One thing no one ever tells upcoming artists looking to open their own tattoo shop is just how difficult it is to break into the business. It is certainly important to either possess the talent it takes to tattoo another human being or be able to hire those tattoo artists. However, that’s not all it takes to make a successful, professional tattoo shop.
Annually, Americans spend over $1.5 billion dollars on tattoos. That is a lot of money to harness. Here are a few tips and tricks for a professional tattoo artist to make a splash in the expanding tattoo shop industry.
7 Secrets to Having a Successful and Professional Tattoo Shop:
1) Location, Location, Location
The location of any business is an essential factor in the business’ success. Tattoo shops are no different. Putting your tattoo shop in a poor location is a surefire way to shoot yourself in the foot before you start.
Putting your tattoo shop in a retail center, like a commons or a mall, is a popular choice. And it can absolutely be a good one. But it isn’t the only one.
A flea market is a great, unique place to consider putting your tattoo shop. It gets great foot traffic from people who are usually there to spend money. Renting a space through a flea-market also saves the money of a brick and mortar store. It is a little more difficult to keep the area as clean as is required, but it can be worth the effort.
Don’t underestimate the convenience of setting up a tattoo shop in your own home. This is a great idea for people who want to build up their portfolio and establish a clientele base.
Once that base is established, a great place to set up tattoo shop would also be near a college campus. Just about half of Americans between 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo.
Setting up a tattoo shop near a public transportation route is also a great way to ensure that people without vehicles can get to your location.
2) Up Your Social Media Presence as a Professional Tattoo Shop
Social media has become an invaluable tool for all kinds of businesses and trades. It’s cheap and easy, and it’s a quick way to get your name out there.
There are specialized places to post your portfolio, and those are wonderful tools to use. But don’t underestimate the power of social media.
When you post to your social media accounts, you are taking your tattoo shop business into your own hands. You can start doing this by posting interesting and engaging content on your profiles. Invite people to ‘like’ and ‘share’ your posts, your work, and your good reviews around.
Also, sharing relevant articles and supporting other parts of the tattoo industry is a great way to get the word out, increase your viewership, and you might even make a few new customers along the way.
In order to make social media work for you, you need to understand hashtags and how they hold the power to get your posts out into the world and in the hands of the right people.
One of the best parts of social media as a platform for growing your tattoo shop is that it’s free. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also spend a little extra money to gain a few extra perks. Facebook offers a ‘boost’ option to get your posts out there to an audience more tailored to your shop’s needs.
3) Don’t Skimp on Your Tools
There are plenty of places you can cut back on expenses when trying to grow your professional tattoo shop, but your tools aren’t one of them.
It’s true that tools don’t make the artist. However, state of the art tools allows you to stay up to date on new techniques and provide the best work you can for your customers. High-quality tools are the safest and cleanest investment you can make for your business.
4) Creating a Good Atmosphere
Once you have managed to get your client into your tattoo shop, make them want to stay there. It’s important to put yourself in your place of business, especially if you want an authentic experience, but remember that the client is who you are trying to sell.
Paint your walls a calming color, like dark gray-blue. Decorate the walls with your personal portfolio so potential clients can browse and make sure that your tattoo shop is the one for them.
Consider leaving up to date tattoo magazines around for those who have to wait. Sometimes a simple picture can help inspire successful tattoos.
Play music that is going to keep you inspired without annoying your clientele. And try to keep the temperature at a comfortable place. You want to keep these people in your chair, after all.
5) Learn How to Say No
Now you’ve got a great location, people in your tattoo shop, and clients who want to stay there.
But sometimes, someone’s tattoo choice will be out of your skill set. Or maybe you just know, as an expert, that this particular tattoo won’t heal well in the placement. Maybe it will fade. Or maybe you just don’t feel comfortable.
Reputable tattoo artists won’t tattoo kids, even with parental permission, if they have the feeling that the tattoo will change their life.
It’s also not uncommon for tattoo artists to turn away young people, or people without a steady job, who are looking for a face, neck, or hand tattoo. Sure, you might be turning down instant money, but that money isn’t worth your name in the end. And when a tattoo goes wrong, you will be the one people point their fingers at.
6) Never Stop Learning
It is so important to make sure that you as a tattoo shop owner are staying up to date on everything important in the industry. In order to keep drawing in a new, fresh clientele, you need to be up to date on techniques, equipment, and trends that are constantly changing.
There are hundreds of festivals related to tattooing that happen across the United States each year. This is a unique opportunity to come face to face with other artists just like yourself, some who may have insights you haven’t considered yet.
These conventions are a great opportunity to learn about new equipment and visit some vendors face to face. You can learn about new brands and benefit from the free samples that many upstart tattoo shops are more than happy to hand out.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with a local tattoo convention, those are absolutely your best bet to putting your brand out there and learning as much as you can. However, national conventions, like The Biggest Tattoo Show on Earth can offer unique opportunities to learn and network.
7) Strong Business Ethics
From the beginning of your career as a professional tattoo artist, you know you need to have a mind for business to make this work.
From the beginning, your apprenticeship isn’t paid. Often you have to keep working in order to support yourself during your learning. But beyond that, when you’ve established yourself as a professional tattoo artist and you want to start your own tattoo shop, you need to treat it like a business.
Hiring your friends and family might seem fun, but unless you’re able to be a boss for them, your tattoo shop won’t succeed. So much more than just tattooing goes into running a tattoo shop. You have to keep up with payroll and booking and licensing and a nearly endless list of things you must keep organized.
Professional Tattoo Shop Overview
There is so much you need to do in order to be a professional tattoo artist. From managing appointments to getting yourself to conventions so you can stay up to date on today’s tattoo knowledge, your plate is going to be full.
Luckily, there are programs out there to help manage the more technical aspects of your tattoo shop. You can do this!
Contact us at InkBook Tattoo Software for information on managing your bookings, credit card sales, and more!