Tattoo Shop Etiquette: How to Be the Perfect Client!

Cool weather, less sun exposure, and less water play amongst other things means the perfect time to be tattooed. As we inch closer to the busier seasons of the industry, it’s time to brush up on shop etiquette!

Our last post about apprenticeships really hit home, and we thank all those who followed our steps to appropriateness. Those who stopped by without reading it, should 100% check it out. We want you to bond with your shop and have a great memorable experience, so we’ve compiled a list of things to do (and not do) when looking to get a tattoo!

DO know what you want! Although you don’t need a specific image or a complete piece already created, we do need you to have a basic idea of what you want or what you like. Telling us you don’t know what you want or what style you like makes it hard for us to create your dream piece. Our ultimate goal is to give you something you’ll love as long as you have it, which is usually forever. We appreciate the artistic freedom but we don’t want to have such a broad range of options that we’re unsure what you’re trying to do. Make your own decisions for your own skin, and please don’t confuse us too much!

DO save up your money. You get what you pay for, and your body is worthy of good art, not 100 dollars worth of scribbles. Your artist takes time to draw your piece, not just tattoo it. They spend more time making you happy than you even realize, while also risking their own health. Back pains, headaches, and carpal tunnel doesn’t compare to how hard they rack their brains to understand and design what you want exactly. You pay for the time, skill, and effort of the artist, and quite frankly anyone who can promise something cheap and quick in their living room isn’t going to be producing the Mona Lisa of tattoos on your thigh. Also keep in mind, in any service industry tips are appreciated!

DO mind your hygiene. If you’re getting tattooed please keep in mind another person will be extremely close to you, and really in your bubble. Maybe consider wearing socks with those shoes or putting deodorant on. You don’t want to distract your artist, and possibly cause problems with your new art. It’s an open wound so you’ll want to be sure there’s no risk of it becoming infected. Clean, undamaged skin is the best canvas. Take note of aftercare procedures as well, ultimately the end result is on you.

DO be in your best condition. Eat before your appointment and stay hydrated. You may not realize it because you’re hopefully sitting still, but your body is using more energy than you can imagine. You’re being injured, and that means your body is working overtime to fix it. Also, full people are happy people..we don’t want cranky clients! (But please know that we are willing to take a break whenever you need it!). Wear proper attire as well. If you know you’re getting tattooed on your leg please don’t wear the skinny jeans you can’t pull past your ankles. Think comfortable and convenient for your artist!

DON’T keep your artist waiting! Don’t be late. An appointment is an appointment. If you really have to be late give us a call so we don’t get upset and think you’re not showing up. You could risk losing your deposit and spot if you don’t.

DON’T be under the influence of anything. For starters, no one wants to tattoo a loud obnoxious drunk or a giggling stoner. Secondly, you most likely can’t keep still, which is your only job. And thirdly, it’ll really affect the outcome of your tattoo. Being under the influence could make you a crazy bleeder or change the way your skin takes the ink. Most likely you will lose your appointment all together..and we will keep your deposit.

DON’T bring your kids or an entourage (if they can’t behave). Self explanatory: our receptionists aren’t baby sitters and we really don’t want to feel responsible for them. We do encourage a support system though, just be mindful of the artist and his concentration!

DON’T be offended if your artist gets quiet at times. It’s not that he doesn’t like you, he just really wants to focus on your piece. Let him be in his head for a while, it just means a better piece for you!

All in all, remember your artist is a person and not a machine, they work hard to make a perfect product just for you. Be patient and polite. You as well as your artist want smooth satisfying appointments! Use basic common sense like any other social setting and you should be a pleasure to tattoo!

Sara Giarratano