There are many important aspects for you to consider when running a successful shop, whether you are an emerging tattoo artist looking to open a new shop or a veteran tattoo artist with already-established customers. In an industry where there is so little room for error, even the slightest upgrade can make a lasting impact on a customer’s opinion of your shop.
One major factor to consider that can help your business positively stand apart from others is making your customers feel welcome and safe. The best way to create this comfortable environment is to stock your shop with trustworthy equipment and supplies. Investing in quality supplies from reputable brands can help ensure each session goes according to plan and your customer leaves your shop more than satisfied with your work.
12 Best Tattoo Supplies for Every Studio
Regardless if someone visits your shop for their first or their fifty-first tattoo, their decision to come to your shop was likely not spur of the moment, and they chose you for a reason. You want to do everything you can to ensure your customers leave your shop proud and excited to show off their new permanent art. The proper equipment and tools will go a long way toward giving your customers the experience and final result they want.
To help ensure that each of your customers leaves satisfied, check out these tattoo supplies that are a must-have in every shop to help you do your best work in a safe and comfortable environment:
1. Tattoo Machine
Among the list of many things you need to start a tattoo shop, one of the key pieces of equipment at the center of your operation is a tattoo machine. Choosing the right machine for you and your business is important, as that piece of equipment is what allows you to create tattoo art.
There are many aspects to a tattoo machine for you to consider before making a purchase. When looking at tattoo machines, the first thing to know is that there are three different versions— one for lining, black or gray shading and coloring. Each of these devices comes in various materials, the most common being copper, steel, iron and aluminum.
On top of considering the purpose and outer material of your tattoo machine, another thing to think about is the inner mechanics of the machine. While the two most common are rotary and coil machines, there is also one that combines the mechanics of the two, called a pneumatic tattoo machine. While each type of machine has the same overall function, each one has its own benefits and can impact your tattooing differently. Your skill level and previous tattooing experience are a few of the factors to think about when making your purchase.
You have many options when it comes to choosing a tattoo machine that best suits you. One example of a high-quality tattoo machine and its benefits is the Axys Rotary Fehu, which has a natural center balance that is clean and works with any cartridge group and comes in a variety of colors. Another option is the Cheyenne HAWK PEN Tattoo Machine. This machine gives you a full range of movement, allowing for intense detail work of lining and shading while giving your client maximum comfort.
There are countless more examples of premium tattoo machines, so make sure you do some research before investing in a purchase.
2. Adjustable Tattoo Chair
While the tattoo machine you choose to invest in depends on your preferences as the artist, the tattoo chair is something you should choose with your customer in mind. Since your client may be in the chair for long periods of time depending on the size and detail of the tattoo, you want the chair to be comfortable throughout the process.
On top of considering your customer's comfort, you should also consider the chair’s ability to recline and move, so you can work at different angles and positions. You want a chair that supports and stabilizes your client with arm and leg rests while allowing you to work from the different angles you may need.
Another aspect of the chair you need to look at is the material of the chair you want. Pick something with a leather top that is easy to clean and sanitize. If your clients can see that you have a chair made from easy-to-clean material, they are more likely to have a higher impression of your studio's sanitization practices and overall cleanliness.
3. Power Supplies
Although some (wireless) tattoo machines can run off their own power, most work when you have a secondary power supply to deliver power to your tattoo machine. This allows your machine to run at its best, helping control the electricity for the power device to your machine. This is imperative because it helps secure your machine from receiving unregulated voltage.
Your tattoo machine will have a recommended voltage range you should follow, which will help you decide what power supply will suit your shop best. Determine how many tattoo machines your studio needs and choose a power supply that supports the number of units you need simultaneously.
4. Foot Pedals
Foot pedals are an essential extension to your tattoo machine, as they control the vertical movement of the needle. Some foot pedals require constant pressure to keep the needle moving, while others have a switch to turn the machine on and off.
5. Tattoo Needles
Browsing the six different needle types and remembering each of their functions can be overwhelming when it comes to tattooing. However, having a solid understanding of each needle is important to your success, as the needle type and size you choose can help define and solidify your style. Listed below are the six basic needle types and how each are used. Read on to help determine which needles you need for your practice.
Round Liner Needles
These needles have a rounded tip to produce crisp and clean line work. The thickness of a line you tattoo on a client depends on the thickness number you choose for your needle, with one being very fine and fourteen being very thick. Round liner needles work by only allowing small amounts of ink out at a time, making them good for tattoos or styles that focus on lining. Some examples include script and lettering, tribal, traditional and other line-based tattoos.
Round Shader Needles
Similar to round liner needles, this needle group relies on pins with rounded tips. What makes these needles different from one another is that round shader needles have pins that are farther apart, making this type better for thick lines and shading. Round shader needles work well for basic shading and coloring, as well as some thicker line work.
