“We rise by lifting others.”
At Beautify.tips, we love to shine the spotlight on entrepreneurs who weren’t afraid to build their own brand, blaze their own trail, and be their own boss. Here are their journeys…
Spotlight: Richie Bulldog & Seth Love, Co-Founders of Hustle Butter
Tell us a little about Hustle Butter!
Hustle Butter is a tattoo skincare brand born and bred in Brooklyn, NY. From day one, our brand has encapsulated the heart and soul of New York City, our city, and even as we’ve expanded globally, we still always return to the Brooklyn hustle that underpins our brand and our ethos.
Hustle Butter is more than just skincare – it is culture. We have always known that tattooing was inherently intertwined with pop culture – tattooing is at the center of art, music, fashion, lifestyle, and today more than ever, tattooing is a central part to the world we live in. We fell in love with tattooing decades ago – closely following the industry the way others follow celebrities or sports. We loved that tattoos bring people with a love and appreciation for artistry together. We were ingrained in the culture for as long as we can remember, from the days when tattooing was not even legal in New York City.
Hustle Butter is our mark on the industry we are passionate about, the industry we are defined by – it’s our way of giving back to the industry and creating a solution for clients and artists alike that makes the tattoo process and associated aftercare better. We know at Hustle Butter tattoos are one of the most important expressions of individuality, and we’re here to help preserve that. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Real Never Fades.
How did you choose the name for your brand?
Hustle is in our DNA – growing up in Brooklyn you had to Hustle to get where you wanted to go, both literally and figuratively. When we created our product, the perfect body butter, the name was so obvious – it had to be Hustle Butter.
Hustle Butter reflects our Brooklyn upbringing and the perfect product texture for in-process and aftercare. Even when others didn’t quite understand the name, we believed in it. We knew it encapsulated the brand, the vibe, the feel, the culture.
What inspired you both to launch the brand?
We fell in love with tattoo culture and artistry in the ‘80s, back when tattooing was illegal in NYC and aftercare was an afterthought. After gritting through long sessions and uncomfortable heals, we knew there had to be something better out there for clients and artists alike. Through our experiences with artistry at the highest level, we learned that artists fought against redness and swelling, and existing solutions, like petroleum jelly, just traded one set of problems for another.
There was nothing in the market that had it all – formulas made with natural and vegan ingredients, cruelty-free certifications and irresistible fragrances. We knew there had to be a better solution. When we couldn’t find it, we created it. We put our Brooklyn hustle to work and tried tons of solutions before perfecting our signature body butter base. With 10+ years under our belt, Hustle Butter is the #1 artist recommended tattoo aftercare brand. And we’re just getting started.
As someone who has multiple tattoos, I can certainly attest to the fact there are not many great products out there for tattoo care and I LOVE your products! What were some of the biggest challenges you faced getting your company off the ground?
Anytime you are a changemaker, you are burdened and blessed with convincing others of why you exist. Convincing them why you are better, and what you bring to the table that nobody else does or can. With our product, trying is believing, but at the start, there was resistance to trial. We built our business artist by artist, shop owner by shop owner, showing them how and why Hustle Butter would change their business, and their client’s experience. We were up against solutions that had been around for hundreds of years – petroleum-based products, medical-type washes, and everywhere we went people felt like the solution worked well enough, so why change it up? Why upgrade when the base model is sufficing?
We knew, however, from our own experiences, and our relationships with the greatest artists in the world, that the industry needed this product. Breaking habits and changing culture is hard, but we knew we were on to something, and that our Brooklyn Hustle gave us the persistence that we needed. Changing an industry takes time, and we were patient. We continued to show up – to conventions, to shops, to artists, to convince the industry that our upcharge for a superior product was worth the results – that we enhance the process and aftercare like never before.
We showed anyone and everyone what we could to make the industry better, and help artists obtain results like never before. The culture and process were deeply ingrained, but we didn’t let that stop us. We spoke to anyone who would listen – and something amazing happened. People tried the product and they saw it for themselves. And they never looked back.
And we didn’t just change the process – we started a new culture. One where in-process and aftercare products were merely a part of the routine, but made the routine. One where in-process tattooing and aftercare could be more clean – made with naturally-derived ingredients with vegan and cruelty-free certifications. One where aftercare was not an afterthought, but a central part of the process. We changed culture then, and have continued to do so every step of the way.
We grew our business slowly – artist by artist, shop by stop, state by state, country by country, continent by continent. We built our brand slowly – but 12+ years later, we look around and can’t believe how fast we’ve grown. We are the #1 artist recommended tattoo aftercare, and trusted by brands and customers worldwide. And we are just at the beginning of our journey..
Do you have a hero product? What is it and why did it take off?
Hustle Butter Deluxe Tattoo Aftercare & Daily Moisturizing Balm is as luxurious and rich as it sounds. The first product and the brand namesake, Hustle Butter’s body butter is moisturizing and lavish. Developed as a skin-loving petroleum replacement, this tattoo balm can be used before tattooing, in-process and forever after. It is the #1 rated tattoo aftercare & in-process product amongst artists and clients with amazing value when tending to both new and older tattoos. Hustle Butter Deluxe is Amazon’s #1 best-selling tattoo aftercare product, with over 22,000 5-star reviews.
In addition to being a staple in tattoo in-process & aftercare, Hustle Butter Deluxe is an ideal addition to your daily skincare routine providing instant relief to dry skin leaving you soft, smooth and glowing day after day.
It took off because it filled a need in the market, and really was superior to all the other existing solutions, for both artists and clients alike. Once artists and shops started stocking Hustle Butter, they couldn’t keep it in stock, because it changed the experience. And the smell well, that didn’t hurt either!
What would you say was your big breakthrough moment…
Our first breakthrough moment, at the very start of this amazing journey, was when we landed our name. It may sound crazy, but the moment we decided on the name was the moment we knew our dream was not just a dream but rather a reality. And in that moment we knew that we could change the tattoo industry, and that we could leave tattooing better than we found it. We knew we were at the start of something truly revolutionary.
Our next breakthrough moment occurred in London in 2013, at one of the largest, most prestigious conventions in our industry. Before the convention started, Richie had the honor of MCing a tattoo learning experience in front of some of the most prominent figures in the industry. It was a “pinch me” moment for Richie. We knew right then the impact that we had made to be deserving of this immense honor. This was mind blowing to us, an opportunity to speak about our passion, in a room full of people who share this same passion and obsession with artistry. To lead them in thought and in discussion. To be the face of something big. And even more so, to see our products, the ones we’ve worked tirelessly on, get the attention, and shine they received was next level.
And for this to happen in a land far away from Hustle Butter’s Brooklyn birthplace, at a convention filled with some of the greatest in the world, it was indescribable. That was a defining moment. As we saw people from across the world engage with our product, we knew this was the start of something bigger than we could have ever imagined.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
It’s been an amazing road for us. When we fell in love with tattooing, tattoos weren’t even legal in NYC. Now everywhere you look – sports, film, fashion – tattoos play a central role. We have been patiently waiting for this day. Tattoos, pop culture, lifestyle, fashion, design – it’s all converging. And we are amazed and honored to have played a part in this cultural revolution. We have seen the industry change, the artistry change, the needs change, and we have made it our mission to evolve with the culture, to leave tattooing better than we found it, and to make sure we are always on the cutting edge of the industry.
We truly believe we were trailblazers in this industry, and of the change that we see today. There is no denying that we have made a difference – the places where our products are used and sold, the way we’ve changed the tattoo in-process, aftercare and maintenance game – we’ve become forever intertwined with tattooing. And that’s all we ever set out to do!
Even after a decade of selling produce, we still read all of the reviews, testimonials, comments – we love to engage with our fans and understand how we have helped them and how we can continue to engage and delight them. We are always looking to do better, to be better. The most rewarding part to us is hearing about how we made their tattoo experience better – whether it is artists who have been able to tattoo more efficiently, or customers who have had a stronger tattoo and aftercare experience due to our ability to help their skin in its most fragile state – that’s what we do it for. Hearing that our products make clients’ tattoos more vibrant and their skin softer, hearing that we help build confidence through self expression – it’s worth every second we’ve put into this business!