Parkites get inked at new parlor
November 10, 2006
A Harris poll conducted in 2003 showed that more than 16 percent of the American population has one or more tattoos. Alyssa Tippetts’ goal is to be covered in them.
"I’m working on a full body suit," said Tippetts, who just opened Park City Ink with partner Jack Eldredge. "I can’t really pick out one tattoo because I plan to have from my wrists to my ankles covered eventually. And at one time or another I’ve had just about every piercing. You have to get it to be able to tell people what it feels like."
Park City Ink, perhaps the town’s first tattoo shop, opened officially Nov. 3. Eldredge and another employee, Steve Tippetts, are the tattoo artists while Alyssa Tippetts specializes in body piercing.
"I just do the piecing, so I handle that end of the business, and Jack and Steve Tippetts handle all the tattooing," she said. "I’ve been doing body piercing for ten years and Jack has been tattooing since the 1980’s. I handle the business end of the corporation, too. It works out well."
The pair previously had shops in Springville and Orem, but wanted to move to Park City because of the significant difference in clientele from Utah County, as well as for the skiing.
"We actually moved to Park City to just enjoy the snow and serve the Park City community because we love the people up here," Tippetts said.
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She added that before coming to Utah Eldredge worked in "so many places I couldn’t even begin. He’s done tattoos in Los Angeles, New York, Maui everywhere."
Tippetts and Eldredge actually met when she came into his Springville shop to have a tattoo done. They hit it off and later became business partners.
"What got me interested is getting tattooed and pierced myself," Tippetts said. "I was interested in what I now give to other people. I did an apprenticeship and then I went to school in San Francisco, and yes, they do actually have schools for body piercing."
There are a handful of such schools across the country, most of which require students to have previously done an apprenticeship. Classes involve everything from blood-born pathogen training to first-aid and CPR.
Tippetts said that because she is a student of her craft, she has had most of the various types of piercing done herself so that she is better equipped to advise others. She also said the cartilage in her ear was the most uncomfortable.
Along the same lines, she also admitted that pain tolerance does not increase with each tattoo.
"It still hurts," she said. "I think it actually hurts more now than 10 years ago when I was younger."
Eldredge, who has done most of her tattoos, has collected tens of thousands of designs, and continues to create more every day. They range from the traditional to the outrageous, from fierce to sensual.
"What is really original about our business is we manufacture and design our own equipment, designs and body jewelry," Tippetts said. "I’m hoping the more diverse and liberal population of Park City will appreciate our diverse selection."
Eldredge has won several awards for his designs and tattoos, both locally and at national conventions. In order to bring Park City Ink to national standards, he is working to set up regulations with the Environmental Health Department to "protect us and the community."
"We just like to have some standards in our industry," Tippetts said."
Because of their high standards, Tippetts said they have been welcomed graciously into the community, including by their neighbors throughout the Treasure Mountain Inn Building.
"We love the TMI and our landlord has also been very generous and amiable throughout the process; the city has been so as well," she said. "It seems no matter where we go there is always someone interested in tattoos or piercing, even if ten others aren’t. It’s definitely the best place we’ve worked with as far as opening a facility."
With such a diverse population in Park City, Tippetts said their clientele has been varied, although business has been steady.
"Our client base goes from college students to lawyers to medical professionals to construction workers," she said. "It’s really diverse. We can’t stereotype anybody."
Tippetts said the types of piercing she has done have been just as assorted as the types of people asking for them.
"I get everything from the mild to the wild piercing," she said. "There are a lot more people walking down the street with secret piercing than you would ever know."
Park City Ink is located at 255 Main Street in the Treasure Mountain Inn Building and is open from noon to 8 p.m. daily. They can be reached at (435) 649-4972 or online at http://www.parkcityink.com.