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Managing 2 Businesses with 2 Different Audiences

Tattoo guru Russ Abbott explains how Mailchimp helps make it happen.

Russ Abbott smiles while being interviewed.

When it comes to small business, growth can take you to unexpected places. Sometimes the progression of one business leads to an entirely new venture. In fact, in the U.S. alone, 26% of small business owners are running more than one company, according to a recent survey. As the owner of the brick-and-mortar Ink & Dagger Tattoo Shop, and an e-commerce store known as Tattoo Smart, Russ Abbott knows what it’s like to hold down two different forts. Russ invited the What’s in Store crew out to his shop in metro Atlanta to learn how he’s using Mailchimp tools—including marketing analytics, automation, and personalization—to keep Ink & Dagger running smoothly, while simultaneously growing the Tattoo Smart brand.

1 Man, 2 Hustles

Since it opened in 2007, Ink & Dagger has been a go-to shop in the metro Atlanta area focused on service, and known for its experienced and knowledgeable staff, intricate layout, and the quirky interior decor curated by Russ. Prior to the launch of Tattoo Smart, Russ had a lot of experience visiting tattoo expos and conferences as a featured speaker offering his tips on technique and approach. In the process, he developed a digital design product known as The Abbott Color Wheel.

“I started to have these products, and we were selling them through Ink & Dagger’s website, and that was becoming a little bit of a disconnect,” Russ says. “It was like, ‘Welcome to Ink & Dagger Tattoo. Would you like a tattoo or would like a tattoo educational product?’ I needed to create a different entity.” That different entity was Tattoo Smart, which launched in 2016, and is solely an e-commerce business, offering digital design tools and education for tattoo artists.

Doodle of a thinking woman.

"Without the accessible, complete data provided from our automation series, we would be making far more guesses."

The Juggle is Real

The challenge for Russ has been marketing to 2 different audiences. The good news, according to Marketing Manager Brittany Graham, is the team has the necessary resources to make it happen.

“Being able to tailor our marketing strategies to reach 2 different audiences, for different business needs, in different geographic areas, all within 1 platform, is incredibly beneficial,” she says. “The flexibility and ability to use Mailchimp to serve diverse goals is a huge benefit.”

Russ demonstrates his Tattoo Smart program.

Here’s how Brittany explains their approach:

Ink & Dagger = Experiential

Brittany says Ink & Dagger’s marketing efforts are “more connection-driven.” The Ink & Dagger email marketing that goes out updates customers on major staffing changes, last-minute cancellations and openings, as well as event invites and merchandise announcements. The purpose is simply to keep customers in the loop and coming back to the shop.

Tattoo Smart = E-commerce

On the flip side, Tattoo Smart’s audience tends to be professional tattoo artists looking to find tools, techniques, and tutorials. The company relies solely on online sales for products such as e-books, Procreate brushes, and digital palettes. Tattoo Smart must be doing something right—they’ve generated more than $18,000 in revenue from automations.

Doodle of a Newton's cradle.


By strategically writing and revising their initial welcome series for Tattoo Smart customers, the team was able demonstrate both the variety of products available, as well as the value. When they launched their 6-email automation series, they made sure to keep the messaging specific. Whether it’s a welcome email, first purchase, abandoned cart, or specific product and category follow-ups, they made sure each message clearly laid out how Tattoo Smart solves problems for artists, makes them more efficient, or gives them design flexibility.

Doodle of a magnifying glass.


Brittany says she’s frequently references Mailchimp’s reports. After their first automated campaign, her team used a year’s worth of data to determine which elements of the series they should keep or update, and what needed to be cut entirely. “Without the accessible, complete data provided from that first automation series, we would be making far more guesses about what was working than identifying parts of our strategy that were supported by evidence,” she says.

Doodle of wrist with 3 watches.


Time travel is real. Well, it is if you’re using Mailchimp’s Timewarp feature, which allows you to personalize and schedule email delivery based on a customer’s timezone to ensure they’re receiving your message when you’re most likely to be online. Once the Tattoo Smart team knew they wanted their product launch announcements to hit inboxes in the early AM, they set it up and Timewarp took care of the rest.

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