This past week, I took it upon myself to go interview a super cool GirlBoss in the tattoo industry, Miss Alex Roll. Alex’s studio is based in Harrisonburg, Virginia and I must say it is one of the most welcoming studios I have ever stepped foot in! The interior is super chic and modern and Alex includes “homey” touches to really make you feel safe and welcomed! I had such a blast interviewing Alex and learning about her expertise. She is absolutely a gem and her work is incredible!
What prompted you to open Aesthetics Tattoo?
Due to the male dominated aspect of the industry, Alex expressed to me that she was ready to be under her own management and really work in a place that projected what she represents. Alex emphasized that she really wanted a place where “all bodies were welcomed” and somewhere that was a safe space to get tattooed.
Do you like being your own boss?
Alex verbalized that not being her own boss was her downfall in the past and that she enjoys having her own space and loves being in charge of herself.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
Alex identifies that no day is ever the same but usually she will create and do 2 to 3 tattoos on a regular day. She draws up tattoos on her iPad based on what the client is looking for and she does “try to work with them as much as possible,” in order to create the perfect tattoo.
What is the most inspiring or craziest tattoo you have ever created?
Alex verbalizes that she has definitely done some goofy creations in the past and that people try to “cut corners” by leaving words out of a quote for a cheaper price. She says the weirdest tattoo she has done was a fish riding a unicycle.
Can you see yourself expanding your business in the future?
Alex says that a possible idea in the future is for some apprentices to run her Harrisonburg shop and have her travel as a guest Tattoo artist. Since Alex is still new to the industry, she explained you need to have your license for five years to officially train someone, so this idea would not be for a few years. I asked if piercing was something she would be interested in doing along with the tattooing but she explained with a giggle that the piercing through the skin was something that made her nauseous and uneasy in which I agreed.
What advice would you give any women looking to start their own business.
Alex recommends to not take no for an answer, even though people will have a “standard” way of doing something. She recommends to take risks and that the worst case scenario is that it will not work leading you to go back to your original plan.
What are the pros and cons of being a female owned tattoo shop?
Alex explained her frustration that people assume her front desk man, Arthur, is the tattoo artist just because he is a man. She also told me that it is common for her to have to try and gain trusts from her clients, sometimes assuming that since she is a woman she is not a credible artist. She says this is not common but happens on occasion. On the other hand, Alex explains that female or members of the LGBTQ+ community often feel more comfortable getting tattooed by her, along with her intimate space; making them feel at ease.
What is the biggest takeaway you have from owning your own business, as a woman?
“Keep pushing,” Alex explained how it was hard for her to find even a space for her studio. She really wants to change the stigma of tattoos and make it focused on the art aspect. She emphasizes how important it is to “do whatever the client wants,” which is what she feels that some man in the industry get hung up on wanting to do what THEY want and not the client. Alex makes it a clear point that she is there to please the client and work with them in order to give them their dream tattoo.
If you guys want to visit Alex at her studio for a tattoo, Aesthetics Tattoo is located on 1790 E Market St, Harrisonburg, Virginia (22801) !