Expert shares tattoo shop ‘red flags’ that made her walk out


‘Don’t do walk-ins at a women-owned tattoo shop’: Expert shares tattoo shop ‘red flags’ that made her walk out

‘If I saw my name marked out on the paper, I woulda taken that as my sign from the heavens to LEAVE.’


Brooke Sjoberg


There are few experiences as deeply personal as choosing to have a piece of art inked into one’s skin.

As a tattoo is something difficult to get rid of and important to execute in just the right way, choosing the right artist and shop is one of the first steps in creating a positive experience. However, tattoo novices may not know where to start.

While some might turn to Google or another preferred search engine to find potential shops or learn what makes a tattoo artist a good fit for them, experienced customers and artists themselves have taken to social media to inform potential customers of what they might want to keep an eye out for.

One customer of Dallas tattoo shop Lilac Tattoo Studio who is also an artist herself, Jessica Horne (@jessicahorneart on TikTok) says she was concerned by a few things that she saw.

“It’s just been a bad day, my event got rescheduled, so I’m in Dallas so why not go to a super cute, LGBTQ-safe, comfortable, fun tattoo studio call @Lilac Tattoo Studio,” Horne captioned her video. “MY day just got worse after visiting them. I didn’t get a tattoo that day. be careful and don’t trust what you see online.”

One of Horne’s primary concerns was that she saw an artist place a tattoo stencil with both themselves and the customer sitting down. In her opinion and experience, she said it is best practice to have a stencil placed while the customer is standing up to ensure that the placement is most accurate.

“Whenever you put a stencil on somebody, you want to make sure your client is standing up, straight and just like, relaxed and standing real still and tall,” Horne says in her video. “Not sitting down in a chair like this. Because that stencil, when they stand up, is going to be looking like this.”

She also found fault with the way another artist interacted with their client, in a way that she felt sent the message that they did not want to be there. Additionally, when she checked in as a walk-in, she signed herself up on the shop’s list so that she could be called when it was her turn. After the clients who had come in just before her left, Horne says she went to check the sign-in sheet and found her name scratched out and labeled as a “no show,” despite not having been called or contacted using the name and phone number she had provided. When she pointed this out to the shop’s receptionist, she says she did not receive an apology either.

Ultimately, Horne says she ended up leaving the shop without a tattoo based on these things that concerned her.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Lilac Tattoo Studio via Instagram direct message, as well as to Horne via TikTok direct message regarding the video.

Other red flags to look for include the cleanliness of the shop that a client might be considering, as tattoos can easily become infected if they are not executed properly. Doing your homework on your artist and learning about their style as well as viewing previous work can also be helpful in choosing a shop and artist that are a good fit. Another red flag can be the amount of information an artist provides both before and after a tattoo, including how they approach the initial consultation to get a feel for what you want, and what kind of aftercare instructions they provide.

Some viewers commented on the video that they had similar experiences with this particular shop in the Dallas area.

“Got tattooed there in 2021, appt was for 3 hours but the artist kept stopping and stepping out of the room so it took 6 hours,” one commenter wrote.

“Once I went to lilac for a SCHEDULED APPOINTMENT consultation and the artist didn’t even bother to show up,” another claimed.

“Had this SAME experience with them,” a third said. “Went in for a walk in with my bsf, but they were booked for the day. Went back early the next day and rhey basically laughed in our face when we showed our inspo!!”

@jessicahorneart it's just been a bad day, my event got rescheduled so I'm in Dallas so why not go to a super cute, LGBTQ safe, comfortable, fun tattoo studio call @Lilac Tattoo Studio 💜 . MY day just got worse after visiting them. 😭. I didn't get a tattoo that day. be careful and don't trust what you see online 😭 #tattoolifestyle #girlswithtattoos #womenownedbusiness #lilactattoostudio #tattooredflags #indgenoustattooartist #walkintattoo #lgbtqsafeplace ♬ Espresso – Sabrina Carpenter

In a video posted to the shop’s TikTok, the owner of Lilac Tattoo Studio addressed the video shared by Horne. In the video, she shares that she was upset about the situation, showing screen grabs of messages sent to the poster apologizing for the experience and offering her a credit toward a future visit to the shop.

“I understand there’s going to be days that are not good in life in general,” the owner of the shop says. “Everybody has good days and bad days and I know that sometimes you can walk into the shop and the vibe might be off for whatever reason and I don’t really have an excuse for it. All I can say is I’m really sorry.”

She says she does not dismiss Horne’s claims, although her artists have disputed that all of the concerns shared in her video are true. She also invites clients who have had negative experiences to reach out to her so that she can address those concerns directly.

“I have a lot of passion for what I do,” she says. “This isn’t the best, on the receiving end of this, so I just want everyone to know that I genuinely am very sorry for anyone’s past bad experience. I just want y’all to know that I am so accessible to you.”

@lilactattoostudio We really want to continue to promote positivity and remain solution oriented so we turned off the comments as we reflect on ways to improve our customer service. Thank you to everyone who has always supported us and will continue to do so! We appreciate the feedback and will use that to learn on ways to best serve you. 🙏🏽💜 #lilactattoostudio ♬ original sound – Lilac Tattoo Studio 💜

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