Magnum Shader Needles
Typically with their pins grouped farther apart in two straight rows, magnum shader needles are for shading or color filling large areas. These needles hold a lot of ink, allowing you to add more color to the skin with fewer passes over the desired area.
Curved Magnum Shader Needles
One subtype of the magnum shader needle is the curved magnum shader needle. They differ from basic magnum needles because they have a curved point that arches in the center. This allows for more constant ink dispersal, making this needle type ideal for tattoo sections with soft shading.
Double Stack Magnum Shader Needles
Double stack magnum shader needles with closely placed pins allow you to work with multiple pins within a smaller area. These needles act more compactly and prevent ink from spreading out, making them excellent for intricate line work or coloring.
Flat Shader Needles
The last needle group to consider having in your shop is the flat shader needle. These needles have pins placed in a straight line, forcing them to allow more ink into the skin than other needles. This makes them perfect for line work, as they make dark and clear lines that are not possible or would take more passes over the skin for other needle types to mimic.
6. Tattoo Ink
After choosing your tattoo machine and the needles you will need, you also have to consider the tattoo ink you want to use in your shop. It is important for you to think about housing a variety of ink sets and brands with multiple colors and pigments so your client has a wide range of options.
Having many ink options expands your ability to appeal to a broader range of clients and practice giving numerous tattoo styles. Different types of ink gives you the opportunity to work with multiple colors and can help you grow into your style as an artist. Experiment with inks that have different pigments and consistencies until you find what works best for you and your tattoo style.
There are various brands of ink that you should check out before deciding on what to carry in your shop, each one a quality option with unique advantages. For example, Electrum Ink, formulated for easy use, has superior brightness and excellent heals. Another option is Eternal Ink, which is a premium tattoo ink with individual bottles or full sets of bright colors. Alternatively, Dynamic offers premium black and white inks perfect for blending to get the perfect depth, detail and boldness in any tattoo.
7. Autoclave Sterilizer Machine
The most important thing about any tattoo shop is its sanitization and its cleaning process. In the tattooing industry, it is vital to have an autoclave machine to keep your clients safe and healthy. Autoclave machines guarantee high-quality sterilization by using pressurized steam to kill any bacteria or microorganisms lingering on reusable tattoo tools.
8. Good Lighting
An important part of any type of studio is good lighting. Ensure quality artistry by creating a space with high visibility and various lighting options to allow you to do your best work. Whether you decide on just using the overhead lights, fluorescent lights or a ring light to add some extra brightness, make sure you like the position of the light and its illumination so that it allows you to see all the details you need for the tattoo.
9. Sharps Container
As required by the Food and Drug Administration, you must dispose of any single-use needles, razors or sharp objects used for body modification into a sharps container. A sharps container is a clearly labeled container made of hard, puncture-resistant plastic or metal that you should place all used needles or sharps into prior to disposing of them in the trash. This helps prevent accidental injury to customers and shop employees, including yourself.
Even though you must have an autoclave machine to sterilize tattoo equipment properly, you still need to stock your store with sanitizers and disinfectants. This includes both sterilizing solutions specific for your tattooing equipment and other surfaces and for your clients. Keeping your shop clean between customers shows that you value their health and want them to feel safe in your shop. Something as simple as wiping down commonly touched surfaces and cleaning the chairs between clients says a lot about your business, and that is something you want customers to notice.
Another thing to keep a stockpile of in your shop is disposable razors for shaving clients at the beginning of their tattooing process. You never want to reuse razors, so make sure you always have a bulk supply.
12. Personal Protective Equipment
Finally, although it is important that you prioritize the safety and comfort of your clients, you also need to think about yourself. As a tattoo artist, you work closely with multiple people throughout the day, which leaves you susceptible to bacteria and exposure to bodily fluids. Keep yourself safe by purchasing personal protective equipment, such as gloves, face masks, aprons, closed-toed footwear and eye protection. Similarly, always make sure to have backup soap in your shop so you can wash your hands at the appropriate times, especially before and after contact with a client.
Start Setting Up Shop Today With Electrum Supply
When running your own tattoo shop, it is essential to remember that while your art may be what attracts clients, it is your shop’s environment that dictates whether they become returning customers or not. With that in mind, you want to make sure you have the equipment and supplies you need to keep your studio clean and comfortable.
You can find the supplies you need to keep your shop stocked at Electrum Supply. As a leader in the tattoo industry for almost a decade, we pride ourselves on our high-quality supplies and premium equipment. Every product we sell meets the high standards set by our professional artists themselves.
With various tattoo supplies from tattoo machines and needles to inks and accessories, you're sure to find the tools you need to ensure success. Start shopping with us today to find everything you need to keep your shop stocked and clients coming back!