IAM: cocky_bob (who has nothing to do with this post).
Everybody knows that the only reason to go to the mall is to pick up underage girls, or to enjoy the sweet relief of air conditioning on a ball-droppingly humid summer day, or maybe to hand out extremist political pamphlets to impressionable young children. So who in the world would go to the mall to get tattooed? The answer: People! The Wall Street Journal chimes in today with a story profiling Mario Barth and the folks behind Tattoo Nation, both of whom are looking to turn their tattoo shops into nationwide franchises. That, of course, is not a particularly new idea, but the idea seems to center on attracting people who may not normally venture into your average iniquitous den of tattooery, where things are usually on fire and the artists are snorting weed and sacrificing animals and such:
Tattoo Nation LLC had to tackle such issues when it set out several years ago to be the first mall-based tattoo-parlor chain in the country. It opened its first location in 2006 in the Woodbridge Center Mall in Woodbridge, N.J., 200 feet from Bloomingdale’s.
Early next year, it will open two stores in New York — in the Staten Island Mall and the Queens Center mall — and it is in lease negotiations at more than a dozen other malls around the U.S.
[...] So far, some traditional mall customers have responded well to the tattoo parlors. Geralyn Stanley, a 32-year-old high-school art teacher and mother of two young girls, wanted a tattoo but was leery of patronizing traditional parlors. When she came across the white-tiled, rock-music-playing Tattoo Nation in the Woodbridge Center Mall, she felt more at ease — so much so that she has gotten three tattoos in the past year. On one visit, she brought along her mother, a 52-year-old librarian, who got her first tattoo.
In all fairness though, while the negative characterization of tattoo shops is mostly silly, it’s probably a testament to the art form that even people who have no interest in — and, indeed, feel completely apart from — “traditional” tattoo culture are still hot to get tattooed, albeit in a setting that feels more appropriate for their personalities and experiences. So … probably a good business move.
There is a slight error, though, where the WSJ reporter mentions that, in addition to Tattoo Nation rebranding its shops as Inked shops, that the company has purchased Inked magazine as well. Apparently not. Inked‘s Jason Buhrmester wrote in to Gawker to correct the mistake:
“We are actually published by Don Hellinger, the owner of Nylon and Nylon Guys. We want nothing to do with Tattoo Nation and begrudge it for wasting valuable space that could be filled with a tasty Orange Julius.”
Tattoo Parlors Start Hitting Mall [Wall Street Journal Online]
Inked Is Not A Mall Rat [Gawker]