Saturday, September 7, 2013

owning a business- a tattoo parlor.

The witch tattoos the wizard

I have been wanting to write about owning the tattoo shop for awhile now but that pretty much goes for all the other blogs for that matter too...I find myself talking to people about what it is like to own a business- my own business and some of the time others point out how cool it must be to own your own thing! But then I always counter with, I may get to do my own thing, but if I take time off, I don't get paid and I pay out of pocket for my own medical and dental, etc. And that is just a quickie of some things that are not the cool parts about owning my own business. Let's start from the beginning!
First, just to put it out there tattooing and owning a business is really f-ing hard. It takes so much time, effort, energy, will power, discipline, skill, money (a lot), determination, and strength and guts while I'm at it.
When I was pondering building my own shop it was because the final 3rd shop that went out of business that I worked at went under and I was so tired of it, I said F it! I am going to take matters in my own hands- besides that I have always wanted my own shop. That is when I decided to open Valkyrie. I choose Penngrove because I believed that Penngrove was the last town that could hold a tattoo shop around here, all the other towns are saturated with tattoo shops and tattooers. But I also love this little town and it's laid back feel here. So that was a no brainer but here comes the hard part- setting up all the accounts with companies that you have to use for maintaining a business. It ends up being like 20 companies maybe even more. Bank accounts, merchant services, utilities, tattoo supplies, shop equipment and then the health department stuff. They require a lot of money and follow thru- things they want you to do to be legal. It's annoying but complying is easy. You just do it.
Since I was 9 years old I have wanted to be an artist when I grew up.
Having an arty brain is one thing but then you must have a savy business owner side to bring it together. Which is actually pretty hard. Especially in the field of tattooing. Tattooing alone is a full job in itself. I guess I hear often how so and so wants to tattoo or own a shop and I wonder if they know the reality of it. It is a really hard business to make it in. It takes a certain kind of personality and mentality. I have found that since I have owned the shop my leadership skills have gotten better and the will and desire to lead, stronger. I believe in my crew and want them to succeed. I believe all of our work contributes to the shop as a whole and it is extremely important for all of us to be on the same page otherwise the shop does not move forward. I often refer to the shop as a ship. We all have an oar and we are all headed to the same destination. Which is hopefully progression in our art as individuals and elevating the shop. That is what propels the ship of a shop forward.
I do believe this is one of my first self portraits.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Germs; they are everywhere!

As I was taking a shower this morning, I had a thought about my exposure to other peoples blood at the shop- how fitting right, as I clean myself? At the shop we do deal with blood. Some people bleed more than others, some seem to not bleed at all. As  a tattooer I do not think anything of this blood from people that I don't know or do know very well. Their blood does not gross me out at all. I don't think anything of it really. But I do know how to take the proper steps to keep everything from getting contaminated here and there, keeping myself and my clients clean.

Blood borne pathogens are everywhere in the world. I think most people are really afraid of germs and are germ-o-phobes which I think is not so good. We need to be exposed to some germs. The common cold and flu exposure  can help build up the immunity so our systems can handle them and not get sick. People are always using hand sanitizer obsessively. I think it is best to have a good balance with exposure to germs and know when to really scrub up. I think it is actually really hard to get blood and viral diseases like Hepatitis B and HIV. We need to be educated on how people contract these virus'! Hepatitis B is through blood and sex- and use of IV needles during drug use. I think people are susceptible for Hep B more so during their teenage years or 20's and 30's when people party more. As parents, we need to educate our children about contracting these potentially life changing infections. Getting the Hep B vaccine does NOT guarantee that you will NOT get Hep B! You can not rely on a immunization to work. I can not stress this enough. The best way is to be educated and careful!

So let me give you some quick pointers:
~If you have a open wound or cut that is bleeding and not closed or dried up yet, this would be a point of entry for contacting something.
~Your eyes, mouth and open sores are a site for "catching things".
~Hep B may live on a surface for up to 2 weeks if the environment is just right. HIV has a lot harder time living outside the body. HIV is harder to contract via surfaces. Staph is also on many surfaces- like at the gym, so do not expose any open sores or wounds to public spaces.
~Tattoos stay open for a couple days so keep it covered and do not expose until its on the dry side.
~When going to the grocery store, don't worry about wiping down the handles, just make sure not to rub your eyes repeatedly and scratch any bloody openings on your body. Or suck your fingers for an hour straight while shopping. Once you get home just wash your hands. This is the example for what I mean when I say people are germ-o-phobes- It is really hard to actually "catch" things. You need the exposure to buld up the immunities...

~Don't be so afraid of catching something. If you are educated and careful you have essentially nothing to worry about.
~Wash your hands after you pee pee or poo poo for the sake of others.
~Actual soap and water are better for cleaning your hands than the hand sanitizer gel.
~When you cough cover your mouth!
~If you have a cold or sickness, stay inside and heal yourself so you don't get others sick.

If you have any questions about this stuff, send me and email.