In the beginning Razorblade was arguably just like many of the other supply companies. We carried a diverse selection of quality products so that tattoo artists and piercers could always find the best product for their procedure, and we offered the best customer service possible. But opening our own tattoo studios gave us an eye opening glimpse into the problems plaguing modern tattooing.
One of the most substantial problems we noticed was how prominent amateur tattooers were in our community. Often times we would get customers in the studio with poorly done tattoos by these amateurs, wanting our artists to cover them up. Other times we would hear of individuals with tattoos that got infected after getting tattooed out of a house. It was crazy to think that people would trust someone who tattooed out of their home. Wouldn’t you be worried about health risks? Or quality?
We realized, though, that many people are still very uneducated about the craft of tattooing. Many people just want to get a deal, and home tattooers will give them one. Our state of Pennsylvania has no laws regulating the craft of tattooing. This means we have no laws that make it illegal for people to tattoo from their homes. While it is possible for amateurs to take precautionary steps towards safe tattooing, a home is still a high risk location for a tattoo procedure. Plus, amateur tattooers cheapen the trade of tattooing, making people think it’s okay to work from home and under cutting the professionals with sub-par work. Our studios put these things into perspective for us.
Although we had never targeted our marketing towards amateurs, we also did not have any policies in place prohibiting sales to them. The strong majority of our sales were from outbound phone calls, directly to tattoo studios. We did not receive a lot of sales online, though anyone could order. As for those locals who walked into our warehouse, we generally sold them what they wanted, unless they didn’t have a clue as to what they were looking for. Those were the only customers we turned away.
Regardless, we realized that any time we sold to an amateur we were contributing to the spread of infection, disease, and regret. We were also contributing to those who help cheapen this trade that we respect so much. We decided we did not want to be a part of this in any capacity. So we started the long, slow process of tightening up our sales to professionals only.
Most of our business is generated by outbound sales calls to professional tattoo studios, so nothing changed there. Tattooers who called us would have to be verified by a member of our team before they were able to purchase. We also re-coded our website to require professional accounts to be verified by a member of our team before it would be able to purchase any professional equipment online.
That just left us to control sales to local individuals who visited our warehouse. Since Pennsylvania is an unregulated state, we couldn’t simply ask for tattoo or piercing licenses, so instead we required artists to provide their PA Sales Tax License and Bloodborne Pathogens Certification if we were unfamiliar with their brick and mortar studio. Those who couldn’t provide this information weren’t allowed to purchase from us.
Since the transition from selling to all to selling to pro’s only, we have received a very positive response from the tattoo and piercing communities. We know there are many other supply companies out there that state they are ‘pro-only’, but they don’t always adhere strictly to their claims. We understand the temptation to take that cash from an amateur at a tattoo convention or at our warehouse, but we stand behind our commitment to respect the integrity of this craft and the professionals within this community. This is not to say a crafty amateur will never slip through, but our verification system is fairly comprehensive, and always evolving.
We hope that this peek into our history and values gives professional tattoo artists and piercers the motivation to give our company a chance to serve them. Our goal is to gain the business and trust of tattooers and piercers who see a need for keeping professional supplies out of the hands of amateurs.