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Kurgana

Gift suggestions for my tattoo artist

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I guess this could have gone to one of the tattoo forums as well, but since it's not really strictly tattoo related, I'm posting it here...

I'm booked for my next tattoo with a new artist in June. He's been really nice with me during the whole booking/planning phase, and he actually booked my tattoo for his birthday which he had intended to keep free, since he seems to be almost as excited to do the tattoo as I am to get it and the next available appointment was a month or so later. I'd like to get him something small to show my appreciation - nothing too big since I don't want him to feel uncomfortable or obliged to drop the price further since he already lowered the quote from our first contact after hearing what the tattoo was going to be and I'm more than happy to pay what he's asking. Large tips are not really done here either.

I have no idea of what he likes apart from tattoos, so I was thinking something like a large set of Sharpies (two artists I know at another local studio love them and they are impossible to find locally) or a framed poster/print for the studio (like an old tattoo gun patent or something like that). They do also have a small collection of tattoo-related books at the studio that could be added to but frankly I wouldn't know what to pick....

 

 

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Thanks for your reply @Gingerninja :) ! Unfortunately his Facebook/instagram are just tattoo related....

We don't have Starbucks here :) and funnily enough I can't think of any other cafe or such that would offer gift cards. Even though we do tip, I've personally witnessed other tattoo artists decline a tip that was too large (pretty much anything over the price of a cup of coffee really, regardless of the price of the tattoo). Which is also why I kind of shy away from the gift card idea as well. 

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Thanks for your replies people ;)

I'm in Italy, so it's not really that tipping is not considered tasteful like in Japan for example. But as I mentioned before, I've seen other local tattoo artists decline tips before (even when the amount was less than 10% of the total). They seem to draw the line at "I'll buy you/get yourself a coffee" type of thing. Totally guessing here but I kind of get the feeling that they might find it offensive to be considered as "service workers" like waiters for example, who do get tipped? 

@bladezzz I might consider that, however I don't drink alcohol, so no idea what to buy... Which brand(s) would you suggest?

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3 hours ago, Kurgana said:

 

Who is doing your tattoo in Italy?
I know quiet a few italian artists are guestspotting all over Europe all the time so maybe get him something travel related, or a sick suitcase that can hold his machines or something? just an idea

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@ChrisvK Claudio Romeo from Palermo, or mr_rom3o on insta (hope he's not reading here lol). I'm not sure if he's planning to be guesting anywhere soon (they just opened the studio in the end of last year and he seems pretty busy), but I really like your idea!

@bladezzz thank you! I get what you mean about personal tastes, but given my poor knowledge on anything alcohol related I'm happy to go with any safe(ish) bet. Btw as someone who does not drink and whose husband (who does not drink either) often gets gifted bottles of wine or spirits, we're surprisingly happy to receive this kind of gifts from time to time since it saves us the trouble of buying, and especially choosing, drinks we to offer guests ;).

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I've usually given a cash tip.

Only one artist I've seen more than once I gave a gift.  To which I've given him 2 tattoo machines, custom made business cards with his info on it and a personalized zippo on different occasions.

With regards to to gifts, how bout a bottle of alcohol or business cards custom made with his info on it?

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The sharpies sound like a nice idea since they are useful and hard to find as you say. I would plan to cash tip on top though.....i have given a gift once but my standard large tip was also offered and accepted at the same time. My gift was maple syrup, since I live where it is made and cheaply available but costs a fortune where the tattoo was done.

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I love giving gifts and they've always been well received (Since I'm in the USA I'll tip on top of the gift). Typically I'll only give gifts to tattooers I've seen a few times and have a good rapport with, or if I have a pretty good handle on what they'd like. Things I've given:

-Lots of records

-Documentary on the underground music scene in my area

-Prints that weren't tattoo related but would be up their alley (Haida stuff from western Canada...the real-deal stuff, not the tourist-trap stuff)

-Booze

-Food: my wife and I have brought home-made pies, cookies, even chili once...

As they say, it's the thought that counts. If it's genuine and you're stoked on it, chances are they will be too even if it's not a perfect match. Don't overthink it. If it gets too convoluted, remember that Cash is King. 

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5 hours ago, pidjones said:

A pint of Maker's Mark and a nice tip this time. She likes bourbon.

And sign him up to be a Maker's Mark Ambassador - it costs nothing to do, they put your name on a barrel plate and after about 7 years you get invited to the factory when the open the barrel and you get to hand-dip two bottles. And, every year they send you a gift during the Christmas holidays.

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On May 4, 2016 at 0:44 PM, 9Years said:

I love giving gifts and they've always been well received (Since I'm in the USA I'll tip on top of the gift). Typically I'll only give gifts to tattooers I've seen a few times and have a good rapport with, or if I have a pretty good handle on what they'd like. Things I've given:

-Lots of records

-Documentary on the underground music scene in my area

-Prints that weren't tattoo related but would be up their alley (Haida stuff from western Canada...the real-deal stuff, not the tourist-trap stuff)

-Booze

-Food: my wife and I have brought home-made pies, cookies, even chili once...

As they say, it's the thought that counts. If it's genuine and you're stoked on it, chances are they will be too even if it's not a perfect match. Don't overthink it. If it gets too convoluted, remember that Cash is King. 

I agree and do the same--if you know the tattooer well it's fun to give a personalized gift on top of a cash tip. I have done most of the above, particularly prints (ukiyo-e is my go-to), but I also frequently give tattooers reference books that I think they'd appreciate, whether it's on a particular style/region or a different medium/art form that I think they'd like. It's always hard to predict what's already in their library, but based on chatting with them I try to get books on art that they're stoked on that I think they might not have yet.

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