Tattoo Artists: Sticking To Your Personal and Professional Policies


Recently, we read a post (NSFW) on a ladies blog about her experience in a tattoo parlour in America. The nearly 40-year-old woman was told by the tattoo artist in the shop that he would, under no circumstances, give her a tattoo on her neck. He told the woman that it would look ‘tacky’ and that unless she was heavily tattooed and therefore out of room, he wouldn’t tattoo anything onto this area. The woman – who already had three small tattoos - was understandably angry, and after a few heated words, left the shop without booking any tattoos, before seeking out an alternative studio who would help her.

As a company who specialises in providing tattoo supplies to professional and reputable tattoo artists, we can see both sides to the argument. The tattoo artist should have put his point across in a more professional manner – explaining to the lady why it’s in his policy to be able to refuse a customer, especially if he doesn’t feel comfortable doing what they are asking. By telling the lady that it would be tacky, he caused a justifiably hostile reaction from her.

However, we can understand why he did refuse, as neck and face tattoos are high up on the list of places people regret getting inked. A tattoo is a signature for the artist, and they don’t want to be putting their name to something that a customer will later regret.

In general, as a tattoo artist, you may be asked to tattoo something that you are not comfortable in doing, you might be asked to tattoo an area of the body that you don’t want to work on, or you might simply feel like you can’t do justice to the exact design your client wants.

Whatever the reason you have for refusing to do a specific tattoo, you must be prepared for a negative reaction from the person asking. Whilst this might be inevitable at times, there are certain precautions and actions that you can limit the chances of being on the end of an angry rant like the one we mentioned above.


Carefully and clearly state your policies

If you have certain rules about what you are and aren’t willing to tattoo on an individual, then this is well within your rights as a tattoo artist. However, it’s extremely important that you make this known to potential customers – whether it’s on your website, in your shop policies, or by making sure that your receptionists are fully able to inform anyone that asks. The key here is to phrase everything in an appropriate way, you should never insult a customer’s taste by inferring that their choice is tacky!

Make appointments where you and your customer can discuss ideas

People are always going to feel more comfortable getting a tattoo from someone that they have met before. If you make it one of your policies to always sit down with customers before doing tattoos, you can discuss with them everything you are willing to do, and what are your limits. This way, the customer can decide whether to proceed with you, or look elsewhere.

Get to know other tattoo artists in the area

By getting to know other tattoo parlours and individual tattoo artists in the area, you’ll be fully equipped to advise people on the best place to go for a tattoo if it’s something you don’t feel comfortable doing.

It’s much better to give someone an alternative option than simply send them away.

By following our simple advice, there is less chance of finding yourself in an uncomfortable situation with a customer, where you have to tell them that you won’t do a tattoo for them.

As a tattoo artist, it’s entirely up to you for what you agree to do or not do, but it’s the way that you put this across that can be the difference between a disappointed customer and an angry one.

If you’re a tattoo artist, and you’re in need of some tattoo supplies, Body Shock has you covered. We provide an extensive collection of high quality products, but at affordable prices. Please get in contact with us by calling 01922 744088 and a member of our staff will be happy to answer any questions.

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