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TATTOOS FOR TOTS

by Britt Chester

| @awfullybrittishThe rebellious stigma associated with tattoos and tattoo artists is shifting, and whether that’s attributed to a dying generation of conservative baby boomers, or the public acceptance of an evolving status quo, it’s happening.

Emily Rose and Drew Collins, two veteran tattoo artists who just last year opened their own shop in downtown Lewisville, The Family Stone Tattoo, are helping that shift of acceptance by creating tattoo guns for children. To be even more specific, creating tattoo guns for their daughter, May, who has been around tattooing for all of her 18 months of life.

“(May) has a little brass Eiffel Tower and she holds it upside down and draws on her hands,” said Collins, 29. “She heard the buzz of the gun for the first eight and a half months of her life.”

The toy, which is currently in its infant state of production just as its intended demographic, is a perfect toddler replica of a tattoo gun. The idea wasn’t to influence her into tattooing, but rather to merge her childish curiosity with her parent’s chosen profession.

At the age of 30, Rose has been tattooing for almost 10 years, having spent much of that time at Little John’s Tattoo, Emerald City Tattoo and Golden Spiral Tattoo, all based in Greensboro. Born and raised in Winston-Salem and Lewisville, Rose made the decision with boyfriend Collins to relocate to Lewisville after the birth of their daughter to be closer to family, and to open their own shop.

Collins has been living in the Triad area for almost five years, but has been tattooing for roughly a decade. Alongside Rose, he moved from shop to shop, and the two have become an inseparable duo of creativity and ideas, and they are enjoying every minute of it. When they moved to Lewisville to open Family Stone Tattoo, they tapped John Slater and Molly Dix, a tattoo artist and piercer whom they already knew, to work with them. Slater is currently tattooing at Family Stone, and Dix is the piercer for the studio.

Both Collins and Rose describe themselves as “professional children,” and Collins actually has a past that includes being professional at yo-yoing. The idea to create a toy happened upon them, as Collins describes, in the same way a band with no name stumbles upon the perfect epithet.

The “Mini Tattoo Machine,” a tentative name for the toy, was just a toss-around idea before Rose put it into production, and that’s when it took off.

“I order these pieces already cut, stick them together and then paint it,” Rose said. She began selling them on Etsy, a popular outlet for entrepreneurial crafters and artists, and reached out to the woman at Etsy who is in charge of wholesale. She “liked” and “favorited” some items on Rose’s page, and then the followers and page views started rolling in.

“It’s all just happening so fast,” Collins said, partially laughing while at the same time realizing that a small idea has snowballed. “This is my ninth year tattooing, and I’m not over it or past it, but it doesn’t wholly define me as a person. This part, branching out, is just an extension of who we are.”

The Mini Tattoo Machine retails for $20, and Rose has set up a GoFundMe page to seek out investment for bringing more of the children’s tattoo guns into production.

“We have an empty building for a studio, but we don’t have a pile of money to get the equipment,” Rose explained. She es tablished the GoFundMe page, and in the first few days received more than $5,000 in investment to put towards her idea.

To help Emily and Drew bring the idea into full production, search Mini Tattoo Machine at GoFundMe.com. !

WANNA go?

The Family Stone Tattoo shop is open from 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. most days. Appointments can be made by calling (336)757-6388. The Family Stone Tattoo is located at 6285 Shallowford Road in Lewisville, North Carolina. Find more information at Facebook.com/TheFamilyStoneTattoo, or follow Emily Rose on Instagram at @EmilyRoseArt, and Drew Collins at @DrewCollinsTattoo.

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