A few days ago, a friend posted this article, and to say it started a bit of a debate would be a gross understatement. Now, I like Cracked, because I have a terrible sense of humour and a fondness of profanity, but it's generally understood that it's not where one goes for accurate, informative articles on serious topics. Usually, I would just roll my eyes and scroll on past something like this. But, the ensuing debate, and the fact that it's been read over 700,000 times, worries me a little. How many of those 700,000 now believe that getting a tattoo is inviting yourself to be ripped off and given an infection? It's a frightening prospect. So, here I am, in the unbelievable position of feeling compelled to debunk a Cracked article. Drinks shall be had to drown my sorrows later.
4. "There are many types of tattoos they simply won't do"
Okay, this one is true. We've discussed that before in this blog - if we know that the tattoo is going to turn out awful and require hundreds of dollars in touch ups to keep it looking even halfway decent (fingers, for example), we often won't do them, and some artists will refuse to do a tattoo for ethical reasons (that swastika you want on your forehead may take some shopping around). Where the article starts to go wrong here is in saying the odds are pretty good that one artist won't finish another artist's work. While, yes, we always strongly suggest going back to the original artist, and yes, it is seen as disrespectful to touch someone else's work, we also understand there are numerous reasons you may not want to, or cannot, go back to the original shop. We're not going to make you go through life with a half-finished sleeve because your artist moved to Timbuktu.
3. "The prices are made up at random"
Sam says: "If you come in and say you want a $100 tattoo, we'll do it for $100, if it can be done for $100, but if that same person comes in and says they have $250 to spend, that same tattoo is now $250."
No, Sam, no. This is not standard practice, you are just a bit of an ass. Now, it's likely Sam is an American tattoo artist, and I admit, I have little idea how shops operate down there, but no reputable shop in Canada charges you at random, or takes your $250 for a $100 tattoo. We pretty well all have hourly rates that we will inform you of before you ever book your appointment, and will do our best to work within your budget. We also take the deposit off the final price of the tattoo, not add it on. Bad, bad, Sam.
2. "The real money comes from covering up previous, regrettable tattoos"
On the surface, this is somewhat true. Cover-ups often take a lot of time, and can be technically complicated, so they will almost certainly cost more than the original did. But, again, no reputable artist should be marking up the price because you have a tattoo you regret. We charge the same hourly rate for the cover-ups as we do the originals, and to do otherwise is bad business.
1. "Yes, you can get an infection"
Of course, any time skin is being broken, an infection is possible - no one can deny that with any amount of honesty. But this entry is particularly disturbing, as the risk of infection should be extremely minimal, and not justified with horrifying confessions of hiding sharps containers, sharing ink in questionable ways, and not cleaning tubes. Clean, reputable shops are perpetually on top of their health and safety standards - tools are always clean, unused ink is always thrown away, sharps containers are disposed of regularly, and garbage is taken out daily. This should go without saying, but, if you see artists hiding used needles outside so the health inspector doesn't see them - run, don't walk, far, far away from their shop.
With every passing year, the knowledge that piercing guns are a bad idea becomes more commonplace. However, this leaves many parents unsure of what to do – many shops (ours included) won’t pierce anyone under the age of 7, which puts a damper on the longstanding tradition of piercing your baby’s ears. While it may seem a bit of a bummer, there are numerous good reasons for this policy, and they have only your child’s interests in mind.
We’ve discussed before why piercing guns are dangerous; the fact that they cannot be completely sterilized, the lack of hollow needle, the absence of proper training for the piercer, and the inappropriate aftercare all come together to create a potentially disastrous experience. Put simply, an untrained clerk is using a non-sterile piece of equipment to shoot a dull piece of jewelry into your child’s flesh, and then giving you a bottle of harsh chemicals to clean the wound with. Not exactly what you had in mind for your little one, is it? As much as it may go against the common stereotypes, tattoo shops are, by and large, very clean and safe places. We use disposable, sterile needles. We clean and sterilize our tools using medical equipment, such as autoclaves and ultrasonics. We wipe down our stations with products that kill bacteria and viruses on contact, ensuring even the chair you sit on is free of contamination. And, once the piercing is complete, we arm you with aftercare information, and saline solution – the same product hospitals flush wounds with and first-aid attendants never leave home without.
