New Tattoos Made Just for Women

Coming to an ankle near you, the “Lady-Like” tattoo

As a mother of three, Shelly Coffman didn’t really have a ton of extra time to become a “mompreneur,” but she did. And with her MBA and an extensive background in securities law, it wasn’t exactly logical to go into a business with a product historically linked with sailors and convicts, but she did that, too.

Coffman recently rolled out a collection of what she calls “Lady-Like Tattoos” under her brand name, Poppy Drops.

Full disclosure, here: They’re just temporary tattoos—but that’s actually the whole point. “These tattoos were designed with me in mind,” said Coffman. “I’d always wanted a tattoo, and I’d always chickened out. So this was born out of my desire to have an option. Say you’d like to have a tattoo, but you work in a profession where you [can’t]. You can wear this on the weekend if you’re feeling a little edgy and still take it off before the business meeting on Monday.”

Of course, there are plenty of temporary tattoos out there. But Coffman found them all to be too large, too masculine or just too juvenile to suit women’s tastes. (Examples: Hello Kitty sells a temporary tattoo combo for $6, and Earth Henna will sell you an entire Body Painting Kit for about $24.) That’s when Coffman saw an opening in the marketplace for what she calls “a more dainty, demure tattoo” for ladies only.

Poppy Drops features three collections, each a diminutive flourish of stars, birds or hearts, and each priced at $6.95. There’s also a collection of script words—a popular tattoo sub trend. And since all of Coffman’s tattoos are made with 100 percent food-grade vegetable dye, “if you have sensitive skin, you don’t have to be worried,” she said.

While Poppy Drops is creating a new body-art niche for women, the line is actually an offshoot of Coffman’s original tattoo collection for girls. “I developed it as a solution to a problem a lot of moms face,” she said. “Their little ones want to get their ears pierced, and there’s no great alternative.” Her resulting kids collection—designed to be worn on the earlobe but is suitable for anyplace on the skin—includes ladybugs and mermaids.

Most of Coffman’s sales currently come through her website, but Poppy Drops is ready to ink a deal with a major retail chain (one Coffman prefers not to name) and also just got picked up by e-tailer Daily Grommet. “This product is a problem solver,” said the site’s senior community manager Tori Tait. “Moms like them because they’re not permanent, and kids like the styles.” Daily Grommet plans to stock the Lady-Like tattoos at some point in the near future.

Meanwhile, it looks like there are plenty of women who, like Coffman, would love to have a tattoo—so long as it washes off.