about the drugs-in-the-shop thing. Again. We’ll see how it goes from here.
It always cracks me up when I have to talk to them about something, because the tattoo industry is known for being really harsh. Like if you fuck up in a tattoo shop, the owner used to take you out back and beat the shit out of you. If you steal from anybody, they take a hammer to your tattoo hand.
Times have changed a bit and that only happens in REALLY old school shops now, but shop owners still tear the artists a new one screaming at them and firing them on the spot or just chucking their stuff out the front door.
I run my shop differently. I don’t want the guys constantly scared of me. I want an atmosphere where we can reasonably talk about something.
But it’s hard for the guys to let go of that panic when I say I want to talk to them. So I usually wait until they come to me for something else, then go “hey, can I talk to you about something quick?”
The panic on their face is still there, but by the time we’re done talking, they’re relaxed and smiling.
I really like that it weeds out the assholes, because they’re not receptive to that kind of thing, and then I fire them. The crew I’ve got now listen, we discuss it quick, I don’t berate them but I let them know it’s not acceptable, and then we move on.
It doesn’t always work, and they come up with new ways to fuck up all the time, but the atmosphere in the shop is such that they feel comfortable coming to me with their problems, which actually stops a lot of the bullshit before it even starts.
I can’t tell you how many times a situation has stopped before escalating because one of the guys comes in and flops on my couch and complains about something that happened between two of them. We talk it out and work on it instead of blowing up or the guys getting in fights.
It also creates hella loyal artists in my shop. There’s a shop down the street that’s run by a hardass old school guy and he only charges $600 a month. My guys give me at least $900 a month (because we do it by percentage instead of a monthly rent) and they still won’t go to his shop because they don’t want to put up with him.
There’s times my way doesn’t work, but for the most part it works out really well.