Tattoo quotes and quoting online

Most Tattoo artists really struggle to quote tattoos online, and (Hopefully) I’ll make a coherent explanation as to why that is.

It’s a common misconception that studios Won’t quote online, just so they can lure you into their lair and force tattoos on you! It’s just not the case, (although I probably shouldn’t speak for all shops there, I won’t be held accountable!) there is no obligation, after we have consulted usually we need to get back to work, you then deal with the receptionists if you decide to book

So, important to know! quotes..they don’t mean anything! Honestly, LESS.THAN.NOTHING.
A Quote can be 20 quid apart, but you have no idea what that artist is thinking about, a simple tattoo can have HUGE differences in quality and detail.
(I really will do a video of this at one point to support with pretty pictures)
Also, fixed rates, hourly rates.. you don’t know how long an artist will take, and I’ve seen tattooers that take twice as long yet add half as much detail. In case I should summarise the message so far: TIME and PRICE mean NOTHING. You really MUST speak to the artist to know what they have in mind for your design (sorry for all the CAPS there, get a litte excited)

People come in with all sorts of designs from search engines,but by chatting in person We can isolate what they really want from the design, we can make it more personal. And show them things they didn’t know were possible.
Especially where skin tones, skin conditions, medication. coverups, moles and scars are concerned. We can work with them of course, but we may want to adapt the design. Which will eat into your time on the day of your booked appointment.
This can take 5 minutes In person, or it can take days of back and forward by messenger. This is so difficult if you are a busy artist, which hopefully your chosen artist will be, because they’re good. If we are in this kind of conversation with three or four potential clients, it’s exhausting! we would have to re-read the whole conversation every time, and when? In the lunch break we rarely get, when we get home instead of seeing the family, during dinner? It’s really hard to balance.

So with all our excellent ideas that we haven’t had time to explain to you and ask you about we may throw out a guess and quote you 200 over Facebook… then another shop quotes you 150! You may not be getting ALL you could for the design. And all for less that the price of a pair of trainers 👟 and a few moments of your previous time.

Also worth noting. More expensive does NOT always mean better either! (Some tattooists have crack to buy) But how will anyone know unless they go in and meet the artists?

In the industry we have two classics for example, the ‘cabbage rose’ and the ‘lady-bits rose’ (last name modified to remain family friendly) this will only be seen once pointed out, rather that gets modified BEFORE you get it booked!

Plus, come into the studio and meet your artist, it’s nice 🤘🏻😁

Cover ups – a customer perspective

Image

Know the feeling? 19 years old loving life and getting a tattoo that you thought was the nuts, for ten minutes any way! It’s amazing when you grow up how much you change just as you where told.

I can hear my mother’s voice now in my head “You should think about that more, it’s on there for life”

Sadly, 98 percent of the time they are right. Being a father myself now I understand that. Having had lots of old sketchy tattoos that look like I did them myself or by a child is not great for ones confidence especially when training high flying clients and having my arms and legs on show constantly.

I went to a tattoo convention and was amazed by the quality of all the art work and in some way, jealous that I had mere scribble on my arms and I could of had some pukka artwork. I wanted to find out about getting them covered over and saw a few artists but they put in more ink into the body but did not seem to cover or do the job correctly.

I was about to give up on the idea of tattoos. Laser removal was not an option I even considered getting black arms! This was when I met Gayle from Steel Point through a local boxing gym.Gayle said she specialised in cover over tattoos. I was very sceptical at first but she obviously knew what she was talking about and by her portfolio I knew I was in luck.

When Ross first came in

I had explained about the hate I had for the work on my arms and how it affected my confidence, don’t get me wrong I am a confident person but having anything negative on your body is a pullback in my eyes and never allows me to feel complete and at peace with myself.

Work in progress

I realised it was going to be a lot of work but decided a few hours of pain for a life time of good ink was a minor sacrifice and to be honest Gayle is such a good tattoo artist the work is very soft considering you’re getting ink injected via needles!
I opted for a Japanese theme on my left arm with two Koi, a dragon and a samurai helmet. I researched exactly what I wanted and Gayle drew it and planned how to place and size it for it to cover all the old work like magic. It is a long process as I am having all the line work and shading put in for the whole arm. Also areas had to be lightened with a white ink for the cover to take better. But each sitting I am elated by the progress and can’t wait for the end product.
Overall I am already made up with the sleeve and can see where it is going and can’t believe I am actually going to have a top quality sleeve over the top of the dodgy tattoos.

I am so happy in fact we have already planned the other cover sleeve and are discussing my full back cover over too.
Having top quality art work is very important to me and I am very happy I have found Steel Point Tattoos and recommend them to anybody.

If you have a tattoo that you are unhappy with and feel it is beyond help, I bet Gayle can fix you up.

