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Tucson temporary tattoo plant inks pink slips for 1/3 of workers

TM International, a Tucson company that has billed itself as the "world's largest manufacturer of temporary tattoos," is laying off 43 employees — about 33 percent of its local workforce.

The company filed a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act notice in January, informing workers of the layoffs, because anticipated growth didn't pan out, said CEO Tony Bazan.

"Our restructure, we feel, is a strategic and necessary action to ensure long-term profitability and growth. All areas of the company are being affected by the layoff as we hired for growth over the past three years that we did not fully realize," Bazan said in an email to TucsonSentinel.com.

"Therefore, we are adjusting our headcount and expense levels to be more in line with our current and short-term sales goals," he wrote.

Bazan, who is at least the third CEO the company has had in the past decade, said TM International had 130 employees prior to the layoffs. The federal WARN Act mandates that companies planning mass layoffs to give workers at least 60 days' notice.

"TM International is a long-standing small manufacturing company of Tucson. We intend to be a Tucson-based company for many years to come," he said.

The company, which does business as TemporaryTattoos.com, as well as SAVVI and Vending Supply, has also operated under the names Tattoo Manufacturing International and TMI Acquisitions. It was founded in 1989.

A decade ago, the firm reported that it had about 80 employees, and was manufacturing temporary tattoos for Walmart, Sally Beauty Supply, Mattel and others. The company also produced printed promotional products such as coasters and scratch-and-win cards.

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The company's website says it produces 7 million temporary tattoos daily at its Tucson plant, in an industrial area off Aviation Parkway near South Alvernon Way and South Palo Verde Road.

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