But, why 7? What makes that the magic number, and why won’t we pierce your baby? First and foremost, tattoo shops, as opposed to malls who’ve only profit in mind, value consent and understanding. We want to pierce your child because they want to be pierced, and we want them to be capable of understanding the aftercare themselves. Further, babies and toddlers are less aware of where they are putting their hands – they’ll pull on their new piercing, touch it, get it dirty, and, on occasion, rip it out. The chance of them healing well and staying happy increases exponentially with every year they wait. Lastly, babies and toddlers are often involved in activities that can irritate a piercing – swimming lessons, playing in the sandbox, making snow angels – all of these and more are really bad for a fresh piercing. By 7, your child is old enough to understand that getting their ears pierced may mean sitting out for awhile.
For many little girls and boys, an ear piercing is a huge experience. It’s a milestone –the first of many steps towards autonomy they will take. Make it a safe and enjoyable one.
You may also like to check out related blog posts:
"Why I Took My 7-Year-Old to a Tattoo Shop"
So, this happened. Earlier this month, a tattoo “artist” had his home studio shut down by health officials after they discovered some startlingly dangerous practices – namely, the complete lack of sterilization equipment and sanitation practices. Now, you may be thinking something along the lines of “no shit” – home-based tattoo shops have long had a bad reputation for being unclean and unsafe. But, keep in mind that this also happened. Even so-called professional tattoo shops can fail to uphold even the most basic safety standards. Stories like these undoubtedly leave potential tattoo recipients feeling nervous and scared. And rightly so.
How, then, does one choose a safe, clean shop? Of course, we at I-Kandy want you to come see us for your tattoo and piercing needs. We pride ourselves on our incredibly high standards and use of the most up-to-date, medical grade equipment. But we also know that many of our readers are scattered across the globe, and therefore can’t just come on down to see us whenever they want a new tattoo. So, we would like to help all of you choose wisely by offering up some basic advice.
First and foremost, any reputable shop will have an autoclave and ultrasonic on the premises. These are sanitization and sterilization machines that ensure any piece of equipment that comes near you is clean and safe to use. Any safety-minded shop will be more than willing to show you this equipment (though they may not let you right into the room it’s kept in, as we take several precautions before coming near the equipment).
Another strong sign that a shop is safe is their use of needles – all needles should be disposable, and come out of a sterilized package. This applies to both tattoo artists and piercers. Similarly, their set-up should reflect their use of sterile needles – you will see plastic coverings on machines, a needle disposal box, barriers between surfaces, and skin cleansers.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the use of gloves is also of utmost importance. Many of these dirty shops that get shut down throw up a huge red-flag with their questionable use of gloves. Some of these “artists” don’t wear them at all, while others wear the same pair throughout several different stages of the tattoo. The use, and changing, of rubber or latex gloves is vital in keeping both you, and them, safe. Any artist who feels comfortable getting your blood and tissue on their hands, and then touching their equipment and items around the shop is someone you want to run, not walk, away from.
Finally, look around the shop itself. A studio that prides itself on safe practices will not only take the proper precautions when it comes to equipment, but will advertise this cleanliness by ensuring the entire shop is clean. Check out the floors, the front desk, the bathroom. While these are public places, and therefore may have the occasional footprint on the floor or fingerprint on a glass display, the shop should be free of dirt and debris.
And, of course, read reviews. No shop has 100% good reviews – that’s to be expected of any business, as everything from loyalties to politics can influence how someone feels about a business, and some people just enjoy stirring up trouble. But a reputable shop should have mostly good reviews, including comments about cleanliness, professional attitudes, and informed artists. All of these are good indications that a shop is clean and safe.
Last year, we posted a tattoo FAQ: a list of questions we are commonly asked by people looking to get tattooed. Often, however, we at the front desk find ourselves answering questions that haven’t been asked; that is, repeating the same basic information to various clients over the course of the day. Now, we’re not complaining – it’s our job, and our honour, to provide you with all the information you need to get the best possible tattoo. But it did occur to me that having all of that information in one easily accessible place may be a good idea. Here are the 5 things we tell people most often:
1. The more detail is in it, the bigger it has to be. A lot of people want really intricate, detailed designs, but still want the tattoo to be small. This just doesn’t work. Lines spread a bit over time, and if you try to cram a whole lot of them into a tiny space, in a few years, they will all blur together, leaving you with a messy blob, rather than an impressive piece of art.
2. If you’re unsure whether you want your tattoo to be full colour or black and grey, start with just the basic outline. Once the colour is there, it’s there; likewise, once it’s black, it’s black for good. An outline, however, can be filled in at your convenience.
