Venture to any metropolitan city in the United States and you’re bound to find a few tattoo shops here and there. These days tattoo shops can come in a range of styles, from the seedy shop on the corner that’s always open but always empty, to tattoo shops that look more like chain retail stores waiting to serve their next satisfied customer! And, if you’re in the market for your first tattoo, it can be hard to figure out where to go.
There are a great many things to consider when picking a tattoo shop in Victoria, TX and it’s important to have your head on a swivel when you visit a shop so that you can see what they have to offer, both the good and the bad. Take a look at ten things to look out for before you pick a place to do the honor of inking you:
- A business license and a certificate of incorporation is absolutely number one on this list. Without these things, you may as well be getting tattooed in someone’s basement, let alone a reputable tattoo shop in Victoria, TX!
- Sterile conditions are a must and there are usually some pretty dead giveaways as to whether or not the shop places an emphasis on sterility. The smell of disinfectant, a clean organized feeling, wrapped instruments, gloves and more are all good indicators that you’re in the right place.
- A functioning appointment book is highly underrated, but nevertheless important. Getting a tattoo means exchanging money for a service—make sure they have you on the books and are ready to tattoo you when they say they will.
- Artist portfolios are generally on display in waiting areas and can give you some insight into who’s tattooing at the shop in a style similar to what you want. If there are no books or portfolios on display, ask to see them; if there are no books to see, you might want to take your chances elsewhere.
- Clear, honest, upfront pricing is a necessity and those prices should be available to you in writing. Some tattoo shops treat tattooing like a barter system and try to strike deals or work bargains. Usually this isn’t worth your time and any reputable artist isn’t going to cut you a deal if it’s your first time getting inked.
- Privacy is a big thing to look for—especially if you’re planning on getting a tattoo that involves any degree of disrobing. Make sure there is a privacy screen or closed room where no one but you, your tattoo artist and anyone accompanying you are allowed—you don’t need the general public sitting in on your tattoo experience!
- Find a shop where your soon-to-be artist actually consults with you. A good number of tattoo shops will ask you what you want, take a design, tattoo it on you and send you packing. Remember, this will be in your skin forever, take a moment to talk with your artist and make sure it’s just right.
- Don’t be afraid to get excited about a shop that takes pride in its appearance. Tattoo artists are just that: artists. If the shop you visit has original art on the walls or sculpted statues or other forms of personal expression, take it as a sign of pride in one’s talent and know that the artists at this shop are proud of what they do.
- When you’re about to get tattooed, you’re inevitably going to have to sign some sort of waiver, claiming acceptance for your tattoo and absolving the artist and the shop of any blame. If the shop doesn’t ask you to sign a waiver or some sort of physical agreement, you might want to rethink getting tattooed there because it likely will mean that the shop has no record of you!
- Lastly, it’s never a bad idea to take your gut into account. Do you feel welcome in the shop? Are the people friendly? Is there a vibe that’s inviting and comfortable? Don’t ignore these signs and even more importantly, don’t ignore the opposite signs: if a shop has you worried for any reason or just gives you a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach, you wouldn’t be wrong to leave.
Getting tattooed at a tattoo shop in Victoria, TX is as much about the experience as the artwork—make sure you end up at a shop that will help you make the most of your decision to get some ink. Pay attention to the ten tips above!