Getting a tattoo for the first time is scary.
You don’t want to get it wrong. You don’t know what the process is. You need a friend to take you through the process.
You hope that friend will be the artist.
“Marsh marigold” and “wrist or foot” sound good enough for me, but artists, like Ricky, want details:
- Precise location: Inner right arm, top upper left arm?
- Size: Measurements, 6cm square.
- Composition: Elements of the design matter - an eagle and a blue-tit differ both in design, but often in tone and style.
- References: The easiest way to show the style is by supplying reference photos of the work they liked.
The best artists get booked up fast. They have a waiting list, often months to years long, and they don’t want to waste time on clients who aren’t serious.
At best, first-timers will get a terse reply and a request for a deposit. Most of the time, they’ll be ignored.
Based on our artists’ interviews, and online discussion forums there were a few common pain points:
- Repetitive Administration: Emails often go on for too long. Some artists spend 65-70% of their time on administrative tasks and talking to clients. Not doing what they love.
- Client Comprehension: Clients don’t know what they want. They don’t know what to ask for. They don’t know what to expect. They don’t know how to communicate their needs.
- Poor Quality Clients: Clients who wait till the last minute to haggle, or don’t understand shop etiquette.
- Cancellations: Some clients don’t show up, and despite having a waiting list for months. Empty slots cannot be filled with short notice (<1 day) using conventional forms of advertising.
- Social overload: Artists have many incoming funnels to track (email, Instagram, phone, in-person).
However, clients are also struggling:
- Misunderstandings: Clients don’t know the lingo, and often are afraid to say what they want. To the point of horror stories of walking out with tattoos too large or in an unwanted position because they didn’t speak up.
- Artist Quality: The best artists aren’t missing clients. However, the new clients are missing the best artists.
- Care: Tattoos are permanent, they’ve got to heal right to look right. It is vital to get the after-care process correct.
- Unfriendly artists: Artists we’ve discovered, are people. There can be nice, but they can also get irritated with being asked the same questions over and over.
What you need is to be individually guided through the process by someone who isn’t the artist. ‘inkstep.’ is an app that plays that knowledgeable friend, telling you what you need to know, every step of the way.
Creating the Perfect Email, first time.
The app guides you through the process of collecting precisely the right information. It’s a series of questions that help you understand what you want, and what you need to ask for.
We focused on visual examples to contextualize difficult questions such as dimensions in centimeters.
The result is an email sent through the artist’s preferred channel, with all the information they need to give you a quote.
By keeping the client in-app and the artist in-email we can automatically send notifications and messages between the artist and client.
For the client, we can also automate rapid-fire responses that would otherwise have been too slow for email.
Artist can then reply to the booking email and respond with a quote, and date in natural text. This is then sent straight to the client’s app.
Waiting List & Cancellations
Another solution provided by inkstep. was dealing with last-minute openings. Artists mark open slots and can send them in real-time to clients on the waiting list. The clients who respond quickest can lock in the slot using real-time notifications.
If you miss out on the slot you get a personalized message from the artist and a reminder for when your appointment is.
Your journey isn’t complete once you’ve finished your appointment. You need to take care of your tattoo to make sure it heals properly.
No one wants to have a bad tattoo, and proper aftercare is the number one way to ensure it looks good.
Artists do their best to advise on proper aftercare after the appointment, but often they get frustrated:
“It’s like banging your head against a brick wall. 9 times out of 10 [clients don’t listen to aftercare instructions].”
“Don’t panic if it looks like s██t!”
Why does this happen? Well, imagine you’ve just come out of your first tattoo appointment, and someone’s been poking you with a needle for the last few hours. You’re not in the most receptive mood to learn.
inkstep. aftercare will drop in tips and messages when you need them, for example:
- Within 1-2 hours of appointment: Remove the bandage, to let the tattoo breathe. Do not re-bandage, but keep off-white surfaces.
- … 6 instructions later …
- After Day 3 or 4: Your tattoo will begin to peel - it won’t look good. This is normal! Do not pick at the skin.
The whole package.
Let’s take a quick breather and look at the whole inkstep.
- Clients desperately want their artists to be friendly.
- Artists desperately want their clients not to waste their time.
inkstep. is a tool that helps both sides. It’s a tool that helps you find the right artist and helps the artist find the right client.