There are few businesses that people would describe as essential, you could make arguments for hairdressers or plumbers or even masseuses, all businesses that people hold with great value, but would you ever consider tattoo artists as essential? Some say yes, mostly the tattoo artists themselves and those people that like to think of their bodies as canvas for the art that is displayed on them. Since the 2000s there are many tattoo parlours that have risen up from the dirt and so those that were part of a parlour’s staff might figure that they could make it on their own, start up their own studio/parlour. In the age self-expression and a need to stand out on the social medias, tattoo businesses could definitely be described as essential.
So if you’re an inker, a tattoo artist, a perma-penner and you wanted to start your own tattoo business, let’s consider where to start, what you’ll need and whether you even should.
Let’s consider the 3 main things that you need to have in order to even start being successful. Let's think about starting your own tattoo business.
1 - You need to be a good artist or know some really good artists
It goes without saying that tattoos are forms of art, art is important and needs to be taken seriously. Art that is going to be permentally scratched into your flesh really needs to be taken seriously and for that you need artists, people who can draw, people that can make art and implement that art onto someone’s wriggly skin. You don’t want someone that can’t even correctly draw stick figures being asked to work on an intricately designed family mural would you? So if you can’t draw hire others that can, people that know what the hell they’re doing. That’s a good place to start.
2 - You need the right gear to do the job well
This is another obvious one, but it bares mentioning, GET THE RIGHT GEAR FOR THE JOB!!!!! most things now can be bought from the internet at ridiculously low prices, and whilst that’s great for consumers, it’s not so great for businesses, as those that try to cut below their budget tend to make the mistakes of buying cheaply and down the line this creates a lot (and I mean a lot) of problems. Current guesstimates place starting up a tattoo business at a $25,000 dollars minimum, that’s a lot of money of expenses and this is just the start.
Then there’s the gear itself, you’re going to need clean and dependable tattoo machines, probably a lot of them, at least 3, and they costs around $400 - $1000 EACH, yes EACH. Not only that but you’ll require all of the specialised ink and needles that need to be sterilised before they’re used and as well as the extra decorum required to keep all of the customers seated and entertained. As you can see, well before you have even started your first poorly drawn sketch of a banjo wielding kermit the frog, you’re going to need to spend a ridiculous amount of cash to get everything set up. On top of that comes the 3rd obstacle/requirement…
3 - Be licensed, obviously
No avoiding this one I’m afraid, you’re going to need to be licensed. It isn’t just for you though, you and all of your employees need to have their own licenses as well. In order to be allowed to give out tattoos as well being allowed to apply body piercings and electrolysis, you will need to do a lot of work experience, many industry professionals suggest doing apprenticeships for several years before working at another studio before even thinking about opening your own studio. For Americans each state has its own rules for applying for this licence, so good luck there in whatever state you’re in as it can be harder to get than your peers in the next state over. So do your research. If you don’t, you can be fined up to $1000 per employee that perform these tasks without a license, yayy more unneeded expenses.
At the start of this article, I posed the question in the title as to whether it was worth starting a Tattoo business and if so how? As well as if you even should. Although I have described 3 requirements and complications with getting a tattoo business started, it’s ultimately up to you as to if you take the advice and the reasons for and against starting one. As an aside, you’d also need to find the right location for your parlour, research the right demographic to market to, and also ensure that you meet all the right health and safety standards. If this sounds totally doable to you, go right ahead and get started, I won’t stop you.
Contact: Kevin He
Add: NO.7 Leshou North Jiahe Street ,Baiyun District GuangZhou City China