GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS - TLC TATTOO
Miranda Jessop talks tattoos and piercings with owner, Daisy-Rae Duke.
I always wanted to work in the tattoo industry but I never imagined I would have my own shop when I was quite so young. I took over the business in 2012, just after my nineteenth birthday. One of the first changes I made was to introduce a body piercing and high-end body jewellery service.
The business used to be called TCB Tattoo after Elvis’ band and logo so when I took over I re-named it TLC Tattoo which is basically the female version.
We have three really talented tattoo artists who all excel in different areas. Simon does a lot of traditional tattoos but he also specialises in black and grey, fine line tattooing; he can do the most incredible pet portraits. Liam’s style is more American traditional influenced and, being a skater, he especially loves skate graphics. Hanna’s work is illustrative and tends to be very feminine.
We specialise in custom tattooing and every design is hand drawn by our artists and is completely unique. The first step is to come in for a consultation where we talk through the idea and design in detail, looking carefully at placement and size.
If we genuinely think something is not going to work, we will advise against it. We regularly say ‘no’ to hand, neck and face tattoos especially if the clients are young and it is their first tattoo.
The most common place for a tattoo is the wrist and the most popular motifs at the moment are roses, infinity symbols and feathers. Someone once asked for a squashed fairy on the sole of their foot but we couldn’t do it because that area of the body doesn’t hold the ink very well.
Tattoos are not just for young people. One of our regular clients is a mum who was just popping out to buy a pint of milk when she ended up getting her first tattoo; she’s been coming in ever since. The oldest person we have tattooed was eighty-three and it was her very first tattoo!
Because it was a Friday the 13th when I first took over the business (lucky for some!), we now hold ‘Friday the 13th Flash Days’ where we offer superstitious tattoos for just £31.
Mara is our body piercer and everyone always says that she is incredibly calming. She only uses the highest quality jewellery - titanium, gold and platinum. She is an expert in all the latest piercing methods and always ensures that the jewellery is perfectly suited to the particular part of the anatomy.
Here at TLC we really care about the work we do which is why we turn down certain requests. Tattoo studios can be quite intimidating but we are a really welcoming and friendly environment. Our aim is to make people feel completely relaxed.
Health & safety is obviously a top priority for us. We have a strict over 18 policy for tattoos and over 16 for piercing. We always open all our instruments in front of the client so they can see they are completely sterile.
I adore my job because you get to meet so many different people from all walks of life with such interesting stories to tell. Getting a tattoo can be quite an emotional experience for people, especially if it is in memory of a loved one. Many of our regular customers end up becoming our friends.
My obsession with tattoos goes right back to when I was a little girl. All my uncles and aunties were heavily tattooed and, as a child, I used to spend hours drawing pictures on myself & also colouring in my Dads unfinished tattoos. As soon as I was eighteen, my mum took me to get my first tattoo and I’ve lost count of how many I’ve got now. Most people like to put art on their wall but I think it’s nice to carry it around with you.
Prices start at £50 for a tattoo, £20 for a piercing and £25 for jewellery.
TLC Tattoo, 154 Heath Road
020 8241 7778