Well, it all started back in my hometown, Hartville, OH. I was born and raised in that little town. Went to school in the same district from Elementary all the way to High School. Like most teenage boys, education wasn't my biggest priority back then. It seems like I did everything in school except my work. Long story short, my senior year I dropped out. Once I dropped out I immediately realized that I didn't make the best of decisions. Mainly because all my friends were still in school, so it's not like I really had much to do. So I held onto as much pride as possible and enrolled into a school that was for kids who dropped out (to help the family, raise a kid, or just being a turd). Needless to say I didn't fit in all that well there, but before I left that school (for some unforeseen reason) one of the guidance councilors liked me enough to help me out. They enrolled me into a program called JOGs (Jobs for Ohio Graduates). This program was designed to get kids in school (such as the one I was in) into the work force, so that they could have work experience before they graduated. Kicker was, we were paid by the government (not the employer) so it was incentive for employers to give us a chance at no cost. Now all I had to do was pick a place. Well, there was a little tattoo shop down the road from me and so I had thought, hmmmm.... I know how to draw, I can smoke all the cigarettes I want, and I don't have to wear a uniform to work. Yeah, I think I will pick this place. Of course hearing the news of not having to pay me, Brian (the own of my first shop I worked at) was like "I don't have to pay him? Fuck yeah"! So yeah, I was paid by the government to go through my apprenticeship. Starting the next day and for the next 4 years I worked and learned at Artistic Expressions under Brian.
I learned quite a bit, but at some point in time a bird has to fly from the nest. I originally left to get a regular job, but I quickly caught wind of a shop close to my new home that was looking for an artist. I worked at Artistic Embrace (ironically named similar my first shop) for about a year. The situation was less than ideal, and I didn't see eye to eye with the owners' opinions on how a shop/ business should be ran. We had a dispute one night and I decided it was time for me to pack my things. Given that I had already received a job offer at another shop, it was a painless move for me to make.
Aaaand the 3rd shop arises. I wont even give this shop the credit of naming it, because this shop was beyond a joke. I made decent money here though, so I stuck it out for almost 2 years. For the sake of not going on a rant longer than the Declaration of Independence, I'm going to fast forward over this whole time. But on a plus side, I learned about 500,000 things to NOT do as a business owner, or artist!
I spent the next 2-3 years between guest spots, working from home, and helping a dear friend out at her newly opened shop. Then my wife and I finally decided it was time for us to leave the state of Ohio and move to the all too great Atlanta, Georgia.
The first month was probably the hardest thing my wife and I have ever done. Anything that could go wrong, did. My transmission blew in my car while I still had to take a trip back to Ohio to get the rest our stuff while my wife stayed here in Georgia all alone, our apartment we were supposed to get fell through 2 days before we moved, and we had to stay in a hotel. I then took a job in Alabama to help pay for my car to get fixed. I was never home, and the list just keeps going on and on. You get the point though.
After a month things smoothed out and I found a shop in Marietta, called Unique Ink. I worked there for an amazing year and a half before I decided I was done making other people rich, and it was time to do what my wife and I moved here for. That was opening our own tattoo shop up!
It took almost 2 months before we finally found a place (we heard countless no's or we can't have a tattoo shop here), but by sheer luck my neighbor told us about the place she works at, and they had openings available. I wasn't the most enthused about opening my business in a suite, but it was an option I had to at least give a try. Needless to say, it was a perfect match for us. Over the next few months, I learned all the rules, regulations, and what nots that Georgia had about not only having a tattoo shop, but being a business owner.
It was a roller coaster of 10 years leading up to this, but I would do it all over again! It was worth every stressing night, every fail, every success, and every lesson I learned. Plus having that to share with my wife makes it that much better.
Oh and as for the name of the shop...
At my first shop I worked at, if there was something I couldn't learn there, I would watch YouTube videos. There was one channel in particular that I favored, Billy Hill. A vloger that had a shop (Envy Skin Gallery) in Columbus, OH. He always said it was "Tatty Zapping time" in his videos. That always stuck with me. So when it was time to register our business, it almost seemed like a no brainer. And that's how Tatty Zaps Tattoos was born!