‘Murder’ is in their business
THE trend among South Africans to express themselves through body art has lead to a flourishing of tattoo studios over the past few years.
And Kuils River brothers, Craig and Kallyn McGregor spotted a gap in their local market and opened the Murder Ink Tattoo & Piercing Lounge, allowing clients to express their personalities and passions in unique and sometimes rather strange ways.
The self-taught artists haven’t looked back since opening the studio.
“We could no longer find fulfilment in our careers. We both shared a passion for art, we are both perfectionists and so we thought the best way we could find fulfilment was to start our own business – build our own brand,” says 32-year-old Craig.
The market gap provided the brothers, who were inspired by their art teacher mother, an opportunity to develop as artists and practise their passion.
“In this industry one can either be an apprentice or learn the ropes as you go along. We taught ourselves from scratch. Kallyn started tattooing a year before I did, while I was still in the retail business. He laid down the foundation for our start-up and we both provided capital to keep things growing,” Craig says.
The name Murder Ink draws on popular culture and “murder” used as slang for doing something exceptionally well.
“We wanted it to be a name that would stick in the minds of the public, to become a household name,” say the brothers.
Once frowned upon, many people are now turning to ink to show who they are and to express their emotions.
In 2011, there were only 20 studios in greater Cape Town, and seven years later the number has risen to just under 90.
And when it comes to designs, there’s no limit to ideas.
“It can get crazy. One guy wanted a teardrop beneath his eye with the initials CPT. Others want us to cover up names of lovers they are no longer dating,” says Craig.
But the most weird request for Craig, was a tattoo of chicken wings and a pizza slice, while Kallyn helped an “elderly ladyin her 80s” surprise her boyfriend with a tattoo of his name on her rear end.
The McGregor brothers received training and mentorship from the Small Business Academy programme of the University of Stellenbosch Business School. They were among 20 Western Cape township entrepreneurs selected for a nine-month programme
TATTOO artist Craig McGregor fulfils Carl Abrahams’s body art fantasy by making his request a reality. During the past few years, body art has seen a rise in interest, witnessed by the growing number of studios and events. |