Doing things the right way has always been priority number one and that isn't always reflected well in business. Sure you would think it is, but fast and first is usually what gets recognized.
We opened RockStar Ink in December of '09, and in that length of time we have had feelings of success and deep seated crushing defeats. Success, sad to say, in business is a very short lived feeling when failure is looming around every corner. That may sound harsh, but the reality is there for it to happen. From finding the right location, to selecting a color palette and building a crew, business is a fine tuned machine. One small piece out of place, one part of your crew with mixed emotion and the whole thing can blow up in your face.
So you ask, if having a business is such an emotional hurricane, why stay in it? Why fight? Why get angry with a "mixed emotion" from a crew member? Why care?
My answer would be....the Clients.
The clients' happiness, surprise, admiration, joy, whatever....the clients. That is what keeps us going. That's what tells us we are doing the right thing.
On the other hand, if we were to stay open just on that feeling, we would be nice people but bad businessmen. Obviously there are a few other indications that we are seeing, telling us we are making the right choices for our business to thrive.
My vindication, if you will...
In everything I do, inevitably there are things that may not seem right to other people. In business, these people always seem to have some kind of controlling interest. No matter what business you're in, there will always be people who think they know the best way to the gold. From marketing, to the way you treat your crew, from crew members themselves to family, and "friends" who want to help, you will be inundated with suggestions. You will ask yourself why they never opened a business with all their ideas about the subject.
All of this input, if not handled delicately, will disrupt your operations and for some reason, the people giving the suggestions get very defensive if not heard. But I have stayed my course to this day, having a strong belief of knowing what is the right choice for my business, and targeting the right demographic.
Little things have proved my theories right, little vindications have kept me on my path. But, something happened last Monday that has really made me feel...well, vindicated.
A few months back, a girl fans our Facebook page and asks a few standard questions. Now, we didn't think much of it, people do that all the time. She then messaged us again to make an appointment via the internet. We responded that you have to come into the studio, so we can properly assess a time allotment for proper scheduling. She told us she couldn't do that due to the fact she lives in Sweden. We made the appointment, but felt this would most likely be a prank.
The day came for the appointment and low and behold two girls walk in our establishment from Sweden. I was amazed at best, but played it low key. As we went through our normal routine of questions, we became more happy upon what we heard.
Through the conversations had, the laughs that followed, we made two friends.
As they told us this was their first trip to America and we have made it "unforgettable," not only for the great tattoo work, but the whole experience.
The question posed was.... "There are over 120 tattoo shops within a 25 mile radius of our studio, what made you choose us?"
Their response was quick. "We googled it!" They googled tattoo shops in Chicago and "what originally caught our eye was the sign, the logo." "There was, is nothing else like it on the internet or anywhere," they said, "it's very catchy, it grabs your attention." So they looked further and read our reviews. They then looked through our Facebook and after seeing all the photos, made the decision to make the appointment.
I designed the logo from start to finish. I have had plenty of people attracted to us from it, and have had heard as much slack about it as well. Mostly on how it doesn't appeal to tattooing "there's no direct link, it doesn't say tattoo."
And that is where everybody was wrong with what they wanted me to do vs. what I wanted to achieve.
I was just told by two girls from Sweden, a country 5000 miles away, was attracted to our business by my logo. A logo that, supposedly has no indication of tattooing on it, that supposedly would shy more people away than towards.
And on these girls FIRST trip to America, they come to our tattoo studio.
Anyone can build a tattoo shop, good artists will keep it running... We built an experience studio.
As the girls said before flying back to Sweden, "Thank you for the great time, great tattoos and the unforgettable experience. We will never forget it!"
I am beside myself.
Vindication, by any other name...
—— Chrome @ RockStar Ink