If you’ve been thinking about the best tattoo studio location for a while, chances are you’ve got an idea of what the best tattoo studio location is. But you may have to think again. Here’s why.
The best tattoo studio location
A lot of people expect me to be working in a city centre somewhere so when I tell them that my studio is in a little 17th century nailers cottage in the middle of just about nowhere they always ask me why?
I live here, I’m a country boy not a city kid. I can breath here. All my friends still live here or close by and it gives me a Feeling of Community – some days it can take me 40 mins to walk to work if one of the old ladies stops me for a chat and I love it.
I realised when I was touring America that the very English attitude to our home towns. Namely one of abject embarrassment. Is nothing like that of our cousins. Ask ‘where are you from’ to anyone in a bar in London and they’ll often tell you the area of London they live in. It’s only when you push them that they will usually – quite shyly admit to being from say, Norfolk. Do exactly the same in a bar in New York and you be met with something along the lines of ‘Odessa, Texas, Motherfucker! Go Panthers!
I personally love this pride in your hometown, don’t forget your roots type of attitude. So I built my studio in my hometown. Catshill, England, MotherFucker! Represent!
Catshill is geographically very fortunately placed. It has easy access to 2 major motorways, an international Airport (BHX) and an extensive rail network. It’s very easy to get here.
The Best Tattoo studio Location
Choosing the right location is about so much more than finding the place that looks closest to the one you’ve envisioned. The accepted wisdom tells us that – when it comes to the best tattoo studio location – It’s all about being somewhere your customers will see you, about being in a competitive, busy location full of footfall.
But is it? In this article I’ll explain why the accepted wisdom doesn’t always apply to the creative arts.
Being on the high street may damage your image as a professional tattooist.
Just about every ‘how to guide’ on the web will tell you “When choosing a location, pick one that has a good deal of foot traffic. You never know who will walk through you door and inquire about a that custom piece they’ve been considering. But we all know that, that just isn’t true. These days, clients do most of their research online when they are looking for a new tattoo artist so a great website is far more important than an expensive, fancy shopfront.
Add to that, The High street in the UK was dying long before the Global pandemic hit and you’ve got two pretty compelling reasons to look elsewhere. Just like the clients are. Afterall who want to visit a local high street these days? It has become a sad place of crappy card shops, scruffy charity shops, desperate pound shops and cut price fashion.
Shoppers are on the high street for one thing these day. A bargain. They’re not there for high quality tattoos. Placing your business on the high street will more than likely put you in the ‘cut price’ bracket rather than the ’boutique’ one.
“Primark is to fashion what McDonalds is to cuisine”
Attracting Great Artists
Placing your business on the high street, along with all the discount stores and vape shops will mean that you’ll also struggle to fill your chairs with really great talent. Lower quality customers will only attract artists who are happy to make a living from walk in trade and not push themselves or their work out to the world. They wont be interested in promoting themselves and you’ll be expected to deliver clients right to the door. This means constant expensive local advertising that will gain your shop nothing more than a small local following that will vote with their feet the moment another shop in the high street is a little cheaper than you. Not only is this business plan very risky in economically unstable times it’s also very short sighted. You will forever have to compete on price with the cheapest shop around regardless of quality because high street tattoo clients don’t (generally) see the difference. Welcome to a life making Art for Woolworth eyeballs.
The Best Tattoo Studio location – General considerations:
First ask yourself who are your market?Real, genuine tattoo enthusiasts will travel anywhere for their favourite artists.
Where is your target market located?They’re probably on the internet right? And not in the High Street looking at dead mans shoes
What image or brand do you want to convey?
You won’t find any top designers, studios or artists anywhere near the high street for a very good reason. Putting yourself there makes you look desperate. When was the last time you saw a Ferrari showroom in a city centre? Exactly. Do you want to be Ferrari or Kia?
How do you stand out from your competitors?Your competitors ought to be the best of the best in the world. If you are competing with ‘Dave down the road who does tats for a tenner’ you’ve already failed.
Move away from the High Street
England in the summer is like a large well-kept garden that stretches on forever. For centuries landowners and horticulturists have shaped the land and as a result every county in England has something peculiar in its landscape and local culture to discover.
You might think that living in an English village is all thatched cottages, red telephone boxes, and Sunday afternoon cricket. Whilst that is a bit of a stereotype, It makes visiting my tattoo studio a far more enjoyable experience than a mouldy old ex hairdressers or dusty newsagents converted into an ‘urban experience’. Plus its easier to park and the pub is just round the corner!
But yes, Catshill definitely isn’t South Beach! It doesn’t have many features other than a lot of churches and pubs. It doesn’t even look that cool from above and everything looks cool if you film it with a drone! But its perfect for what is most important for me. That’s Conveying the right image. Real Artists work in studios tucked away from the world. Because that is where ART is made.
I am where people expect me to be and that is why I love Catshill!