Joey and Aldora started dating in 2007. Joey was illustrating children’s books when he met the business savvy Aldora, who was in university for Dietetics. After only a few months together, they took a summer trip to New York state where they randomly walked into a Hot Topic. On the drive home Aldora suggested to Joey "why don't we start printing our own t-shirts with your drawings on them?"
They named their brand Akumu Ink® (pronounced: akoo·moo ink), based on the Japanese translation for 'Nightmare.' Inspired by the things they liked: Japanese horror movies, Deathcore music, Japanese pop music, Animes/Jdramas, and cute chibi style characters, the couple created their own niche that they felt needed to be explored.
Within a few months they designed their first 6 shirts, learned how to screen-print, coded a very basic website. After a few days of the shop being live, they had their first sale. They printed everything from their 2-bedroom apartment in Montreal, Quebec while attending tattoo/anime conventions across Canada.
(Left image: First Tattoo Convention in Toronto, Canada 2008)
After 7 years of struggling to grow their brand in Canada, the couple made a huge move to Los Angeles, California. During this time they expanded from only selling t-shirts and hoodies, to selling their art on stickers, socks, backpacks, and wallets.
To meet the high market demand, they outsourced their printing, setup their own warehouse, and toured across the country selling directly to customers at over 100+ comic/anime conventions during the 5 years they lived there.
(Right image: New York ComicCon 2018)
The husband and wife duo relocated to the Netherlands.
In 2019, they wrote, illustrated, and self-published their second book: Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland which was met with positive reviews from their customers. They also setup at events in Switzerland, France, and the UK.
Since the pandemic, Joey and Aldora have retired from selling at conventions. They have now settled in a beautiful studio where they have returned back to the basics and print and ship every shirt themselves.
The focus now is on creating the best artworks and merchandise they can make. Whether it's a t-shirt design, hand painted canvas, or even another storybook.
(Left image: The city of Leiden, Netherlands)
Since 2008, Akumu Ink® has created 300+ original designs sold on various apparel and merchandise.
Akumu Ink® products have been available in 100+ select boutiques and shops throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Singapore, and Japan. They even licensed some of their designs to Spencer’s Gifts’ 600+ stores across the USA between 2017-2019. A full list of stores currently carrying Akumu Ink® can be found here.
If your store wants to carry Akumu Ink® merch, contact us here to inquire about wholesale pricing.
(Right image: Boutique Diabolik in Montréal, Québec)
While in California, Akumu Ink® proudly became a socially aware brand. With the help of their supportive customers they raised and donated $5,000 for Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief, Suicide Prevention, California Firefighters, etc. and even sewing their misprinted shirts into pillows (left image) and donating them to the homeless: Read more here.
In the Netherlands, they continue to be socially aware by incorporating recycled plastic products to replace synthetic backpack materials.
They also offer a collection of t-shirt designs that directly fund specific charity organizations from helping Ukraine refugees, supporting LGBTQ youth, fighting racial injustice, and rescuing animals in Australia caught in the wildfires. Click here to view and support these causes.