Are you not seeing a steady increase of clients? How about making your rent this month? Are you seeing a decrease in the walk-in clientele year over year?

If you can answer yes to any or all of those above, and your work is good, or great, something is wrong. We can hazard a guess that taking this on personally will be almost impossible for you but try and walk through all possibilities.

  • It may be the new shops that have opened near you
  • You are in an economic downturn
  • It could be that your shop is in need of maintenance
  • Your coworkers are stealing your clients
  • It could be that your clients are assholes
  • They don’t understand your style,
Someone yelling in a phone.
Go Fuck Yourself, I only tattoo bold bitch! (

Great way to stroke that ego! You may be correct but I offer up another possibility: You may be a little lazy in how you conduct yourself with your loving public. I mean that will all the love in the world and I am not to be a complete shithead. Take a critique, it’s constructive.

If you are a tattoo bro, click this link to get a little education.


What you can do to draw in more clients.

Becoming a customer focused, good tattooer is something we need to see inside the industry. I am not forgiving those amazing artists who are straight up cockshits to their clients but I do want to raise awareness to this issue.

There has to be a way to make things better. For instance, I suggest our industry to be more inclusive of the ideas and practices that make any company or industry great.

Here is a short list that summarizes some ideas and yes, my long-winded ass will most likely write some fucking post about each one of these, time dependent, in the future.

The List

This should not be considered comprehensive list. I won’t put down all my thoughts or critiques because I have a life outside of writing and tattooing. What I can do is give a rational that works in my head. I know it may not work in yours but, hey, maybe you can think outside your normal paradigm for a bit and expand your mind.

Listen to your client base actively

  • Active listening keeps you engaged in what the discussion is about. Your clients would most likely enjoy the fact that you are engaged and excited about what they are choosing to mark their bodies with permanently.

Require your clients to give you input in the design process, actively

  • Having your clients work with you during the design process (this includes one-offs) will personalize their experience and guarantee an increased enjoyment of the final product. You will also save time walking back and forth by having them engaged with you the whole time. Think of a full-service experience. Wouldn’t you enjoy that as well?

Actively engage your clientele about why and what you are doing during the drawing, stencil placement and tattooing process

  • Engaging you client throughout the experience ensures they are fully aware of what is happening and what to expect. Clients have questions and you can head them off by being direct. permission and giv details about what you are doing, when you’re doing it.

Answer all questions to the best of your ability based on scientific or industry standard evidence, not what you heard your coworkers state as gospel.

  • It’s an education you are giving them. Help them enjoy the fine ass art you spent time with them creating.
    Take the time to educate yourself. Remember all those fad aftercare products and the tattoo machines that ran on compressed air and sounded like a dentist drill? Remember how you had used Speed stick (which is still the best for stencils, in my opinion) to apply stencils? Sometimes things change as our knowledge increases. Don’t be left in the past like an outdated 90’s tattoo and lowrider magazine. Be informed and pass that along to your clients. They will enjoy your knowledge and your efforts.

Adapt your work to the changes in the industry and current fads/trends you see your clients leaning towards. They are not Stupid.

Adaptation ensures you are constantly learning. Yes, we all love the past fads of chrome and 13rd liners and neo-traditional tattoos, but things change. If you adapt, learn and try new things you are bound to grow as an artist, and as a person as well. Plus, you’ll stay relevant as you age, you old fuck.

Ask questions!

  • This is the most simple and easiest way to move forward in anything. I always heard that there was never a stupid question, just stupid answers. I feel, as I have aged, that this is so true. We all start from a point on nothing and grow our knowledge through experience. Regardless if you are the best or the worst, asking questions just makes you a better human being. If you ask questions you get answers and answers are really what we all need.
A discussion around a table.
I fucking love free pictures (

So, that’s where I will leave this topic today. Perhaps we can move forward happy and newly learned or revisit this post later. Please leave a comment and tag/forward this along to anyone you feel may be interested.

A cop giving the thumbs up!
Photo by Ryan Lim on

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