Rethinking Ink: Reno-Carson Tattoo Removal Stores Manage Growing Demand
Ron and Melanie Gregory, owners of Reno Tattoo Removal, at their store in Midtown Reno. The husband and wife duo say they have been busier than ever throughout the pandemic.
Photo by Kaleb Roedel.
“I was thinking that no one is going to want to get a laser anymore,” said Ron Gregory, Founder and Certified Tattoo Removal Professional at Reno Tattoo Removal. “Everyone is panicking right now, no one is doing anything; they’ll just be happy to comfortably return to the grocery store, without worrying about having their tattoos removed.
“I didn’t know if we were going to survive after the pandemic. I expected to come back and he was just dead.
It turns out he had it all wrong. As soon as Reno Tattoo Removal turned their lights (and lasers) back on, the Gregories saw a flood of booking requests from old clients and consultation requests from new clients.
“We knew that as soon as we could start making an appointment, we would have old clients who were already in their mid-term and needed to finish,” Gregory said. “But we didn’t prepare for the influx of new people.”
As the pandemic has sparked a boom in the number of people getting tattoos – whether to embrace a new form of self-expression after months of social isolation or
Maybe the trend, said Gregory, is that people working from home have had more time to look at themselves in the mirror and have been inspired to make a change.
“There has been a lot of self-reflection during the pandemic,” Gregory said. “(It) takes you out of your normal daily routine and maybe makes you see the big picture differently -” I don’t like it about me “or” I have to get that old stuff out of here “or” it’s time for something new. ”
Each session lasts approximately 20 minutes, with costs ranging from $ 100 to $ 300 per session. The full withdrawal can take six to 10 sessions, depending on the size, spaced about six weeks apart, he noted, which means it can cost someone up to $ 3,000 to fully withdraw. a tattoo.
Some customers may want to remove a name inked on their arm or a gang-related tattoo on their face, Gregory said. Others just want to get rid of older body art that looks amateurish compared to their newer ink.
At the end of September, Reno Tattoo Removal’s annual revenue was up 20% from 2020, he said. Demand is so high that the Gregories – who have run the Midtown Reno store on their own since it opened in 2014 – have hired their first employee, who is apprenticing to become a technician.
“It was a big challenge realizing that it might get too big for both of us,” said Gregory. “There are just not enough hours in a day with my wife and I running the business and have three children.”
‘KISSED BY THE WORLD OF TATTOO’
Note: the Gregories themselves have tattoos. In fact, while some might assume that a tattoo removal company is the arch enemy of a tattoo shop, it is quite the opposite.
The Gregories have a close relationship with tattoo artists in the Reno area, who will direct people who want a cover-up – ink a previous tattoo with a new one – to their shop.
“It seems that over the past couple of years a lot of artists are just doing cover-ups unless they’ve been laser engraved,” he said. “It’s really cool to be embraced by the tattoo world. It is a tool for them to be able to do an amazing job. And the client is happy because he’s getting a cool tattoo, the artist is doing something he’s proud of, and I’m happy because I have to be a part of it.
Even before the pandemic, Gregory said, the tattoo removal market had grown rapidly due to advances in technology and the heightened awareness that removal may be a safe option for many rethinking tattoos. that they have been wearing for years.
So much so that the global market for tattoo removal by dermatologists, medical spas and laser technicians is expected to reach $ 4.8 billion by 2023, according to market research firm Kenneth Research.
MAKE A MOVEMENT
“We went from probably 150 to 200 clients who saw us regularly during their treatments to not being able to be opened at all,” said owner Jessica Raney. “It was devastating.”
While it was closed, Raney said she was getting “a lot of calls” for consultations. When restrictions eased and the European Fitness Center reopened in June 2020, Raney decided to stay closed.
The owner of Reversible Ink also decided, for what she described as personal reasons, to move her business from Reno to Carson City. Currently, Raney is in the process of opening up a 700 square foot space on Lone Mountain Drive in the capital.
Raney added that she is awaiting approval from the state health department and hopes to open Reversible Ink by the end of October. And she expects to be busy once her business is back up and running.
“We have already spoken to some of our repeat customers who are eagerly awaiting our reopening and are ready to make the trip from Reno,” said Raney. “We probably managed to save maybe 50 out of 200.”