It wasn’t too long ago that tattoo parlours felt like part of the underground movement – tucked away out of sight in upstairs rooms and basements. Things have changed a bit since then.
Today, studios are everywhere – thousands of them standing proudly on UK high streets in big cities and tiny villages alike. The tattoo industry has modernised and mobilised in the 21st century – stepping up to cater for a surging demand that’s only intensified after becoming pent-up during COVID lockdowns.
It feels like more people than ever are looking to learn about getting tattoos. And there’s plenty of information out there. At least, until the ink has dried.
According to Danny Birch – owner of the wildly popular Heart For Art tattoo studio in Stalybridge – info on tattoos largely stops after the needle hits the skin. Customers have all the feedback they need to make an informed decision on what designs to get – but only a cursory knowledge of how to take care of them.
Danny’s other business – Tatfresh – is aiming to change that.
“I noticed there was a gap in the market for tattoo aftercare,” Danny tells The Manc.
“A lot of what’s already out there is just repurposed nappy rash cream. But what we have at Tatfresh is a blend of just seven different organic ingredients – all natural – cutting out all the crap you just don’t need.”
Having been a tattooist for 12 years – launching one of the best-loved local studios in the process – Danny understands the importance of tattoo aftercare, and realised there simply wasn’t a good enough product out there to help people truly look after their skin.
Using contacts at Salford University, Danny and his business partner Ste Bacon came up with a concept and put it into a real testing environment – developing the solution over a period of three years to the highest standards.
As industry pros, Danny and Ste knew which ingredients were required to improve the appearance, health and longevity of tattoos – as well as how to add depth and boldness to designs. They crafted all these ingredients together – and the result was a plant-based, vegan and all natural skincare balm that actually worked.
It was something the industry had never seen before – helping improve healing rates of inked skin and reduce the number of infections – all whilst extending the lifespan of tattoo appearance.
Unsurprisingly, the product took off like a rocket – with major retailers even expressing an interest until lockdowns threw up a stumbling block.
Tatfresh is quickly becoming the go-to brand for tattoo care – allowing people to both recover from and prep for any appointments.
But what Danny is truly most interested in is what Tatfresh can teach people.
“We’re here to celebrate the culture,” he explains.
“The balm isn’t just a skincare product. We see it as a vehicle for education in the industry. We want to start the conversation and get people talking about how to look after their tattoos in the right ways.
“Everyone should have access to a balm that works for them. And know how to use it.”
At its heart, Tatfresh is a wellbeing platform – and this yearning to help others was plain as day during the height of the pandemic.
When COVID hit, Tatfresh gave away boxes upon boxes of balm to the NHS – posting them around the UK so frontline workers could keep their skin healthy and soothe cracked hands.
“We didn’t want to sit still [during lockdown],” Danny stated.
“We’re not those kinds of people.”
The business owners are so restless, in fact, that they’ve worked on morphing the balm into four separate products.
Alongside the Tatfresh skin care balm, the solution has been repurposed for different markets. Offshoots include Grandma’s Magic Balm for skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis, Sampson’s Rescue Balm as skincare for dogs, and an Exo Balm for the sport market – helping athletes recover faster from injuries.
But Danny emphasises whichever format the solution comes in – it does the trick.
The public feedback so far has been glowing, and Danny thinks he knows why.
“Our balm is the only one that works,” he states.
“And it heals unlike anything else out there.”
Tatfresh are now reaching out to tattoo studios, barber shops and retail with wholesale opportunities. Get in touch at [email protected]
More information on Tatfresh is available online.