World Famous Founder, Lou Rubino, In Conversation with Il Tatuaggio Magazine about REACH
New EU regulations regarding tattoo ink:
With EU regulations coming into affect this January 2022, the iconic Italian tattoo magazine, Il Tatuaggio, sits down with our Founder, Lou Rubino, to speak on REACH, our soon-to-come product line, and how important the tattoo community means to him. Read below to discover more about the man behind the brand.
A new European regulation regarding some substances contained in tattoo inks will come into force in Europe from January the 4th. From this point of view, are you ready for this big change? Does your brand already have a line of colors ready and adapted to the new European legislation? When will it be marketed and what are the characteristics?
We are ready here at World Famous Tattoo Ink. After one year of hard, dedicated work, World Famous Tattoo Ink is proud to announce our line of Pigments called "World Famous Limitless!". There are no limits to our capabilities at World Famous, and here is the proof. Endless long days and nights, vigorous R&D and testing results in an amazing new line that will blow your mind. Artists are raving about the healed results- Our new line that has been created around the new REACH regulations has proven itself to be as good or possibly even better than our traditional line of pigments. Many goals had to be hit by our team in order to get here, and we are so proud of the results and proud of our team's amazing work.
How long have you been informed about this new legislation?
I am pretty sure all tattoo ink manufacturers knew of the possible REACH regulations proposal for years... But, let's face it NO ONE believed in it becoming a reality or at least, we all hoped that it would never come into play in our lifetime. With no major changes or breakthroughs in backing of these hard-core regulations... we all hoped that our art would be able to maintain our industry standards to date. Tattooing has been driven by the pigments that have been used for as long as we all can remember, without any major adverse reactions, giving really no reason for such a harsh change in the way we manufacture them and the ingredients we provide.
What is your opinion on this transition?
It sucks! I personally have been a tattoo artist for over 30 years of my life. My Dad was also a tattoo artist, so I grew up around this art that I quickly fell in love with and became my passion. These ink products are in my own skin and the skin of my family. The industry has certainly grown tremendously over these years... opening the eyes of regulators and TV producers... heck, back when I started tattooing there were no major ink manufacturers, in fact we used to mix our pigments in the back room of the tattoo studio, or even rent out a hotel room to make a big mess we didn't have to clean up. Seeing where the industry has gone these days and operating now in a major manufacturing company with R&D labs, Quality Control labs, and a cleanroom operation that is running under ISO 13485... Wow! Without regulations forcing us to- we have strived to make improvements that are Limitless.
How important is the European market to you?
I absolutely love Europe; the people and my heart and drive is comprised of the tattoo industry! I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I live for the art. Myself, having Italian roots always pulled me to love the European market as my favorite in the world. Many of you know, I have traveled the world promoting my brand and spent most of my time in Eu, even vacationing with my family for a month at a time in Europe as I may be American, but my DNA is European.
Was it difficult for you to rework your color formula?
Well, that is a long story! We started 1 year ago when the regulations actually went from proposal to now coming into effect... as soon as we saw this happen, we were in shock as we hoped it would never come into play, yet we knew it was go time! We had no choice but to pressure our R&D and Quality and Safety team to complete what was the hardest task and most vigorous test of my blood pressure! It was the most difficult hard-working year of my career with so much uncertainty of knowing if the results would end up as good as they have! In the end its so rewarding to have this feeling like I could have potentially helped to save the tattoo industry. Providing a product that works the same as artists are used to just in the nick of time so that artists like myself can continue to do what we all love and enjoy. Tattooing is sort of like a religion, it is not just a career it becomes your passion that drives your whole life.
It seems that with the new European regulation also the percentage of pigment will be lowered from 5% to 1%. Is it true? What do you think will be the impact on the performance of the tattoo artist's work?
At first, we also thought this was the situation, yet we at World Famous Ink have accomplished what was thought to be impossible. I can't wait for all my European friends and family to try this all-new Limitless line as I know they will love it. The impact is going to be a lot less of a change than people feared . At this point the biggest impact will be buying all new pigments and learning the colors of the Limitless line. As an artist I understand the impact of trying something you have never used before in your art. The results are promising yet it always takes time to build confidence and trust.
What do you think about the difficulty of finding substitutes for Blue 15.3 and Green 7? Will there be valid substitutes?
Honestly, this was not our biggest focus this year, as without a formula that passes the newly instituted REACH regulations what are we going to do with a new blue or green. The Blue and Green regulation deadline is a year later in January of 2023, so we have a little time, but as this year flew by us and now, we are finished with round 1 right at the deadline... we are also working on information to prove the Blue and Green safe. We must fully concentrate on Blue and Green this coming year. Yet this past year in the background we have been working to find pigments and giving our support to all groups that we can who are trying to fight this regulation. As a united front in the industry, we have a chance. Alone and going in different directions we have no chance. This is when our industry needs to really stand together as one. That includes suppliers, manufacturers, artists, and our passionate clients.
Will consumer prices also change?
Yes, for sure! Sorry, there is no other way to put it. In our new limitless line, EVERYTHING has changed. Every single ingredient we sourced has come at a higher price point, in order to be able to perfect a line that meets REACH regulations. Imagine in these days of COVID making this type of major change and dealing with supply chain and logistic issues the world is dealing with now- talk about bad timing! We are also dealing with hyper-inflation, and rising cost on normal raw materials on top of everything else. On top of the major increase in ingredient prices, you have 10 times the work in labor... not only in R&D, even in the processes in which we make the ink. We had to change the way we think about manufacturing, and the way we test our products. We even had to change the way we present the products. Labels are required to be changed, documents provided change including our new Technical Dossier and SDS forms. More languages must be added to the products. You now must have every language in Eu on your product.. of course, this doesn't fit on our label alone, so we have had to add hang tags with all the additional needed languages to our labels. At World Famous we test every single raw material coming in to be sure before we manufacture that the ingredients all pass the new REACH regulation. Then final product is tested for end results and held until all results come in- you can only imagine the work that goes into it, and the lead time and inventory impact this will have on a company. Yet at World Famous we are completely committed to Limitless changes. We must adapt and continuously evolve to maintain the industry that drives our passion and success. Our slogan has been since day 1- World Famous Forever! and I live by it.
Speak Italian? Read the original Version HERE.
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