Brooklyn-based company Tattly sees big numbers in temporary tattoo business

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DUMBO (PIX11) -- Tina Roth Eisenberg never thought she'd have a career making temporary tattoos.

"I'm still chuckling every time somebody asks me, 'what do you do?'" she says.

But about four years ago, Eisenberg's daughter came home from a birthday party with some seriously hideous temporary tattoos.  The clip-art kind you and I probably wore as a children.

"They were a complete insult to my Swiss ascetics and I figured I'd have to do something about this."

So, a graphic designer by trade, Eisenberg decided to get serious about temporary tattoos.

"I designed a website, I reached out to my illustrative friends, and two months later Tattly was born."

But it's not just kids and birthday parties, the company creates temporary tattoos right here in the US that are more like body art or jewelry, without the lifelong commitment or massive expense. And Eisenberg says people notice.

"Whenever I go to trade shows I completely sleeve-up."

Meaning she covers her arms with tattoos.

"And I remember this one moment where I walked into the subway and this completely sleeved-up man was sitting there and he looked at me for a second and he gave me the head nod.  So for a second I was part of his tribe."

Tattly works with more than 100 artists, many of them local, to design the temporary tats.

The company now has more than 500 options to choose from which cost about five bucks a pair, including the New York and M-T-A collections.

They even make custom designs for movies like Warner Brothers "if i stay" and "How to Train Your Dragon 2" by 20th Century Fox.

If you're wondering, they also do weddings.

"They're great for people who want to create a little something personal for the people in their lives that are coming out to celebrate with them," said Yng-Ru Chen, Tattly's Head of Partnerships.

The temporary tattoos have translated into some real cash, not just for the people who work at Tattly, but also for the artists.  Last quarter Tattly paid out more than $70-thousand in royalties.

"I'm a big believer that the secret to a creative life is passive income, so it frees you up to work on other creative projects," said Eisenberg.

So what's next for Tattly?

The company plans to move from DUMBO to a bigger studio in Boerum Hill meaning even though the tattoos are temporary, the business is here to stay.