3. Have a little patience – a lot of people come in wanting a tattoo right now. We understand that eagerness, but if you want a well-done, custom drawn tattoo, it is best to bring us reference pictures, book a consultation, talk in-depth with your artist about it, and allow time for changes to be made as your idea is brought to life. Your tattoo is forever – take the time to make it perfect.
4. Get it where you want it. Clients often say “I really want this on my feet, but I’m scared it’s going to hurt, so where should I get it?” Our answer will always be “on your feet”. Tattoos hurt. We’re not going to lie about that – some people don’t find it painful at all, of course, but many others do. The pain, however, is temporary, while the tattoo is permanent. If you really want it on your feet (or ribcage, or thigh, or…wherever), you’ll likely regret putting it somewhere else. And, who knows, your second choice may hurt just as much as your first, or your first choice may end up not hurting at all. Go with your gut, and get it where you truly want it.
5. Price is almost impossible to determine without seeing exactly what you want. At least once a day, we get a phone call asking “how much would it be for a small tattoo?” This question is similar to “how long is a piece of string?” Without more information, we don’t know. We can tell you our shop minimum ($90), but we cannot tell you for sure that your tattoo will fall into that category. Just because a tattoo is “small”, doesn’t mean it will be cheap. Similarly, just because it’s bigger, doesn’t necessarily mean it will be really expensive. To get an accurate quote, we need to see exactly what you want, and ask your artists how long it will take.
With a new year comes new things, and I-Kandy has plenty of them in store. One of the biggies is a new website, which will be launched in the next week. As we put the final touches on the site, we’d like to hear from you!
What would you like to see included on the website? What blog topics are you hoping to read about in the new year? What are you hoping to see in our soon to be launched online store? Let us know in the comments of this post.
It’s that time of year once again. Eggnog and rum, regrettable boxes of chocolates that never made it under the tree, divorce-causing games of Monopoly, and, of course, the panicked frenzy of last minute shopping. Some people are harder to buy for than others, and when we run across that person on our list, we tend to think about what interests them most, what they’re like, and what we think they might enjoy. If your hard to buy for person happens to have a lot of tattoos or an 8g hoop in their septum, you may be tempted to go in that direction. Here are a few tips.
DO! Buy gift certificates – I-Kandy sells them in any denomination you so desire, so you can pay for anything from a piece of jewelry to the price of a full back piece.
DON’T! Book them an actual tattoo appointment, unless they’ve already had a consultation, and you know the artist’s name and schedule. A lot of people change their minds, or want to discuss things, several times before actually getting tattooed, so forcing them to commit isn’t a great idea.
DO! Get them hoodies, toques, coffee mugs, or anything else that sports the logo of their favourite shop or tattoo/piercing company. We body mod enthusiasts love our gear, and we can never have too much of it!
DON’T! Guess about the size of their jewelry. The ideal is to buy them a gift certificate so that they can pick their own, but some people think that’s a bit of a cold gift, and would prefer giving an actual, physical present. If this is your case, try to bring in a piece of their old jewelry to compare it to, or buy something you’re sure you’ve seen them wear before. Guessing about the size is never a good idea – there isn’t just the gauge to worry about, but also length/diameter, and bead size. Everyone has their own preferences, and you may not know what they are.
DO! Buy them aftercare, such as Tattoo Goo or saline, particularly to go with their gift certificate. The fun part of a new mod is…well…the new mod. You providing them with their aftercare means they get to just sit back and enjoy the experience, knowing everything else has already been taken care of.
We all love (and I do mean LOVE) to receive mod-related gifts at this time of year. Hopefully these tips help everyone give, and get, something that will be truly appreciated.
The holiday season is always a good time to reflect on the past, and look to the year ahead. I-Kandy is no exception; we’re excited about how far we’ve come in the last few years – a new location, new furniture and décor, new additions to our crew, and an ever-growing and truly awesome clientele. We are bigger and better than we’ve ever been, and have even bigger plans for the future!
2014 will see a brand-spankin’-new website for us, with tons of new pictures, a more interactive blog, and something our clients near and far have been waiting patiently for – an online store! You’ll soon be able to buy our newest t-shirts, hoodies, jewelry, and other assorted goodies from the comfort of your living room.
We’re also very excited to announce our involvement in the Amanda Todd Legacy project, promoting awareness of, and an end to, bullying. We will be featuring a series of blog posts about the effects of bullying, facts and stats, myths and misconceptions, and how our passion for body modification relates to this very sensitive issue. But you needn’t wait until the new year to get involved – I-Kandy has “Stay Strong” bracelets available by donation at the shop now, with all proceeds going to Amanda Todd Legacy!
