Choosing a Tattoo Shop

Our daughter had been asking for a tattoo every year on her birthday for 3 years. Her father’s answer was always, “NO!” In 1999, on her 18th birthday, we were in Las Vegas celebrating at Hard Rock Café, when she announced that tomorrow she was getting a tattoo. She explained that she didn’t need our permission because she was 18. Her dad tried to talk her out of it, but when he couldn’t, he asked if we, her parents, could come along to approve the environment. She agreed, and the next morning, we set out with a list of Las Vegas Tattoo Shops.

What he knew, that she didn’t, was how critical it is to choose the right shop. When getting a tattoo, the right shop can be every bit as important as the design of your tattoo and the artist you select to do it. To ensure your outcome doesn’t result in surprises, do the work to find a quality shop.

Most cities have a myriad of shops to choose from. Begin your search with well-established shops that have experienced artists. Talk to other tattooed people and get referrals. Once you have narrowed your search, visit the shops on your short-list to assess the following:

  • Shop is clean and is Blood-Borne Pathogen certified
  • Shop is has current business license (check with your city or state to verify license)
  • Artists in the shop fit the style of the tattoo you want (look through portfolios)
  • You observe shop procedures for sterilizing EVERYTHING and keeping a sterile environment during tattooing procedure.
  • The artist you select talks with you about your ideas and adds suggestions. A sketch or stencil that you approve is available BEFORE you begin.

It took visiting six tattoo shops ,with her dad as inspector, before he found the shop where we would ultimately get family tattoos that we still love 20 years later. Thanks, Dad, for making our first tattoo experience a great one!