awesome news!!

Last week I was freaking out because one of my biggest suppliers went out of business suddenly and I was stuck with figuring out what to do and QUICK because he already owed me a huge order and I was running out of the stuff, namely cartridges (the new thing tattoo artists use instead of separate needles and tubes), cleaning supplies, needles, and tubes.

I went to another one of my suppliers and bought their entire line of cartridges, which is a good thing because I’ve had a lot of artists request their cartridges, but I never took the plunge because it’s a pain in the ass and expensive, blah blah.

Okay so that fulfilled my need for high quality cartridges, but didn’t help me out with the rest of the stuff I used to get from this guy.

So yesterday I messaged my biggest competitor here in the state, asking him if he’d consider giving me a distributorship. He messaged me back almost immediately and said yes. I was blown away because I thought he wouldn’t want to work with me. I’m his competition. And also tattoo artists are very particular about who they let distribute their stuff.

Anyway I ordered the full line of his privately labeled cartridges (which a lot of people were requesting anyway) and told him I wanted to pick them up myself today to save on shipping costs. He said no problem, so I headed out there this afternoon with my mom (she’s always been curious about the place).

We get in there and the guy is super nice, obviously not a tattoo artist, but rather a guy with a business-like mind, like my family, and he was thrilled to have me as a distributor because he’s been hearing about us for years and wondered why I didn’t ask before now.

He said most of his business is done outside my state, and he doesn’t have anybody distributing his stuff inside the state except for his own shop out in the middle of nowhere in this business complex and nobody wants to drive all the way out there. He has way less walk-ins per day than I do.

So not only did he give me a really good deal on all the stuff I need to get started with him, he also gave me a ton of stickers, an official distributor banner I can hang in my shop, hats, and offered to make me stickers and hats and shirts and a banner for my own shop for MUCH cheaper than I’ve been finding around the city.

He also said to check out the rest of the stuff he sells because he’s sure that he can get me at least a few things cheaper than I’ve been getting them and there won’t be any shipping costs. He set up my account online so that I could order there with special prices.

So when I got home, I started checking out all the prices on products and HOLY SHIT this is totally awesome!! Not only does he have things I’ve been trying to get distributorships for (in the tattoo industry it’s super hard to get an in with people – just the Eternal Ink distributorship took two years of pestering the owner to get), but it’s even cheaper than I’d normally be able to get it because I can’t buy in near the volume he does because I’m not big enough outside the state yet. He sells all over the world in large volume, so he gets HUGE discounts.

Besides all that other stuff, he also wants to do cross-promotion! Which is totally awesome because he’s been in this industry for 13 years, has lots of connections, and cross-promotion will be huge for me! I’m so excited!!

Only downside to all this is I had to put out a shit-ton of money on two full lines of cartridges. Ouch!

what would you say makes a tattoo fade well? I see pictures of tattoos years later and the colors become less vibrant, the lines become less sharp, and the magenta seems to leave the skin altogether. What would you say are the most important things to keep in mind for it to still look good decades out?

I apologize for the long wait. I was super busy when you sent this ask, I put it in my drafts, and then forgot to reply.

Most of the responsibility for tattoo fade falls on the artist and the canvas (the person getting the tattoo). Bad equipment accounts for some of it too, but a good artist shouldn’t have bad equipment 🙂

If the artist uses bad ink, doesn’t know how to put it ink in right, or doesn’t line things well or shade/blend well, the tattoo will fade. Artists who don’t know how to put ink into different skin types and tones are to blame for a lot of fading too.

If the canvas doesn’t take good care of the tattoo, it will definitely fade. Keeping a tattoo, no matter how old it is, out of the sun is the best way to keep it vibrant. If you can’t avoid the sun, put sunscreen on the tattoo – at least SPF30. There are even products out there with sunscreen in them specifically made for tattoos, like several products from Inkeeze and H2Ocean.

The healing process is very important as well, which is why I’ve started using Saniderm exclusively when I get tattoos, and we include it in the price of a tattoo at my shop because we insist our customers use it. That way we don’t have to depend on the customer to take care of the tattoo because most people don’t care for tattoos the way they should.

Exposing your skin to harsh chemicals will also hurt the tattoo. Latex glove use after you’ve gotten hand tattoos will do a lot of damage to them, as will excessive washing, washing with antibacterial soap or harsh cleaners, and letting your skin get too dry.

Something else a canvas needs to do is listen to the artist. I can’t tell you how many times my artists and I have tried to talk people into slightly thicker lines, and we try very hard to talk people out of tattoos with NO linework.

The linework is very important. If the linework isn’t there or is too thin, your tattoo WILL fade, and once it fades, it’s much more difficult to get it touched up without good linework in place.

“Watercolor” tattoos are notorious for this, and people insist on them, then come back and try to blame the artist when the tattoos fade.

Because tattoos are under several layers of skin, your tattoo will fade and spread a bit. It’s just what happens. But if you’ve got a good artist and you take care of your tattoo, it’ll hold up much better. I’ve got tattoos on my chest that were done 17 years ago with bad ink, but they’re still very vibrant because the artist knew what he was doing and I’m never out in the sun.

In the last 10-15 years, tattoo ink has really improved. Even bad tattoos being done right now will probably stand the test of time just because the ink is THAT good now.

Hopefully your tattoos will stand the test of time too 🙂

great news and bad news

Bad News: Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. My mom broke three bones in her foot last week, and because she’s a stubborn German, she wouldn’t let me take her to the hospital.

Thankfully she didn’t do more damage to it, but when her foot started audibly crunching with every step last night, she finally realized I was right, so she’s been to the doctor this morning, has a walking boot on, and might need surgery, but we’ll see. Orthopedist appointment pending.

Until then I have to wait on her more than usual, which will suck, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s also not a really bad break and the doc is surprised the bones are all aligned right, so YAY!

Great News: I finally got a distributorship with TrueTubes, a company I’ve been trying to get one through for about 2 years!! It’s official and everything! I can now get distributor prices (less than half of what I was paying the last two years), free shipping, tax-free (previously I was paying taxes when I bought them AND when my customers bought them from me), and they list me on their website!

TrueTubes make lots of different stuff, but the main thing my customers buy are the foam grips that go around tubes (the tubes are the things they hold while tattooing you, and a bigger/softer grip means more comfort and longer tattooing time without hand pain plus more control over the machine with a non-slip grip).

I was paying over $40 a box (and selling them at cost), including shipping and taxes, and now I’m paying a straight $20 per box, which means I can lower my price significantly and more people will buy them through me!

The people behind TrueTubes are also behind Hell City (the biggest tattoo convention/expo event), which is totally awesome because this means I have an in for Hell City when it comes around again. Hell City is hard to get into even when you have the money for booth rent. With the in, they’ll notify me immediately when booths are up for rent, so I don’t miss out 🙂

I also get the “street cred” in the tattoo world for having landed a distributorship through them 😀