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Travis Franklin

Image: Evan Sigmund

For decades, tattoo artists have relied on “caps,” little circular tubs like the top of an ink bottle, to hold their inks while they work. Their setup is time-consuming.

Enter Hive Caps, a disposable, interlocking, sturdy, stackable new product created by Travis Franklin, owner and co-founder of Sarasota’s Oddity Tattoo Studio and Gallery. 

A lifelong artist, Franklin, 44, found inspiration two years ago as he was composing a bee-themed mural for Oddity’s second location. Each Hive Caps unit consists of four conjoined, hexagonal caps, like the cells of a beehive. Hive Caps don’t tip over easily, and they can be stacked or snapped together in countless configurations according to each artist’s needs and preferences.

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Franklin’s stack-and-snap plastic caps.

The market potential is huge. In the U.S. alone, consumers spend $1.7 billion on tattoos. Franklin found a manufacturer in China and then turned to his personal network of tattoo industry peers to establish partnerships with retailers throughout the U.S. and with tattoo equipment suppliers in Russia, Argentina and most of Europe.

Hive Caps are sold in bags of 50 units apiece, for about $8 a bag. Since January 2017, more than 1 million caps have been sold globally. Franklin already has related products in development.

“I have three patents right now, and three more I’m working on,” says Franklin, who says he’s motivated by his family, especially his 4-year-old son. 

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