeed. Creating jobs and growing our Mad Rabbit Tattoo family is one of the most exciting parts of our jobs as co-founders. The fact that we’ve been able to increase hires during the pandemic is an exciting accomplishment for us.
What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses all over the world?
Inspire people to innovate and provide a solution to an underserved market. Conditions are always changing, and this can be good or bad for a business. When Covid hit, many companies decided to stop or reduce ad spending, but we decided to at least double our ad spend, which was a big risk but ended up paying off because it catapulted us into being the top brand in the tattoo aftercare space.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up a new business in this pandemic?
Don’t try to do it alone. Starting a business solo drastically increases your chances of failure in the early days of launching a startup. Not only is it important to hire quality employees, but it might be more important than those employees are in the right roles. With a startup, roles are fluid, walls can be non-existent, and cross-functionality is expected. The downside is that nobody is good at everything, and it is our job to place our people in the best positions to succeed.