Passion drives the tattoo industry. Customers demonstrate that passion when they get a tattoo, and tattoo artists show their artistic passion through their work. InkBook customers are small business owners who make that passion their life’s work. As part of our commitment to supporting and educating entrepreneurs, we love to showcase our customers and their growing businesses. Danielle “Dani” Felczak, an InkBook customer, embodies this passion.
Dani is the owner of Authentic Art Tattoo Studio and shows above-and-beyond commitment to her employees and her business. Read on to learn how Dani has created one of the more unique work environments in the tattoo community.
What makes your tattoo studio unique?
When I took over Authentic Art Tattoo Studio in 2016 (it opened in 2011), I was already a well-seasoned tattooer in the industry. I knew I wanted to create a studio that was different—but what would that look like? I wanted to offer artists the opportunity to not just be tattooers but to also build a life and a career. In any other profession, a job means providing for your family and ideally having medical benefits and 401(k)s. Those are things I always wished I had.
I started researching the cost of having my artists on payroll, offering benefits, etc. and realized it wasn’t as expensive as I expected. In life, everyone gets hurt or sick and faces mental hurdles. You need the safety and security of knowing you can take care of yourself—not having to hustle and grind yourself into the ground. Now, for three years, we have been able to offer a unique working experience that is not common in the tattoo industry. I hope it becomes the new normal: owners running tattoo studios and businesses, respecting and honoring the people who work for them.
What is your favorite part about running a tattoo business?
I love working with artists. Every individual brings their own creative vision and input to the space – and to the functionality of the business! They give me good feedback on what I can do to make things run more smoothly. I also love working with clients. It’s always exciting to deal with fresh faces and continually create a space where they feel comfortable.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a small business owner?
I imagine I experience the same challenges as any business owner: balancing work life and home life, keeping everyone happy, carrying a heavy load and having anxiety around where I still need to improve.
What advice would you give other professionals who want to pursue careers in the tattoo business?
It’s every young artist’s dream to own their own studio. My advice is to not dive in head-first too soon or too quick. It’s hard, so take your time and do it right. Running a business can work one thousand different ways—so ask yourself why you want to be an owner and what you plan to do differently.
How will you make artists want to work with you? How will you question yourself to become better? Asking myself these questions, and making sure I didn’t do the same old thing, is how I found my success point. Push the industry forward in a positive direction.
Why did you start using business management software?
We implemented InkBook in October 2018. Our previous system only offered basic scheduling and a digital calendar for inputting appointments, and we wanted software that streamlined and integrated our processes and had a POS system that could access appointments, sales, deposits and client information all in one. As an owner, I want to run my business as efficiently as possible. Software frees up your time, which means fewer hours at work and more time with family.
InkBook, specifically, saves me and my studio manager an abundance of time tracking tips for artists, inputting pay logs and manually entering sales into the Quickbooks program. It’s a lifesaver—for me and my accountant.
Which InkBook features are the most helpful to you and/or your employees?
InkBook has absolutely helped relieve my employees of having to balance their own schedules. It also allows us to keep notes on each client, what they’re getting (with attached images for reference), how much money they have on file and how much they’ve spent with an artist—all in one place. It’s one less headache for artists, helping to increase productivity so they can create amazing artwork for their clients and not stress about the business end.
Being so organized and having this information at our fingertips gives the artists—and the business—a level of professionalism. It gives clients peace of mind that we know what we’re doing and that we’re taking care of them. Our studio manager doesn’t have to shuffle through Google calendars, physical papers or dense databases of clients, and won’t be at risk of exposing any notes taken by artists or any personal client information.
Our clients also love scheduling appointments with us, getting the text confirmation on their phone and knowing they will receive a reminder a few days before their appointment. Little touches like that make your customer experience shine and prove your studio is the real deal.