Ink & Empower Rise of All-Woman Tattoo Studios


The storefronts in downtown Salisbury are getting more colourful as tattoo shops move in.

One such shop is Crybaby Tattoo, an all-woman-run tattoo shop led by owner and head tattoo artist Peach.

“I was working for so long as a tattooer at other tattoo shops, and I found an opportunity to express myself in a way,” she said.

While walking her dog, she lives downtown and saw a storefront that she thought could become the cutest tattoo shop ever. The now pink-adorned tattoo shop is at 225 E Main Street, next to Mojo’s Urban Eatery.

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‘It was almost like a sorting hat … kind of like Harry Potter.’

“I knew that if I put my shop here, it would attract attention from people driving by, and it just worked out like that. I probably wouldn’t have opened one anywhere except for downtown Salisbury,” she said.

Peach focuses on traditional tattoos. A style that features bold black lines with a limited colour palette.

Red, yellow and green are the colours used in traditional tattoos that help create a timeless look.

Originally from Chincoteague, Peach wanted to leave the Eastern Shore and found herself in Denver, Colorado. She first worked in a tattoo shop there and eventually learned to do piercings.

However, once she started piercing clients, she was told that she should begin tattooing.

“It’s almost like a sorting hat, like Harry Potter. You figure out which direction you will go in,” Peach said.

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‘I put my whole heart into tattooing.’

While in Denver, she worked for free while learning the ropes to become a better tattooer. She didn’t go out for fun either; instead, she performed to put tattoos on her skin.

“I put my whole heart into tattooing. I started as a shopgirl. It’s an honour that I can now offer the first woman-owned shop in Salisbury and the only woman-owned shop from here to Virginia Beach,” she said.

Working along with her is piecer Belle Scheeler. They’re neighbours and immediately connected.

Scheeler got into the industry by accident- a happy one. While earning a tattoo, she was told they were looking for a female piercer.

“I was like, I don’t know anything about piercings. I got in there, and I started learning, and it was the best happy accident, honestly,” Scheeler said.

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At Crybaby Tattoo, we talk about clients rather than competition.

When Peach was working to open her shop, Scheeler was one of the first resumes she received out of the hundreds she was sent over email or private messages on Facebook.

“I saw the opportunity to grow myself and be in a better environment with Peach, to grow and change as a piercer, and to serve a wide variety of people, which is something not many shops do,” Scheeler said.

Scheeler said that at Crybaby Tattoo, the focus is on their actual clients rather than competition with each other.

“That’s what is so different about here. You want to be here to help your clients and see that smile on their faces. Their reactions are everything to us,” Scheeler said.

Two more women make up the staff at Crybaby Tattoo: tattoo artist Savannah and shop girl Z.

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‘The two most amazing women I’ve ever met.’

Crybaby Tattoo doesn’t currently offer tattoo apprenticeships. Peach said she doesn’t have time to give her full attention to teaching an apprentice.

“I never thought having too much business would be a thing, but it is,” she said.

Instead, Z has been helping to run Crybaby Tattoo, doing paperwork, checking clients in, answering questions, cleaning and other tasks while shadowing Scheeler.

“I don’t have that much experience, and I have been looking for a good shop to get my foot in the door,” Z said. “Once I found Crybaby Tattoo, I knew there was no place I would rather be. There’s no one I’d rather have training me besides Peach and Belle. They are the two most amazing women I’ve ever met.”

Crybaby Tattoo isn’t just a place for women. It’s a safe place for all genders.

Peach said that no matter who walks through their doors, the priority is that they feel safe, welcome, happy and pretty simultaneously.

“And we want to see you again. Even if it’s just coming by to hang out with us, we make it comfortable here for a reason. We want you to stay for a while,” she said.

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‘Anything to make you comfortable. We’ll do it.’

Getting a tattoo is a lifelong commitment for most. It’ll be an experience that clients remember each time they look down and see their tattoo.

For anyone with disabilities or sensory issues, they’ll lock the door. Clients can bring their music. Snacks, water, juice boxes and candy are provided.

“Anything to make you comfortable. We’ll do it. We go the extra mile for our clients,” Peach said.

Before walking into the shop, there is a sign by the entrance about the $20 tattoo offerings available each month.

Peach knows many people would be cautious about getting a tattoo at that price point. Her idea of offering such a low-cost tattoo came from her experience in Las Vegas.

“I saw it huge on the window, and my friend and I slammed the brakes. We went in, and it was clean, fast, fun, and overall, an experience, which is what we like to create for people,” she said.

Most importantly for Peach, offering a $20 tattoo prevents someone from potentially getting a tattoo in an unsafe environment.

“Not many people can afford tattoos, and I think giving people their first tattoos daily is one of my favourite things to do with that $20 tattoo,” she said.

After getting that first tattoo, Peach said her clients started talking about returning for another.

“I think tattooing is starting to fall into a vanity category, which is fine. I think it’s awesome that you can include getting your hair and nails done and then a fresh tattoo. It’s all about confidence. You’re showing a way to express yourself. It’s collecting art,” she said.

“I think maybe the environment, along with it, keeps people coming back.”

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Planning your visit to downtown SSalisbury’sCrybaby Tattoo

Crybaby Tattoo is open Mondays to Saturdays from 1-9 p.m. Wednesdays are the only days for walk-ins. You can schedule an appointment by messaging Crybaby Tattoo on Instagram @crybabytattoomd.

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