Establishing a Tattoo Studio Business

Tattooing is the practice of introducing ink into the dermis layer of the skin to create decorative or symbolic body art. The tradition has a long history dating back thousands of years, with the earliest specimen of a tattooed individual being a 5,300-year-old mummy of an alpine traveler found on the slopes of the Ötztal Alps along the Austro-Italian border.

Today, this art form is typically performed by experienced tattoo artists who often have their own tattoo studios. In order to run their own tattoo shop business, these artists are—in many places—required by law to have relevant training and to acquire the necessary license. Naturally, in order to comply with their industry’s strict professional standards, tattoo artists are also compelled to use modern equipment in addition to adhering to all sanitary and health measures.

This is why even if you are just beginning to explore the possibility of becoming a tattoo professional yourself, you need to be able to prepare well in advance. In this article, we’ll fill you in on some of the most important things to consider when establishing your own tattoo studio business.

Make sure to get the necessary training

Before thinking of opening your own tattoo shop, you first have to deal with learning the art of tattooing itself. Unfortunately, being a good painter or sketch artist will not guarantee that you will instantly become good tattoo artist. The human skin is a whole different canvas altogether, and imprinting designs into living skin requires a special kind of aptitude.

Consider entering an apprenticeship program where you can try your hands on the craft before starting your own business. Ethical and proficient mentors are likely let you practice initially on fruit or meat skin before letting you work on simple designs on an actual person.

Attend to all the legal and regulatory aspects of your tattoo business

Once you have gained the needed skills to become a proficient tattoo artist, you also have to make sure that you have the necessary license as well. Not all countries and U.S. states require tattoo artists to carry a license, but many actually do. In many U.S. states, aspiring tattoo artists must be able to satisfy training requirements to get a license, while others are required to register with their local health agency.

Before doing any business, make sure that you meet all the legal and regulatory requirements of your local or state government. Begin by deciding what sort of business entity you will be establishing. For instance, you might want to form a limited liability company or a corporation so you can prevent claims on your personal assets in the event that you are sued. Also make sure to register for taxes, open a business bank account, get a business insurance, and ensure proper accounting.

Make certain that you have all the necessary tattoo equipment and supplies

On top of the cost of apprenticeship and licensure fees, you also have to consider the financial investment necessary to secure the equipment, supplies, and consumables you need. Since you are just starting out, expect to shell out a few thousand dollars for essential items, chief of which are tattoo machines. These tattoo machines are the most important tools for tattoo artists, and thanks to their small, high-quality DC coreless motors, they are typically engineered to be light and ergonomic, allowing for easy handling and use.

Other important materials include ink sets, needles, art and stencil supplies, sterilization equipment, and medical and antiseptic supplies. Since you will be using, disposing, and replacing many of these supplies with every new customer, you will also be required to keep them in stock to be able to continue providing your tattooing services to your customers.

Naturally, you will also need to buy furnishings for your workspace as well so you can accommodate your customers properly. From a rolling artist’s chair and a worktable to benches, chairs, and adjustable lamps, you have to supply your business with heavy-duty and easy-to-clean furniture that are also comfortable for both you and your customers.

Find ways for people to discover your tattoo shop

Locating your business in a place with high foot traffic is one of the best ways to build an initial client base, which can then spread information about your business by word of mouth. However, after a while, you will also need to think of other means to promote your tattoo shop so that you can expand your business and direct a continuing a stream of paying customers into your premises.

One of the most effective ways to do this is by establishing a web presence. Create a website for your business, and employ search engine optimization so that your business will always rank highly in the search results pages of Google and other search engines. Also make sure to create your official Facebook and Instagram pages, which will allow you not only to showcase your work but also to interact with past and potential customers.

Just like with many other types of business, establishing a tattoo parlor business is challenging. However, by preparing appropriately for the challenges and problems that will come your way, it will only be a matter of time before you have a thriving, lucrative business.