Compliance on Steroids - 31/7/2018

| Tuesday July 31

Small Biz Matters – a half hour program each week where you can work ON your business rather than IN it.
with Alexi Boyd from Boyd Office Management Services
Date: 31 July 2018

Compliance, a very annoying and unavoidable part of running a small business. But you think YOU’VE got it tough? You haven’t experienced  anything like the hoops, hurdles and red tape the tattoo industry has to put up with just to start operating let alone exist. However you feel about the practise itself this legitimate industry has to go through an almost surreal set of parameters to exist.

Here to share her incredibly resilient journey is Erika from local tattoo enterprise Black Widow. I guarantee after this ½ hour show you’ll never complain again about what you’re expected to comply to.

Welcome to the show Erika.

  • What does the Tattoo industry do for the greater public?

    • That the tattoo industry actually does a lot for the general public. People come to us artists for artwork that commemorates lost loved ones, personal expression, pain of divorce or brake ups and appearance remedies. We provide our artwork services and listen to our customer story with an unbiased opinion. Over the Recent years young ones come in for self-harm scar cover options also.

  • Red tape is in the tattoo industry with regard to gaining leasing property having it compliant by council and set up all has to be done prior to the Operator license application  

    • It can take longer than 13 months to be granted.

    • Not one legitimate person in small business can afford to keep a shop open for any length of time without trading!

  • Licensing issues

    • SLED and NSW Fair Trading do not communicate to each other let alone their clients ‘us’ - the tattoo industry who pay a lot of money for their licenses.

    • In Erika’s experience paperwork is misplaced and all of this falls on your license being granted or not.

    • There are police finger and palm prints required for each license, each time.

    • Without this the small business owner has to wait to be allowed to trade.  

    • The police have the power to take a license away if they feel someone is not of ‘good character’.

  • Insurance

    • The high insurance premiums make it hard to obtain a premise leases

    • The landlord housing a tattoo shop have their premiums increased.

  •  Where do you see the industry in the future?

    • I personally would like to see the actual role or position of a tattoo artist more promoted or obtainable for kids in their future.

  • So why do you do it?

    • A tattoo artist financially will always be able to put food on the table and as a career it’s one of the best in the world! There is not a better feeling than doing a great tattoo and having your customer super happy with it.

    • I go home happy nearly every day. It’s the best job in the world!

    • My shop has entered the small business awards this year and I'm hoping it does well as recognition through a NSW local business chamber will be a positive step for the Tattoo industry.


Here is Erika’s story in her own words…

Having my license granted took me 13 months and nearly killed me, literally as I was closed by possibly corruption associated police and poorly implemented regulations.

I followed the NSW Tattoo Operator instructions from NSW Fair Trading by the book, keeping emails and noting down all correspondence and advice. I had obtained my NSW Tattoo license prior to working at Bondi Ink in Oct 2013. I moved to Aussie from NZ as the tattoo licensing was being introduced and I supported the industry movement.

In my first year of business I built my team up to 4 and we attended the first Sydney Tattoo show in March 2016. The following Monday after the event I had police contact all my team and tell them my shop was closed down. I then was contacted by an officer who told my licence was removed and I cannot trade. I also had Police attend my premise and inform me I am not to trade until further notice.... I contacted NSW fair trading, business chamber, local MP, the ATO, ASICS the media and the police ombudsman, ATG, my lawyer, my accountant – any one ‘pleading’ help as I was on the verge of losing everything.

I lost my premises, my team, my car to pay my team out and had to go and contract car paint for work in Sydney to try and save up for my shop’s re-opening.

The reasoning of which I still have not had. Now anyone who knows me has a clear view that I will never in this life time be affiliated. I have done ‘my time’ since 2005 in Queensland in a  (awful experience as a apprentice) - I have 17 years later earned the right to my own shop.

By the time I was re-instated with my operator license I had gone from a full business where we had a team that had just taken time off together and attended a Sydney tattoo show promoting our shop. To just $900 in my bank account.  

My Customers and my team sat with me on a daily basis, waiting for the phone call or ‘okay’ you can keep trading… I was in despair and couldn’t resolve the situation. I made it public knowledge that if I cannot tattoo and custom paint then there is no place for me on this planet.

I am a small business owner, I do everything I am told to via the regulatory Organisations - so I should be able to make my small tattoo business work here in NSW!

I finally found a location where I wouldn’t be trading on any existing tattoo shops toes and re-opened my premise. I had a Current Operator License AND a ‘merged’ licenses doc and corresponded from NSW fair trading to make sure everything was ticked off stating mistakes cannot happen again in all written correspondences.  I have not heard from any authority since and am currently licensed with both a Tattoo artist and Tattoo operator license.

To find out more go to their website: