Jennifer Brown co-owns One Love Tattoos. (Courtesy One Love Tattoos)
Jennifer Brown, a fourth-generation Georgetown resident, initially opened the store in Might 2012 with husband Travis Crow. Enterprise was good, and One Love expanded to incorporate a smoke store as properly.
Each Friday the thirteenth, the store affords $20 tattoos, an trade custom, in line with Brown. Sometimes, One Love will do a minimal of 200 tattoos in the course of the occasion, however on March 13 enterprise was half that. For Brown, this was a primary signal the coronavirus pandemic was going to have an effect on enterprise.
The store determined to permit just one artist to work on the premises at a time to take care of social distancing however then determined to quickly cease tattooing altogether despite the fact that it was not legally enforced but.
Rules heightened and lasted longer than Brown anticipated. Since CBD was deemed important, she was capable of maintain the smoke store portion of the enterprise open, which served as a life line, she stated.
“We began providing curbside pickup and free supply in the event that they lived in Georgetown and took fee data over the cellphone,” she stated.
On the identical time, Brown discovered she wouldn’t be capable to renew her constructing lease, so she discovered a brand new constructing and labored to get a certificates of occupancy and utilities turned on. She buckled down and moved her show instances and merchandise at the hours of darkness, she stated.
As Texas started its phased reopening, Brown stated she anticipated tattoo retailers to be at the side of hair salons, barbershops and tanning salons as a result of they’re taxed the identical and undergo the identical state licensing division—however that didn’t occur. Different private service companies opened, however tattoo retailers had been dubbed as leisure companies and denied to open.
“I’d get 10 to twenty cellphone calls a day asking if we had been open for tattoos and piercings, and I’d clarify no, we need to play by the foundations and wait to be allowed to legally open,” she stated. “There’s already a [negative] stereotype with tattoos.”
In a approach, tattoo retailers are a safer, cleaner place than a restaurant, for instance, Brown stated.
“Artists must undergo yearly coaching for infectious ailments and blood-borne pathogens,” she stated. “We have now to imagine everybody might have one thing and have to guard ourselves and future purchasers. On high of that, the Division of State Well being Companies has inspectors to go to the retailers and ensure they’re in compliance. We use the identical medical provides and cleansing merchandise like your clinic or dental facility that has been allowed to conduct enterprise.”
On Might 18 the tattoo trade was permitted to reopen, however Brown was nonetheless ready to have her special-use allow accredited by the town because of metropolis code placing heavier restrictions on tattoo retailers.
“Tattooing, whereas fully mainstream now, continues to be managed by the legal guidelines written by a era the place tattooing was thought of just for these of little morals,” she stated. At the moment [many people] have them—medical doctors, police, nurses, academics, and so on. They’re a type of self expression.”
Brown stated she believes the kind of legal guidelines that roadblocked her skill to open in Georgetown are the identical legal guidelines that didn’t initially embrace tattoo retailers as knowledgeable service within the plan to reopen Texas.
She requested the Georgetown Metropolis Council exempt one part—including a sidewalk—of the special-use allow necessities and agreed to meet the others, such enhancing the panorama.
Council accredited the special-use allow with the exemption June 23, and the enterprise had appointments prepared.
“Sadly it took them somewhat over two months to approve when instances weren’t as excessive,” Brown stated. “This week [July 1] due to the quantity of constructive COVID-19 assessments in our neighborhood we have determined to halt tattoo appointments till [positive test] numbers are again underneath 10%. We’re attempting to be proactive. The shut proximity for prolonged durations of time usually are not beneficial, and we can’t afford to cease all operations if considered one of us will get sick.”
One Love continues to be doing piercings, except for these within the mouth, because it doesn’t take greater than 10 minutes, together with paperwork, Brown stated.
“The smoke store is open for retail,” she stated. “We’re hoping the ordinance for face masks will assist sluggish the unfold so we are able to get again to tattooing.”