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 2014 is going to be a huge year for us, and we are stoked for all that’s in store. Thank you to all of our clients, supporters, and friends, for making us what we are today, and inspiring us to just keep getting better.
Happy Holidays from all of us, to all of you.
A tattoo shop isn’t a typical place of business…most of the time. We like loud music and lots of laughter, we aren’t likely to try selling you lots of random stuff (though our hoodies are pretty damned awesome), and we may be caught using the occasional questionable word. Ours is not the type of business that aims for a 30 second transaction – we like to talk to our clients, get to know them, and hear their story. The rules of etiquette are very different in a tattoo shop than they are in, say, a nice restaurant or a stuffy bookstore. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. While we do love to have fun and get a bit rowdy sometimes, there are still a few basic standards that make our jobs easier, and your experiences better.
1. Be patient. We realize in this “go, go, go!” world, people are becoming accustomed to instant everything, including service. However, body mods are a slightly more serious decision than what flavour of latte you’d like today, and this means taking our time with each and every client. Before we do anything, we want to ensure you are prepared, informed, and sure about what you’re getting, and that takes a bit of time.
2. Please, please, please don’t distract the artists. It’s a pretty good rule of thumb that you shouldn’t startle someone that’s holding a needle – moreso if that needle is close to someone’s body. We know everyone wants to speak directly to the artists, but their prime focus is on the piece they are currently working on. Both piercers and tattooists need to be allowed to concentrate, for obvious reasons, and to maintain control over their stations, to ensure they remain clean and safe. The front desk staff is fully trained to answer your questions, and, better still, knows how to approach artists without startling them or contaminating their work area.
3. For the love of all that is good, come in sober. This isn’t much of a problem at I-Kandy, thank goodness, as the vast majority of our clients are amazing. But I have seen this issue elsewhere – the belief that a tattoo shop being an “adult environment” makes it okay to be drunk there. It doesn’t. Very technical work is being done in a tattoo shop, and the last thing anyone needs is drunk people stumbling about. We’re sure you are awesome to party with, but let’s do that after hours. Cool?
4. Don’t bring a posse. Everyone needs a bit of moral support, and we’re more than happy to accommodate your best friend or spouse, but please leave it at that. Bringing your entire volleyball team to watch you get your nose pierced isn’t really necessary, and will only distract the artists and give them less room to work.
Really, that’s about it. We welcome all sorts of personalities, we love all kinds of music, we’re happy to answer all of your questions, and work hard to ensure you are thrilled with your piece. Just, please, give us the time and space to do so.
Edit: Due to a couple of recent concern-causing incidents, I-Kandy has changed our policy regarding children in the studio:
-NO children under the age of 7 are allowed in the studio.
-During your tattoo and/or piercing session, please do not bring your children.
We regret having to make this change, but feel that it is best for all concerned.
If you have any questions regarding this; or any of our studio policies – please call us at 604-532-1188.
The world of body modification is, by and large, an adult one. The vast majority of shops have strict age restrictions on who they will tattoo and pierce, and many do not even permit minors through their doors. The occasional shop, however, is a bit more lax – particularly if they have a lot of family-oriented clients. Ideally, one would never bring their children into a tattoo shop, but the world is not ideal, and many shops understand that.
First and foremost, a tattoo shop is full of potential dangers – there is a reason you see BIOHAZARD stickers and warnings here, there, and everywhere. It really can’t be stressed enough that the floor your child wants to crawl around on is covered with biohazardous material. Of course, every reputable shop takes extreme measures to keep things clean and safe, but it’s only common sense that a floor, during working hours, with clients and staff both walking across it countless times per day and it being beneath the work we are doing, cannot be kept sterile. We are dealing with broken skin, ink, chemicals, and blood, all of which have a good chance of hitting the floor your child wants to put their little hands and bodies on. Don’t let them!
Second, everything that we love about kids becomes inappropriate in a shop. They are cute, talkative, active, and rambunctious – all things that become huge distractions in a tattoo setting. Tattoo and piercing artists need to be able to concentrate, and kids yelling, crying, laughing, running around, and playing make that very difficult to do.
Ideally, tattoo shops would be adult-only environments, but life rarely goes according to plan, and we understand that. We only ask that you follow these simple tips to make the experience as easy as possible.