Ross Dimmock Advanced Personal Trainer
2nd Degree Muay Thai Instructor

Regards,

Ross Dimmock

After leaving the Armed Forces Ross tried several styles of physical training. Through this process he discovered a passion for Muay Thai boxing. After qualifying as a Personal Trainer Ross gained invaluable experience working at several of London’s premiere gyms, martial arts dojo’s and Britain’s largest outdoor training provider. He has trained everyone from children to office workers and elite athletes.

http://www.balancephysio.com/team-biog/95/ross-dimmock

Piercing 101

Here at Steelpoint we’ve been given a wonderful opportunity for our two receptionists to be taught how to pierce. That includes me! Lots to learn and even though I thought that the most important and terrifying thing would be actually sticking a needle into somebody’s flesh, THAT is the quick and easy part. Everything else, like setting up (in a practical manor, where everything you need is to hand and in the right order of usage), disposing of any contaminated equipment, again, in the correct way – all of that is super important. I am very lucky to have friends who are willing for me to practice on them and here’s a plug: £10 will cover the jewellery and equipment for anybody who wouldn’t mind me practicing on them.

When I told my lovely friends that I was starting to learn one got me forceps and we named them Bruce, and another brought me a picture of an ear much like the one below. Thank you guys.

My first piercing that I’ve done were earlobes, ear cartilage, a surface piercing on one of my teachers here, just on the arm, through and through so he could observe. Tonight I pierced Trevor’s eyebrow (thank you Trev!) and he pierced my ear. It’s really good to learn WITH somebody because we can really help each other, whether it’s remembering something the other forgot (and there are a lot of little tips and tricks) or marking where the piercing should go over and over again until the dot is perfect and not smudged! Letting each other take time to concentrate and think about joining up the dots and where you want the needle to come out.

I’ve also had Mark, who is our resident piercer, show me how to set up and how he does it. It is a rush at first – a sense of achievement – doing something new I guess.

It just so happens that I have a very expressive face, I’ve been told that before, most recently by my drum teacher. So you can enjoy shots like this:

Behold my learning face.

In all honesty it was fine and Donna’s ear is healing well. She didn’t scream or anything. I have no idea why I pulled that face, thanks Gayle, for the capture.

Mostly I have created a full time job for myself sorting through jewellery though. Purchase ordering (or checking purchase orders) and organising tons of titanium by length, width and type/shape basically, is all part of the job. And all so worth it. What a fun job! So watch this space for more of mine and Trevor’s piercing experiences and funny pictures, of course. Was thinking of posting pictures of piercings we’ve done but would you guys say wait for them to heal first or show (sometimes) bloody ones?

All the things!

I had a week off. Never doing that again. Came back to find the supply order of gloves and other important things was being used to prop up the printer…:-)

But the guys have a newly built space to work in and they’re happy about that. Looks great too! And I have an office, kind of. That’s right! We’re expanding! I can finally share the news! With brand new treatment rooms, separate piercing room and new reception area, actually, that’s still kinda being built…we are working on it though! So even though it looks like we are not open from the front, I assure you we are!

And we have a new piercer joining us soon, and he’s going to teach me to pierce! Me! I’m so happy.

HI THIS IS Nadz, i wanted to take a moment to talk about all the awesome things going on here at Steelpoint! First of all yes we are open as usual with new treatment rooms! I know people fear change but it’s only cosmetic; nothing has changed with the artists or how we do things.

Secondly we are attending the Croydon Tattoo Art Show! Basically it is a collective of local artists putting our fine works on sale, it is to raise funds for the Sir Philip Greame Youth Club. It’s free entry so no excuses, there will be live music and an opening night bar! Opening night 9th November doors open 6:30pm and it covers the 10th and 11th 10am-4pm so make you way down and tell your friends and family and come and support your local artists.

Also your brave artists at Steelpoint will be taking part in a sponsored skydive for charity so keep them eyes peeled for more information and if you want to see grown men scream and cry whilst hurtling towards the earth then get involved!

And if that isn’t enough Steelpoint is going to be attending the East Coast Tattoo Expo November 17th and 18th Highfields Park, Clacton, Essex! Gayle will be tattooing at the show and there may be some spots available but you must call or email NOW to get in with a chance. It’s a two day expo with live bands bars hogroasts! I mean how nifty does it sound people! Fuck Christmas it’s every year – get yourself down to one or both of these events and show us your support!

It’s all happening!

Tattoo artists, explained. Part 1/1000

Aaah here we are again. Shocked and surprised customer:

“Oh you haven’t got any space today?”

“Can you not draw *insert intricate, gigantic design here* for me now? No I didn’t bring any pictures.”

