Rooster Down Tattoo Gallery's artists see possibilities wherever they look. Blank skin becomes a canvas for intricate tattoos—vibrant portraits that wrap around arms, backs, and antlers. So when it came time for Rooster's team of artists to purchase a business, they took a similar approach and looked for another blank canvas. After much searching, the artists found their perfect location—a vintage home more than 100 years old.
With two stories, the classic house makes visitors feel more like guests than customers. Upon entering, the staff invites patrons to lounge atop a waiting room's leather couches and watch a flat-screen TV, which hangs directly above a fireplace. The team then leads patrons into one of several private tattoo rooms. Here, Rooster's resident and visiting artists—artists like Graydon Payne and Melissa Senesac—get to work away from any distractions, such as a right-bicep dragon tattoo coming to life and playing the left-bicep trombone tattoo. The artists' steady hands can emblazon bodies with vibrant custom artwork or, alternatively, use EliminInk tattoo-removal technology to restore skin to a blank slate.
Calling itself a “friendly neighborhood tattoo boutique,” Two Birds Tattoo, opened by Ruby Santiago and Suzy Todd in 2010, sits on a busy street in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood. The shop’s four women staff artists work in a sedately lit, no-nonsense space, promising custom-designed work for each customer. If anything, the hardwood-draped setting of Two Birds feels more like a spa than a typical tattoo parlor, and the luxurious seating and clean workspace further add to the elegant, professional vibe. They’re gracious about sharing tips on what to expect from a procedure to how to care for a tattoo as it heals, and are always willing to show off their past artistic successes.
To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, ?She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.?
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand?s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.
Tattoo artists April Cornell and her husband Jeff brought their distinct style of body art to Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood in 2007, opening Hidden Hand Tattoo. The shop’s five regular artists – not to mention the occasional guest artist – work with clients from all over King County to create body art in a comfortable, inviting atmosphere that feels more like a modern furniture store than a tattoo shop. Particularly nice for first-time clients, the shop keepers are cool about sharing examples of the artists’ past work and are willing to answer frequently asked questions from how to care for your tattoo to the oft-uttered “Does it hurt?” The shop is open daily from noon to 8 p.m., and gladly accepts walk-ins when possible.
Professional tattoo artists Sasha King and Micah Nelson preside over a choir of buzzing needles as they ink clients with designs that range from detailed black-and-white portraits to simple kanji letters. Though immaculately clean, their Edmonds studio eschews the coldness of a medical clinic in favor of a warmth that reflects the artists’ own dispositions. While Sasha and Micah outfit skin with colorful sleeves or all-black tuxedo vests, their piercing counterparts embellish ears, lips, noses, and brows with studs or surgical steel rings.
Liberty Tattoo recently moved from their University District digs to a new, stylish Lower Queen Anne site, complete with colorful accents, leather chairs and dark wood flooring. But the popular Seattle tattoo shop still offers the same quality of stylistic body art from three regular artists that each provide distinctive artistic touches. You can swing through for cartoonish depictions of an evil magician, colorful and majestic butterflies or the usual array of barbed-wire arm bands and old English lettering. The clean and lively storefront is open from noon to 10 p.m. daily, catering to both tattoo junkies and body art first-timers.