Dec 2009

Tattoo Studios Strengthen in Recession

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Business is booming for some in the New Zealand tattoo industry – with skin being promoted as a permanent canvas to exhibit and display tattoo art.


While many industries are struggling in the tough economic climate, the art business is thriving with skin as its most successful new medium!

Tattoo studios like The Tattooed Heart Custom & Classic Studio in Auckland are reporting a steady rise and artists speculate that the recession is causing people to simply invest more in themselves.

“For many people, tattoos are the most personal investment they can make,” says Adam Craft, owner and operator of The Tattooed Heart. “It is a piece of art-work that can never be taken away from them and they are willing to pay for it despite their financial situation.”

In particular The Tattooed Heart, which opened on K’Rd last month, has seen ongoing success and already established a solid clientele with new customers placing bookings every day.

“The opportunity to expand arose and we jumped at it as we’ve wanted to move forward for a while now,” says Craft.  “The recession didn’t enter into it.”

Craft says that because most clients also book in advance, business has remained steady.

“All of my clients place future bookings, especially those getting ongoing large-scale work, though some want a smaller piece and are willing to wait,” he says.  “We also have a number of tattooists who take walk-in work.”


Top Kiwi stylist Richard Kavanagh who has been visiting Adam Craft for the last four years for ongoing work on his Japanese style body suit says that tattoos are an art form.

“It’s a way of decorating the body and recognising and owning the art of an artist you admire,” says Kavanagh.  “It is an investment in a way, not that it gives any fiscal return, but it’s a way of being in the world and a statement of self.”

Kavanagh, who has spent upwards of $5000 on his tattoos to date, says it is also important to select a good artist, especially if you have saved up to have the tattoo done.

“Tattoos are for life, not for the weekend, so choose carefully,” he says.  “The only way to select a good tattoo artist is by recommendation or to visit a reputable studio to look at artist’s portfolios.”

The tattoo industry has also seen a change over the past few years with a more educated clientele starting to emerge.

“A lot more first timers have done their research and are looking for bigger work than a few years ago,” says Craft.  “People are more informed about the styles they are interested in.”

Recent research also revealed that tattoos are becoming increasingly popular among females with Kiwi women more likely to have a tattoo (22%) compared with men (17%).*

The survey also discovered that 85% of New Zealanders who had a tattoo did not regret the decision to have it done.

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Fleur Revell
Fleur Revell is one of the country’s most eminent PR consultants and public relations practitioners with more than 20 years industry experience behind her. Fleur is also a three times Qantas Media Awards winner and Feature Writer of the Year; and has an exceptional working knowledge of the New Zealand media landscape and its accelerating evolution in the digital age.
Tattoo Studios Strengthen in Recession
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