How I wish people would understand a few things. I answer a lot of phone calls that start with “Do you do walk ins?” Well of course, if we have space! If you turn up with an idea we can fit in and do there and then, of course we will see you! Provided it doesn’t require too much drawing time – that’s home work. I’ve already explained that larger or more complex pieces take planning – I literally this morning had a gentleman who’s never had a tattoo come in and ask for an eagle on THE ENTIRE front of his body…he was wondering how much it would be and how long it would take. He had one foot in the door way as I tried to explain how it’s a process and will take a good few sessions. He wasn’t interested in that – he wanted it done in one session, telling me how he can stand the pain etc. What do you say to that?! Anyway, I’m getting off topic.

I do believe most tattooists now have a deposit system. I notice it turns a few people off when they ring up to book an appointment, as no other business has a policy like that. You can just ring up hair dressers or a health specialist or any other kind of service and make an appointment over the phone no problem. I think most of them do have a 24 hour notice policy and you may go on some kind of black list if you regularly cancel or don’t show up. The nature of a tattoo is that it is not a necessity, and people do get cold feet and simply fail to show! For example, I use to work at a vets and if your animal is sick you make the appointment and you’re there on time!

From a studios point of view and the artists, here’s the deposit system explained:
Whether it’s a bunch of tiny stars or a realistic larger piece you are after, if it requires drawing time especially, we encourage all our clients to come in for a chat beforehand. Then depending on how busy our artists are drawing for upcoming sessions that have already been booked, we can give an estimated time of when we can have something ready for you to view and then, if you are happy with your design we can make an appointment for the first session! And if you are not, we will make whatever changes. Now I wish it was that simple. It’s great when someone comes in for a long chat, then comes back with more pictures and a deposit (I’ve learnt not to hold my breath though). But the other day, for example, a guy came back and entirely changed his idea. Ok it happens, but what really ticked his artist off is that this guy hadn’t even considered all the time he’s put in searching for the images that resonated with what this customer wanted and drawing, creating an awesome piece. The design was awesome, I saw it, one of those the whole shop gets real excited about, you know? So the guy just changed his mind completely. Which of course is OK to do, but now the day was wasted, another design needed to be drawn and there might be no other bookings/walk-ins for that 3 hour slot. There was no thank you, no consideration whatsoever for the work and effort that had been put into his piece.

Can you now see how much work goes into a design and its all for nothing if the person never shows up for their viewing or the appointment itself. I believe this is exactly how the deposit system came about in this business, as this happened way too often. Now before we promise you anything we ask you to pay a deposit, some people choose to pay more than others purely for practical reasons – “I’ll spend it otherwise!” as 100% of it goes towards your tattooing time anyway. It’s just a way to eliminate time wasters. But there’s a flip side, sometimes people work shifts or simply cannot commit to a time in advance, we try to accommodate everybody, keep in touch via email and accept PayPal and, of course, do walk ins when we can.

Naturally, we never force anyone to get anything done, and I completely understand the impulse and the excitement for wanting to do something, but when time is of the essence and they told me it’s now or never for them, appointment is not an option for those type of people, I hate to have to say, erm…we are closing in 20 minutes, have you decided yet, or if someone comes in knowing exactly what they want I have to ask the indecisive person if they are interested in being seen today. It’s so awkward but most of the time everything works out ok. It’s the need to please everybody in me I guess.

Remember, you get what you pay for! I can’t stand haggling! Mostly it’s people who really don’t understand how art and artist work and what it takes to create an awesome tattoo design that haggle. Unfortunately, some believe that they DO understand everything and we must comply with their every demand (including the price!) this is the consumer attitude i was talking about. Did you know that a tattooist reserves the right to refuse any tattoo or person! No one is forcing you to get a tattoo, respect the artists – also don’t expect restaurant service!

Fire or knife?

So I’m watching Sons of Anarchy at the moment…oh yeah, I went there. Compelled to write about what I found out after watching the episode Giving Back where Kyle Hobart gets his massive back tattoo BURNED OFF WITH A BLOW TORCH for goodness sake. Yeah, THAT scene, watch it. I started reading about the culture of biker club tattoos, about how they represent loyalty amongst other things. Also, I looked into how laser removal actually works and thought you might want to know. It’s quite interesting.

In this blog I’ve already mentioned that people get tattoos for all sorts of reasons and in this one I will concentrate on how they can serve as identification (ID) to those around you before you even open your mouth to speak. To some they signify who you are. So, why would you want to be recognised or identified by your tattoos? Well, one of the reasons that springs to mind is a connection to something; a club, a community, a tribe, a gang whatever you want to call it, a social group. Humans have the need to belong somewhere, to something. This commitment, in turn, buys us security of some kind or another and demands loyalty in return. Most people are proud to belong somewhere, be it a country they are from (patriotism), a skills group of some kind (e.g. a sports team) or family. Even though both tattoos and bikes are pretty mainstream nowadays I am referring to the spirit of rebellion and being vocal, or visual if you will, about it.

