How tattoo artist Emily Sands grew up a successful business

emily sands tattoo artist testimonial

Emily Sands works as a tattoo artist at Black Heart Tattoo in Cookeville, Tennessee. She’s been putting into practice her biggest passion – tattooing – since 2012. As a super mom and super wife, Emily found her work-life balance through a well-done booking strategy. Her strong passion and determination motivated her to open her own business and to work independently.

May her story inspire you to dedicate yourself to the things you love most! 🙂

1. Who or what inspired you to become a tattoo artist and how did you end up starting your business?

I started my tattoo apprenticeship at the age of 16 because I had a strong passion for art and working with people. Tattooing brings joy to me in many aspects, mainly the excitement that my clients show for their new tattoo, be it body artwork, cosmetic eyebrow tattooing for people who may have suffered from Alopecia, or cancer (chemotherapy), and also Areola restoration tattooing for breast cancer survivors.

2. What were the challenges you’ve faced in growing your business and how did you overcome them?

As a beginner in the tattooing career, I started out working at a couple of different tattoo shops as an “employee”. I was treated as an employee, but I was, in fact, self-employed. Many self-employed people like me struggle with having an overhead, such as being paid by commission. Once I built up a large enough clientele, I decided to make a change to better myself and took the plunge into opening my own business.

3. How do you differentiate yourself in the market?

The most important thing to me in my area of work is the personal connection that I strive to make with every one of my clients, be it a small tattoo or an entire sleeve. My clients praise the welcoming feeling they get from my private, appointment-only studio.

4. What part of your business are you improving? (branding, clientele, technique, etc.)

I am currently working on improving my booking technique. I stay very busy and can not be booked out too far, as I am a mom and a wife and life just happen sometimes. After being booked out 3-6 months at a time for years, I am deciding to change my bookings to month by month. This will help me be able to manage my life and business with a much better balance.

5. What advice do you have for any new or upcoming tattoo artists?

My advice for anyone who dreams to become a tattoo artist, and to my tattoo apprentice, Devin, is to not give up! An art background is very important, but tattooing is a mix of artistic skill and the technical skill and knowledge of how to use a tattoo machine and work with skin.

Also, being a great tattoo artist does not always mean having a great career. To have a great tattoo career and be able to make a living, you must commit to learning to operate in a feast or famine career. People have to like you as a person, and come back to you and refer their friends. You have to always sell yourself in a positive light!

6. How is Goldie helping you?

Goldie has made my business thrive and helped me tremendously. I was feeling so overwhelmed when my business began to rapidly grow. I love the Ultimate plan because it does so much for me and is completely customizable. I have set up my Goldie app to remind my client at the time of scheduling and 24 hours before. It keeps all of my notes for every client for years and years, and I never have to look further than my Goldie app to refer to a past client. My clients rave about how great the reminders are and how professional and impressive the way that I do business is because of it. I don’t know what I’d do without Goldie! Thank you for thinking of me.

You can download this appointment scheduling app directly from the App Store or Google Play.

“She dipped her wings in ink,

To cover up her scars,

And wrote her story in the sky,

Her words lit up like stars.” -Christy Ann Martine

Thank you, Emily, for sharing your thoughts with us, and especially thanks for showing us that the only way to do great work is to love your work. ❤️

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