Tattoos are conversation starters and as intricate pieces of art and there really is no limit to their creative scope. When the niche idea for New Zealand developed Reference 87 came about, Ben Kaye and Taylor Compain were eager to provide a solution for creatives around the globe seeking digital high quality, unique tattoo reference material. Wanting to share their own passion and knowledge with the tattoo community – they decided to start Reference87.

Since then, Reference 87 has continued to expand, now delivering inspirational digital tattoo imagery from creatives around the world, as well as pre-recorded online seminars hosted by world-renowned artists based around technique, theory, workflow and more.

As a tattooist by trade, Ben had an idea of where he’d like the creative direction of the Reference87 subscription platform to go. After speaking to various other agencies, he reached out to Moustache Republic when he noticed we were also based in Albany, a 15 minute drive from Ben’s tattoo studio and said “Moustache were the most professional and confident.” From there, it was a collaborative effort by Ben and Moustache to bring to life his artistic vision.



PROJECT and Objectives

With three business models to integrate into the eCommerce site, the success of Reference87 relied heavily on getting the commercial set up right. It was not only important that the customer experience on the subscription model was clear and accessible, but in the challenging culture of punters ‘stealing’ tattoo images that Reference87’s imagery was completely secure.

Reference87 also wanted help from Moustache to translate their distinct branding throughout the website to stand out from the typical tattooist look and feel.

Client Lead

Ben Kaye, Founder


Digital Art & Photography




UX/UI Strategy, Integration Partner, Customisation


When it came to building a custom dual checkout workflow for subscription based vs one off purchases, we knew the flexibility of Bigcommerce’s open SaaS meant it was the only platform for the job.

This type of subscription service and ‘token’ system was the first ever for Bigcommerce. Because of this, we were able to work collaboratively with the Bigcommerce team to accommodate all objectives and really push the limits of technology. Ben describes Reference87 as “a unique site for Bigcommerce”.

The ability to download images directly once purchased, as well as integrate with multi-national payment partners, Stripe and Paypal to allow global transactions (particularly from the UK, AUS and US) was all built to be managed with ease through Bigcommerce.

Ben described the subscription tokens as “intricate and volatile” – with BigCommerce, Rebillia and Stripe talking to each other, Reference87 now has limitless possibilities to continue building, innovating and growing their offering.


“The subscription structure for a tattoo business is brand new so cutting edge and we knew that Moustache Republic are very good at working with the intricacies of Bigcommerce, Stripe and Rebillia” – Ben Kaye
Challenges and Solutions

Custom Dual Checkout Workflow for Subscription-based vs One-off Purchases

Our collaborative efforts with the BigCommerce platform and team, plus our solutions advice and expertise and our ability to interpret the design with solid problem-solving and best-of-breed development skills and techniques meant we were able to build a unique, easy to use commercial model for the Reference87 team.

Security – Avoid Punters Stealing Imagery

In the competitive tattoo world where there is a constant battle with punters stealing reference images, we came up with a solution for Reference87. Unless you’ve purchased a subscription and received tokens to buy your reference material, there are limitations around taking high-quality images from the website. These include: the inability to right click and therefore save, when you click on the image the product is blurred and low res and on mobile you don’t have the ability to zoom.

Uniquely Visual from Typical Tattooist Style

We helped translate Reference87’s distinct branding throughout the website to stand out from the typical tattooist look and feel.

International Payment Flexibility

With many of Reference87’s clients purchasing from the US, UK and AUS, we integrated Stripe for the entire subscription model and Paypal for all purchases other than subscriptions.



Growth month on month, promotions can lift sales by 8%


Conversion rate 2020/2021


Average order value








“Moustache Republic are amazingly reliable”

Ben Kaye, Founder