i love my shop



Describe Love and Hope in a sentence. A cosy and chilled tattoo parlour that doesn’t try too hard.

Tell us about the space. The studio consists of two connected buildings. The waiting room is new, but the tattooing takes place in a beautiful 1900s space with brick walls, a high ceiling, a skylight and a mezzanine. I didn’t want my studio to look like the classic clinical tattoo shop – I’ve given it more of a homely vibe. Our waiting room looks like a lounge and we have plenty of plants. We burn lots of incense and play calming music most of the time.

What were the biggest challenges of setting up shop? My biggest challenge was being a new mum while setting up the studio (my son Akira was five months old at the time) and still doing work at my old place in the meantime. Opening a business in the middle of a pandemic wasn’t ideal, either!

Talk us through a typical day at Love and Hope – what do you get up to? Days are so chilled and slow-paced for me now. We’re an appointmen­t-only studio, so I only tattoo one or two people a day – I don’t want to rush or have people in and out like a fast-food joint. Some days I share clients with Bekah who works here; others I hang out with the guys from Electric Ceremony who have a private studio next door. We’ve created a great community with the other businesses – we support each other as artists and friends rather than competitio­n.

What kind of relationsh­ip do you have with your customers? I have amazing relationsh­ips with my customers. With Auckland being such a small place, you have to make sure you don’t behave like an ass – giving people the time of day is primordial to me. People can be nervous, especially first-timers. There’s this general idea that tattoo shops can be intimidati­ng, so I try to make my space welcoming and judgment-free.

What type of tattooing are you known for? I don’t think I’m known for a particular style – I just do honest, bold and long-lasting tattoos. I get bored with just one style. Changing things up keeps you busy, and before Instagram, tattooers would do a variety of things, so I’m a traditiona­list in that sense.

What do you love about what you do? I love the freedom of coming here only when I need to tattoo, listening to whatever music I want, and working with people I choose. Also, having time for my family and getting to know people. As an immigrant myself, I’m fascinated by how multicultu­ral New Zealand is, and through tattooing I get to meet different people who change my views and shape me into who I am.

Are there any drawbacks? Not being in a busy street shop with lots of followers and advertisin­g can be unsettling, but I trust I’m taking an honest approach and am way happier now.

What’s your personal connection to tattoos? I didn’t want to have a 9-to-5 desk job, so I started getting tattooed 16 years ago to remove that option. I don’t want to be accepted by what’s considered ‘normal’. Tattoos define me as an outsider, and I can’t imagine myself without them. I get looks all the time while I carry my child in the pram, and my partner gets furious! I’m judged when I enter a fancy business because they assume I can’t afford things, but I find it fun to play with people’s views and change their minds eventually.

Where can we find out more? On Instagram at @lovehopeta­ttoo. For now, we’re keeping ourselves fairly undergroun­d!

 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia