I started tattooing in Chico, California in the late 90's after catching the tail end of "the good times" where it was busy almost no matter where you worked and it was more about the art than turf wars with shops that you were threatened by. Before all the petty shit talking shops all wearing the same brand skinny blue jeans, flannel or black shirt, Chuck Taylor shoes and Vans trucker hat. Before mustache wax and fixed gears. Seeing the industry making a shift in the wrong direction I went on a tour to remind and redefine myself.
I tattooed in Washington, Arizona and Idaho before settling back down in Lodi, Ca. I took everything that I learned and opened a small hole in the wall shop with $300. The cabinets were from a foreclosed home and a free month's rent (hoping I would be able to make the second month's rent by months end). After hearing the same shit for years from tattoo shop owners, "we're busy all the time, we just need more artists" or "there's so many clients we're turning people away" then getting there, taking them on their word, to find myself living at friend's houses or crashing at the shop on a massage table. I decided I was going to beat that system.
I was probably one of the last people on Myspace and didn't even get an email address until just a year or two before opening Emerald Tattoo. I wasn't going to be another fly by night shop struggling for customers. I bought a cheap laptop and spent countless hours on youtube learning how to market and expand. We were able to hire some great artists (seriously some amazing talent here, check out the portfolios) instead of being another owner/tattoo pimp that expected the artists to advertise for themselves and bring in their own clients, I set out to build a system that would fund huge ad campaigns! That's why we have had T.V. spots during prime time and major league games on prime channels. That's how we have one of the most advanced websites in the industry, how we have a smart phone app and how we have a HUGE social media following.
Obviously you have to crush a few grapes in order to make juice and we have taken the majority of the clients in our counties. Unfortunately, when you are the lion you are not liked by sheep. Fortunately though many more established/mature artists have come to call us home. Giving up their old cars and flop houses for $50,000 cars and mortgages. That's why you will find most of us to be mature in our years and past the rock star phase of our career and have become true professionals making true professional money.
With having such a large clientele base, we have had to expand by opening more locations for artists to serve our clients better. We have very low artist turn over as we are busy and have a high end atmosphere. We are one of the only shops in the country that offer signing bonuses and help compensate moving costs for out of state artists. We have been fortunate enough to have put together a system that has allowed us to dominate our regions. We encourage you to see what we do for our clients and check us out online. You will find we are high above anyone else in our industry or our region. No need for your own clientele as we are able to keep all of our artists, even visiting artists, busy the first day with almost no notice to our clients.
If you don't consider yourself the highest caliber of artist than you would probably fit in better with some of the neighboring shops in the area as we are the area's leader in our field. If you are grown out of the rock star phase of your career and are ready to be a professional, making professional wages, you will not find a better shop in Northern California than Emerald Tattoo. Come by and see it for yourself. Talk to the artists on staff, feel free to ask them personally how we are and how we keep busy.