Devin Lemble is a licensed tattoo artist in Jackson, Michigan. After graduating high school in 2017, he went through an apprentice program including certifications in CPR and bloodborne pathogens and became licensed within a year.
Devin has been in love with art since he was about three years old. His parents nurtured this passion, providing him with various tools and resources throughout his childhood. By high school, Devin was participating in art competitions, one of which he was elected by his school district to enter his designs into a competition for Vans Custom Culture. It was during this time that Devin decided to pursue art in any form as a lifelong career.
Upon graduation from high school, Devin has worked towards achieving his dream of owning his own tattoo shop. In 2018, Devin received his license for tattooing and is currently working as an independent tattoo artist under the name Blazed Ink, traveling around the Jackson, Michigan area. This experience has allowed Devin to find his own unique style and develop a diverse design portfolio.
Ultimately, Devin’s goal is to open his own tattoo shop in Michigan that showcases a variety of talented artists with diverse styles. One of his favorite parts about the tattoo industry is how every artist brings their own style of tattooing to designs. A simple idea can be transformed into so many different designs, it’s all about finding an artist whose work you can connect with.
What inspires you to open a Tattoo Parlor?
I feel as though I’ve created my own path to this point already and I want to continue a path forward. I want to continue to do things, the way that I think they should be done. For me, it means opening and operating my own tattoo parlor.
How do you as a Tattoo Artist, make money?
It depends on the size of the design, amount of colors, and whether it is a custom piece or something from my flash designs. Custom pieces require more effort, so it’s more expensive. Currently, I am building my portfolio, so my work is on the cheaper side compared to tattoo artists who have been in the game for decades.
How did you find your first customer?
I was working on some practice skin and a friend saw the design and wanted the tattoo very badly. I took the practice skin to school and others saw it and then they all wanted tattoos.
What is one marketing strategy beyond referrals that you’re using that’s working well to generate new business?
I’ve mainly relied on word-of-mouth and it’s is still working wonders for me. Many of my clients are friends of people I have tattooed, which is awesome because they get to see my designs in person on flesh before they decide to work with me. It’s a good feeling to know that people are basically walking advertisements for my work!
I eventually hope to focus more on my social media presence. Videos of me tattooing and explaining the process would be a great way to get my face out there.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
I recently had an opportunity to go to work with someone else, but for various reasons, I declined. Yes, it would have given me some more exposure, but it would also have taken away from my business itself, my shop.
What do you think makes you successful?
What makes me successful is probably my stubbornness and determination. I can be a bit of a perfectionist and I won’t take on clients who have an idea that I know won’t turn out well. Additionally, I work hard to gain confidence from my clients. I am always researching the safety and health aspects of the inks used so there are no problems to be had.
What does the future hold for you, and what are you most excited about?
Simply that I love the work, I love what I do. I’m gaining a reputation in this field and I am confident that the business will grow. The more I tattoo and work on my skills, the more artists I connect with. I know that when the time is right to open my own shop, I will have a connection to a bunch of talented artists who I could offer a stable gig to.
What business books have inspired you?
Tattoo World, by Michael Kaplan and Marisa Kakoulas. It is an absolutely beautiful book full of pictures of tattoos, as well as how they have evolved over the years. Everything from Ancient customs to mainstream art now, and biographies of tattoo artists.
What is a recent purchase that you’ve made that’s helped with your business?
Containers for transporting my equipment. As a traveling artist, moving locations means moving a lot of equipment. I’ve spent a lot of money on this equipment and I know the more I take care of it the longer it’ll last.
Is there anything you’ve learned from sports that carry over to life in general, and/or business?
Work hard and you can achieve your goals. If you keep failing or running into challenges, it’s time to switch up your point of attack. Build new skills and develop a new perspective without ever losing sight of your goal.