So in Sons of Anarchy the members of the club (and other characters) pretty much all have tattoos, and there is one of the grim reaper that’s also the logo for the show and the club that a few main characters have on their backs. It’s also the design on the back of all their leather waistcoats. It is absolutely huge, solid black, old school tattoo. It is not there to be a work of art, it is not there for them to show off much, it’s there as a permanent sign of loyalty to the club. So when Kyle Hobart was banned from SAMCRO for abandoning a brother during an arson which lead to that dude’s incarceration of five years (pretty good reason to banish someone from such a fiercely loyal group) he was told to get rid of his tattoo (by covering it up) and he DIDN’T, well…They found out, you’ll have to watch the episode if you want to find out HOW though. Under false pretences they get him to the secluded garage at the clubhouse, then tie him up by his arms and give him a choice “Fire or knife?” What follows is the removal of the tattoo ghetto style, I suppose it’s a punishment in the way of torture as even when he passes out form the pain he is revived by it over and over again as his skin singes and burns.
Here comes the scientific bit. Once healed, the tattoo ink sits under x amount of layers of your skin. As we know skin regenerates over the years just as all the tissue in our bodies does, which is one of the reasons tattoos end up fading and looking “old”. Another reason is that it’s 2012 and tattoo equipment has massively improved since your granddad had a tattoo of a topless woman on his forearm. The design of needles and even formulas of inks have improved to achieve more precise lines that stay. Moving on, if you need a tattoo removed or are forced to chose between being skinned or burning it off, consider this – if NOT ENOUGH HEAT is applied, it can actually make the ink spread even deeper and outside the original lines, making an awful mess and not actually taking any of the pigment out. What needs to happen is short burst of intense heat/light and then the pigment can fragment into smaller particles that are then removed by the body’s immune system. And you don’t burn it till it’s off but do it in bursts to avoid nerve damage as it’s only supposed to pass through just a few layers of the surface of your skin. With proper laser removal treatments we have today, after the initial treatment you gotta give the skin a chance to heal which will take around 6 months for the most part. In those 6 months you will notice the pigment fade more and more, turn all sorts of colours, brown for instance and then further treatment may be required. It is a lengthy process if you don’t wish to require emergency medical treatment for burns!

Trust me

Hey guys, this is my first entry to this blog and there is so much to write about, I can’t believe I’ve left it so long! So let me introduce myself and tell you a little about our wonderful studio Steelpoint.

Actually there are a few exciting things happening here at the moment which I am not even at liberty to discuss yet…but I can’t wait to tell you all.

My name is Anna and you can think of this as a sort of online diary of the day to day experiences in the shop or just things that have been playing on mind I want to share with you. Some of it is funny, some of it is sad, some of it, unbelievable.
Any customer service job is a life experience – the amount of different people you interact with every day, but the tattoo industry isn’t like any other. I don’t know where to start. Firstly, people get tattoos for many different reasons and since you can get pretty much anything under the sun I find I end up educating clients when helping them come to a decision. Now this might mean losing a customer sometimes, or it might mean the difference between making money and making art. When I say the tattoo industry isn’t like any other type of business the main difference I am referring to is the type of service we offer. You do still get an occasional, “this is what I want, this is how I want it, I want it now and I will pay this much and you do it for me, yes?” You might say, well what’s wrong with that? It is important to understand that it’s within the studios best interest, too, that you walk out with the best tattoo; after all, it’s our reputation that has ensured we stay open all these years.

It’s funny how people assume (and we all do it) that what you see in your head is what the person you are speaking to is imagining also. Of course not! We’re not mind readers, and a picture tells a thousand words (I love that phrase) so that’s why visual information is so important when a person comes in the shop and describes what it is that they want in ten words or less. Let me guess, in “normal” sized writing, what IS that? Other people come armed to the teeth with images and that’s great! When you haven’t found exactly what you want and would like the artist to draw your idea a certain way, they are gonna be more likely to draw exactly what you were envisioning and even exceed your expectations that way. Sometimes you may find exactly what you are looking for in a flash book, but it is really important that you communicate with your tattooist and its both of your responsibilities to make sure you’re on the same exact page before you start.

Examples of bird tattoos.

 

Quite often I meet people who seem to have been bullied into getting something done because they were too scared to speak up and now they walk around with a tattoo they are not happy with. Yes cover ups and re-works are possible but it’s always better to get it right the first time.

Another thing I will say, which doesn’t sit right with first timers especially, is that there is an element of trust involved, in any transaction really, but definitely in tattooing. But I see it time and time again, when that person who was maybe apprehensive at first, just go for it and they are so happy with it, they are coming back for another one giving us more artistic freedom quote “because I trust you.”