Tales from a Tattooed Business Owner

My name is Beth Woodward and I am a proud tattooed small business supporter. I also regularly have fun coloured hair, and have no problem with my tattoos being visible to my clients. This sadly is not the case for everyone. 

As a graphic designer and small business supporter, I spend a lot of my working hours helping business owners to understand and further develop their brand. For some of my clients, they work very hard at concealing their tattoos and body modifications in order to portray a specific image to their clients. They aim for a more stereotypical wholesome, corporate professionalism that contributes to the way they view their business (and hope others view their business). 

I on the other hand, have a number of visible tattoos, and never has anyone (except of course my mama and my unmarked husband) questioned my choices of body art. One of the benefits to working in a creative industry, is the assumption that my tattoos (and occasionally crazy hair) are just a natural expression of the same creative energy I use in my graphic design work.

What I would love to see, is that same accepting attitude to all business owners regardless of their industry.

I have met loads of business owners that are bursting with creativity and beautiful body art, and because the industry is much more conservative, feel the need to cover them up so as to not offend their clients. There is also a very big difference between feeling the need to spare others feelings, and regretting the tattoo. Through out the body art discussions I have had with other business owners, there has always been the occasional "Why did you get them if you feel the need to cover them up?" and my understanding is this: As business owners, we are hesitant to do things we know may offend our customers. It's that simple. We need the business, and wearing a longer shirt is an easy fix to avoid potential offense. It definitely does not mean that we regret our body art, it is still a beautiful way to express ourselves and most of them hold special meaning (or are things we find beautiful). 

While I 100% understand and respect everyone's right to be decorated, un-decorated, pierced, whole, covered, uncovered, or any other way they choose to express themselves, I choose to be tattooed with occasional fun hair and a few piercings. Blessed with working in a creative industry, for myself, I have the wonderful ability to choose who I do business with. And the reality is, I do my best work with people and business owners who are open minded, passionate for their business and more than happy to sit with my tattooed self and build a beautiful brand. If they aren't, than I have a number of more conservative corporate type designers I am happy to refer them to. Life is too short to be constantly worried over other peoples negative opinions on your body art. 

So when you are speaking to other business owners ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does their hair colour affect the quality of work they will provide?
  2. Do their piercings affect the timeline turnaround and scheduling of their work?
  3. Do their tattoos make them less qualified as business owners?

Hint: The answer is always NO.

True Grit Tattoos:  480 Brant St. #8, Burlington, ON.

True Grit Tattoos: 480 Brant St. #8, Burlington, ON.

Where to get tattooed:

Out of all 6 of my tattoos, 4 of them were done by artists at True Grit Tattoos in Burlington, and one of them was touched up on an epic level by one of their artists. My most recent 2, my large thigh piece and my ribs, were done by Bryndon Shepherd, who mainly works in dot work, blackwork and some American Traditional style. The best thing about True Grit is their standards, they stand by all their work and offer free touch ups for up to 6 months past the initial appointment, provided all aftercare instructions have been followed and no visible tampering (picking at scabs, friend took a brillo pad to the tattoo etc…) has been done during the healing process. They do not tattoo minors under any circumstance and go through voluntary elaborate biological testing to make sure their equipment is sterile. Best place ever! 

How do you feel about body modification on business owners?

This is a topic that I really love discussing in a friendly and productive way! I would love to hear your thoughts on tattoos in the workplace and hiring entrepreneurs with more eclectic appearances!