Depending on where you live, it seems that everywhere you look there is a tattoo shop. Once considered a ‘fad’ in the 60’s and 70’s, tattooing has established itself firmly in the mainstream of societies around the world and is definitely here to stay.
Thanks to the increased awareness brought by recent TV reality shows like ‘L.A. Ink’ and ‘New York Ink’, it seems that everybody wants to get into the business of owning a shop of their own. The problem is that it takes more than artistic talent to operate a complex business like a tattoo shop and many artists come up short on the necessary requisites. In Los Angeles county, for example, there seems to be a constant flux of shops going in and going out, and the trend does not seem to be slowing down.
So how (as a customer) are you supposed to know the difference between a quality tattoo shop and a ‘fly-by-night’ operation that may not be there in a week? For one, you can ask how long the shop has been there. Secondly, ask to see the shop’s health department permit (if they are legitimate they will have it prominently displayed and not mind if you copy down the permit number for verification). Third, make sure they are using only sterile body piercing supplies and tattoo supplies with color-changing indicators and proper dates stamped clearly on the packaging. If the shop you are in has any problems with your questioning, simply leave and find one that is legit.