The Goals and Objectives of the Rose Underground Tattoo Shop
Our objective is to create a safer, sustainable, and functional space for Black, Indigenous, racialized, Queer and Trans* tattoo artists. Here in Canada there is a growing understanding that the tattoo industry has been exclusively white men dominated, racist, and colonial, where various communities and peoples are excluded meanwhile our cultures use tattooing as a spiritual and cultural practice for generations. Our overall objective is to challenge the idea that tattoo artists are only meant to provide a service, but that we also provide a holistic, intentional, and critical experience for those looking to modify their bodies with tattoos.
Creating a safer and inclusive space is of the utmost importance especially during our current moment where many shops and artists in the City of Toronto and the larger area are being publicly held accountable for issues of sexual harassment and assualt, anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, homophobia, and transphobia. Our collective members have been engaging in anti-oppressive, anti-racist work, and Queer and Trans* libratory work within the industry for upwards of four years. The Rose Underground began as a small collective of Black tattoo artists and tattoo enthusiasts who highlight the rigour of Black tattoo artists. Through this work the collective grew and began offering services such as facilitating workshops for tattoo artists of various backgrounds on how to work with Black and dark skin, how to photograph Black and dark skin, and anti-oppressive decolonial workshops on reimagining the industry here in Canada and elsewhere. Our collective reach with this work has been vast, with many tattoo shops and artists accessing these resources with the collective gardening further online attention internationally, with the Rose Underground attaining 7.5K followers on Instagram after being operational on the platform for only a year and a half.
The Rose Underground Tattoo Shop will continue our overall goal of reimagining the tattoo industry here in Canada through our ethics of utilizing the above messaging to function as a safer and accountable tattoo shop. Our goal is to house and stabilize talented tattoo artists from communities often pushed to the periphery of this industry, and create a space where all clientele feel welcomed while leaving with quality tattoos that they can wear proudly. An important aspect of this will include building community relationships with other grassroots organizations and community members.
As part of our business planning to make spaces of opportunity we want to include a small retail space for Black, Indegenous, racialized, Queer and Trans* artists and business owners to sell their products in our shop. The cost for a vendor slot will be sliding scale to make it accessible and affordable for all community members.
We are also looking to have our shop be used as a community space outside of our business hours for events and workshops. Our aim is to offer the space at affordable sliding scale rates and prioritize Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC)/trans and queer initiatives.
Rachel (@stickswell on Instagram)
Rachel worked in the tattoo industry for the past four years, and has been a tattoo artist for two and a half years and managed a tattoo shop in Toronto for 1 year. She has an in-depth understanding of the inner workings and daily operation of a tattoo shop and experience with overseeing maintenance, inventory, marketing, special events and client relations in four unique shop environments in the city. Rachel was actively responsible for ensuring policy and procedural correctness, tattoo bookings, inventory tracking and ordering, and events setup and teardown. She has broadened her horizons and by experiencing the many facets of the tattoo industry through working as a guest artist at multiple tattoo studios across North America. Rachel has a following of approximately 9000 followers on Instagram, with an active engagement with community and clientele interest in her work.
Samantha (@same.daveena on Instagram)
Samantha has been working both full time and part time as an independent contractor in yoga, holistic therapy, and as a birth doula since 2012 and added tattooing to her range of skills since 2017. Samantha has approximately 3000 followers on Instagram, with an active clientele in just tattooing alone. In addition to her contracted services, she has professional experience working in business administration, office management, and event planning (wedding and corporate). Most recently (2018) she has supported the opening and operation of a Paint & Sip studio in Woodbridge where she helped to direct the success of the business from the ground up, which included renovations and licensing, staff training, marketing, and daily operational responsibilities.
Thaila (@vegas.ink on Instagram)
Thaila originally founded The Rose Underground as a creative platform to highlight the work of Black tattoo artists and enthusiasts. She has ten years of tattooing with a 13.6K following on Instagram, establishing herself as a sought-after expert in colour tattoos, especially on clients with dark skin. Her experience and knowledge has made her a pillar in the Toronto tattoo community, and jettisoned many critical conversations in the tattoo industry as it relates to racism and anti-Black racism particularly. She developed resources and organized and facilitated educational workshops that have drastically changed the way tattoo artists in the City of Toronto and beyond approach working with melanated skin tones. Thaila also managed tattoo shops in the city for two years and is well acquainted with daily procedures, managing large groups of artists of various artistry levels, inventory and purchasing, and marketing. This includes shop opening and closing, coordinating social media, managing tattoo bookings over the phone and online, tracking and maintaining inventory, and paying out artists for management. Outside of the tattoo industry Thaila plays a critical role in community organizing and activism, with 11 years of working within the social work sector and beyond to address issues of anti-Black racism. This included project and case management with under-resourced communities, families, children and youth, crisis management, project development and delivery, project report and research writing, and grant applications.
How the funds will be allocated
The money raised through crowd funding will;
-assist in securing a commercial space
-the necessary renovations needed to have the shop meet health and safety standards
-the purchasing of necessary equipment , furniture and inventory
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