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Club Tattoo Interview Series, Part 2

Dec 28 2007 / Friday

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An interview with Club Tattoo's Sean & Thora Dowdell by Robert Brink (Cont'd from Part 1)

RB: So, that was for the second store?

SD: That was for the third.

RB: Oh, OK, cool. So, do you do tattooing?

SD: I do not…I do body piercing.

RB: Oh, OK…so, I guess…how long have you been doing that?

SD: 12 years.

RB: So do you actively do that? Or are you kind of…

SD: I only do it at conventions or to do like different photo shoots or poster shoots or stuff like that. I don’t really work at the shops anymore. I’ll do appointment basis if someone really wants me to do something special on ‘em. I’ll do that but I don’t pierce tongues and (unintelligible) and stuff anymore.

RB: Is it something you…I guess since you have been doing it 12 years that’s what you were doing back in the day…is it something you kind of miss at all?

SD: Yeah, I love it. To me, it totally grounded me to my client--not just my client, but Club Tattoo’s client.

TD: That’s how he ends up getting kicked out of the office ‘cause he’s not working shifts now. So he’s kind of still finding his way not actively piercing. It’s a passion just like tattooing or being a musician. Professional piercing is definitely technology, (unintelligible), math, a lot of math goes into doing some of those designs and year projects--things like that so it’s definitely not something people are great at right out the gates. It’s definitely a learned talent.

RB: Did you…let’s see…she cut you off here.

SD: No…

TD: Sorry, I always cut him off…

*Thora laughs

RB: So, I guess originally when things started…you said they took off unexpectedly…you were trying to find a…what do you attribute the success of Club Tattoo to?
SD: I think there’s a lot of facets to that. And to answer that, the first thing I would say would be the passion and motivation that myself and my team has. Were not a bunch of lazy people. I’ve never hired a bunch of lazy people so each individual that works here and has worked here, for the most part, has really contributed a lot to the whole ball rolling, so to speak. I wake up every day seven days a week and I work. I’m a workaholic. I always want to push this place to be better, cooler, innovative I always want to push the envelope whether it be piercing, tattooing, now clothing, shoes. I always want to make things better. I think drive would be…if I had to sew it up into one thing…it would be drive.

RB: So, nowadays with the increasing popularity of tattooing and piercing and the whole lifestyle and tv shows…I guess I’m sort of wondering in your eyes and this being a successful venture, what makes Club Tattoo different than, like, everything else out there?

SD: Well, we don’t take a traditional tattoo parlor approach; I think we take a very female-friendly art gallery approach to tattooing. So, we have more of the very upscale, hair salon/art gallery version of a tattoo studio. So right there we’re different. When you walk in the door, we’re different. We don’t have flash all over the walls. We don’t have dirty floors. We don’t have--everything is private. Everything is done to where you feel comfortable with the artist and it’s about your experience. You’re not put on display here when you come and get tattooed in front of fifty other people you don’t know and paying for the most part for your entire stay. We try to make it as comfortable as possible and I think that’s what’s defiantly different about us.

TD: The tattoo industry…we have pioneered a level of customer service, combined with professionalism, and a talent of the artist here that surpasses anybody in the industry and we have a team of people that do just the customer service; we have a team of people that do the tattooing and a team of people that do the piercing; and collectively they make the experience for the customer and the customer gets hand held from the moment they walk in, to the moment they leave. And we have a very loyal client base. And we’re good to them and they pay us respect and loyalty in return.

SD: That’s a good point too. The loyalty of our client base, I would have to say, is definitely different from what most tattoo studios would have.

TD: Most of our tattoo artists have been working here for many years; we do not really have a high turnover. People come here to build careers. That makes a very big difference to the clientele. Our artists are very serious about their work, they’re very serious about their positions at Club Tattoo and they are building their careers here as well. So that also helps build clientele trust and loyalty because they know that their artist is going to be there maybe in six months or a year when they want to bring a friend back or come back and get some more work, we’re here for them. Reliability is a big one in this business. To have reliability makes you stand apart.

RB: One thing you just touched on earlier is you said that this shop has sort of a more feminine…

*Thora laughs

SD: female friendly!
TD: female friendly!

RB: But, I was kind of walking around and I was going to ask you earlier before we were rolling but I wanted to say that like it seems almost like it’s, I thought it might have almost been sort of designed and laid out by a woman…I don’t know if that’s...

*Thora laughs over talking

SD: NO, not at all!

RB: But it has a touch to it that’s sort of soft.

SD: We’ll she’s defiantly helped in the design of the whole atmosphere, without a doubt.

TD: You know, as far as being a woman in this business…it is a predominately male environment, however the predominate percentage of client is female. So if the women are happy, the men are happy. If the women come, the men will come. Women generally spend their own money and they spend their man’s money so just the shop-ability, where you place garments things like that--and that’s another thing that set us apart from most of the tattoo industry. We offer full body connection. You can do tattooing, piercing, you can come and pick up some great accessories, clothing. That brings a twist to the tattoo business that really isn’t out there, so…

RB: I could just tell right away when I walked in, I could just…it had a sort of female touch that’s not overdone…sort of nurturing or something.

SD: Homey…

TD: Well, thank you.

RB: Yeah

SD: It makes you feel comfortable.

RB: So, back to something else…you were talking about the loyalty of your customers…I just wanted to ask about…like, so…how much does sort of Chester’s affiliation with Linkin Park, and all that, come into play as far as the success of the shop?

SD: Not much.

*Thora laughs

RB: It seems like it’s not that big of an issue…

SD: It’s not, we don’t play into it a whole lot, to be honest. Chester got involved because we’re close friends. As soon as Chester got involved, we didn’t put a big sign out front that says Club Tattoo owned by Chester Bennignton of Linkin Park.

TD: Owned by a rock star (said over Sean)…yeah

SD: We don’t use that because we don’t have to use that…

RB: Yeah

SD: …and I think what’s funny now…

TD: (speaks over Sean-unintelligible)

SD:…Chester is like, “Hey, we can do this,” and I’m like, “No we don’t need to do that.” You know when we’re promoting an event or a concert or something like that, then we’ll pull that tie in. Ya know? When we really need to tap into people outside of our immediate area, I guess…for people, like in California or Utah, then Chester comes in very handy because of his media savvy…his media plug-ins. But as far as everyday business, we don’t use that a lot.

RB: Well that’s what it seems like and I think probably people, as you guys grow, might…people who aren’t around here, or whatever, don’t know the whole story might get the wrong impression…

SD: Oh, we get that all the time

TD: And that’s OK…and that’s OK (A second time…over Sean)

SD: They think it’s a success because of that, but at the end of the day as long as the business is successful, who cares the reason why? So if that’s what somebody thinks, then so be it.

RB: Well, once people learn about the business, at some point they’re going to learn that that’s not the case anyway, like with this interview, for example.

TD: Right

SD: Like I said, either way, it don’t matter to us. As long as people see it as a success and see what we’re actually offering, what we’re bringing to the industry, that’s what’s important. It’s not about me getting credit for anything, or me getting patted on the back--oh, he didn’t do this or she didn’t do this--it’s about, well, we all did this collectively. So, you know, cool. As long as you think it’s cool, as long as you get what we are doing, then awesome. Then I don’t care who you think is responsible.

Stay tuned for Part 3!

Club Tattoo Giveaway
Club Tattoo Interview Series, Part 1


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