Hand tattoos, are awesome. It's hard to dispute, but there is a huge reason, that many artists won't touch em. It's not a snob thing, it's from our experience being heavily tattooed and being IN the industry through the good times and the bad.
We see so many people in and out of our shop everyday, and one type of tattoo - we've been getting requests for constantly and at a higher rate than almost anything else: the tiny mini finger and hand tattoos that you see on Pinterest and Facebook daily. And they, look great and could make us a killing, but in the end - they cost us, huge. And here's why:
1. they look fantastic at first, but they don't heal well, ever. I don't care who you are, a tattoo on your hand will never heal like a tattoo on your back or arm. So if we offer our standard policy of a free touchup within 6 months, it's going to come back and it's going to cost us double.
Our set up is not cheap - we use the newest and highest quality equipment :
Machine - $800
Disinfection & Health + Safety Regulations Costs $2/tattoo
Paper Towels $2/roll
Stencil Paper $1/sheet
Stencil Application $12/bottle
Green Glide $20/bottle
Gloves $12/100 gloves
Misc Supplies (ink caps, meat packs, machine bags, bottle and cable covers etc) $10/tattoo
Bandages & Wraps $2/tattoo
Artists' Time $100-$180/hr
Shop Percentage - 40-50%
TOTAL: for a $80 tattoo *our Minimum* (using 1 cartridge + 1 ink) the costs are $27.50 approx.
So if a tattoo is $80, the artist gets 50% ($40) and the shop gets $40. ($40-$27.50=$12.50)
so to guarantee a tattoo that we KNOW will not heal perfectly - would cost us another $27.50 to touch it up, so basically your artist is paying out of their pocket, as is the shop to tattoo you twice.
2. From our own experience - we know how visible tattoos affect your life. You get judged even walking your dog in your neighbourhood or getting groceries, and while that may not really seem like a big deal, it's a commitment and sometimes - it sucks!
3. A hand tattoo is a hand tattoo.even if its the smallest and cutest little peace sign on the side of your finger, its still on your hand, and in the end - you might as well tattoo a giant flaming demon eating babies because if someone is going to judge you for having a tattoo on your hand, they're not going to see the difference. And yeah, we get it - that's fucking stupid, but in a world where Trump actually has a chance to be president, are you really surprised?
4. Your future will change. Jobs shouldn't discriminate - but they do, and there is nothing you can do about it. Even if it's against their code of ethics and they promote diversity - if the person hiring or promoting doesn't like your tattoos, they'll find a reason not to hire you, or not to promote you. And if you say - "well I wouldn't want to work for someone who's that judgemental" sometimes life happens and you don't always get the choice or luxury of being stubborn. We can't guarantee your financial situation and we don't want to ruin your life. We got our visible tattoos when we knew we were stable enough in this industry that we SHOULD be ok, but truth is - it may still fuck us over. Your longterm happiness in life - comes before us making money immediately, because trust us- when we say - If you lose your job, or don't find a job after we tattoo you - you'll be pissed and people tend to say things that aren't always the full truth when they're angry, and we don't need angry clients telling everyone we ruined their life in doing something they asked us for and signed a waiver for - in the first place.
5. There are always exceptions. We do tattoo hands, necks and faces IF you're in the industry, are 30+ and in a stable career, self employed or in a trade (mechanics, labourers etc), so heavily tattooed that it doesn't matter (and we mean like 100hrs + of tattoo time or like 50% + coverage) or already have something already on your hands, neck or face. And these exceptions are by our artists' or shop's discretion.
We will always rather have the reputation of saying NO to a bad idea and turning away work then to have the reputation of taking in everything that walks through our door and having no ethics. This is our livelihood and our reputation and we have to stand up for what we believe is right, and sometimes we're wrong, sometimes it may not matter that you have a tiny tattoo on your finger or a huge skull worshipping satan on your hand - but we don't know that and we can't make any promises on what will happen in your life.
And yes, We know - you will probably walk down the street to the very next shop and get it done, but that's on you and on them, and our conscious is clear.