TATTOOS ARE THE NEXT BIG CHAPTER OF MARKETING.
They’ve been the subject of endless debates, but with their long history, high cost and limited availability, there’s little that can compete with the popularity of tattoo parlors.
Yet, like any great business, there are many who make money selling them.
Some of these shops have expanded their business and their clientele to include those in the LGBTQ community.
The latest success story is a small, but growing, online tattoo shop in Pennsylvania called Crystal.
Crystal has a long history of selling tats.
In fact, it started out selling “straight” tattoo ink and has grown into a large tattoo shop with a wide array of colors, designs, and styles.
It is located in a quaint little town called Scranton.
It was a relatively small town before the advent of online tattoo shops.
The shop, Crystal Tattoo, opened in 2015 and now has more than 200 customers, according to owner Amanda Rolf.
It’s not the first time a small town has made a name for itself in tattooing.
Crystal Tatto was a mainstay of the town of Winooski, Pennsylvania for years, before moving to its current location in 2017.
“I was really just looking for a place to get my work done,” said Rolf, who is currently working to open another shop, where her customers can buy a variety of designs.
“We got the opportunity to do a small business that we can get the work done for ourselves, and we can all do it with our own time and energy.”
In the early 2000s, there was only one tattoo shop to open in Pennsylvania, but it closed down in 2012.
The town had a few other tattoo shops, including a local one called the Blacksmith Tattoo Shop.
That shop, located on the edge of town, closed in 2014.
But, like Crystal, Blacksmith closed down a few years ago, so Rolf decided to open up a new tattoo shop that would cater to her community.
“There was no one like us in the area,” Rolf said.
“The Blacksmith had a lot of members that were transgender, and so there was a lot to offer.”
Rolf is a tattoo artist herself and has worked at many tattoo parlor’s.
Her first tattoo was done at a barbershop.
“I did it at the barbershops because I wanted to be the person doing my own work, and I wanted a tattoo,” she said.
She was also interested in working at a tattoo parlovers shop, so she got her tattoo done there.
After opening Crystal Tattot, Rolf was able to sell the business to another local tattoo shop, the Black and White Tattoo.
It closed down around the same time, but the new owner opened the new shop a few months later, and the two businesses remain active.
“My customers, and my staff, have been very kind and accommodating,” said Blacksmith owner, Michael Wiltz.
Wiltz said that Blacksmith’s business has grown so much in the past few years that the owner plans to open a second shop in the near future.
At Crystal Tattoom, Ralf said that she’s not worried about the competition.
“When you have a small community, there is always competition,” she told National Review.
“You’ve got to keep your finger on the pulse of the community.
One of the things that we do is we give back, and that’s something that we’ve always been able to do.”
When the Black Stone Tattoo was a little shop, it was a pretty small shop.
Now, with its expansive selection of tattoos and designs, it has been able add another level of business to the small community.
“I think that the reason we keep growing and growing is that the community has been there for us,” Ralf added.
“It’s been the only way we have been able keep going and grow our business.”
Rolf said that in the beginning, Crystal had a clientele of only three to four people.
Now, she says that there are about 200 to 300 customers, many of whom are in their 20s and 30s.
There are other tattoo parlovshos that are also thriving, too.
In 2014, a shop called the White Horse Tattoo in Philadelphia opened.
White Horse Tatto is located on a quiet street in the heart of Philadelphia, just a few blocks from the Pennsylvania State University campus.
Owner, Scott Johnson, said that Crystal Tattoos and Blacksmiths have helped to fill his shop’s needs.
For years, he and his staff have had to compete with other tattoo companies for customers.
“If you’re trying to be a competitor in your own state, you’re going to lose out on customers,” Johnson said.
And the competition for customers can be fierce