I used to be a computer programmer. I got my first tattoo at 18, and started helping out here about 11 years ago, in my late twenties. After an apprenticeship at another place, I was offered a job here. I bought the business in 2003.
- What does management mean to you?
Managing staff is a headache. Some of them have never had a proper job in their lives, so they come in late. There's a lot of regulation: we're trained to avoid cross-contamination, and there are regular inspections and spot-checks. We're busy all the time because of our Soho location. I'm booked up two months ahead and Saturdays are mad, because we do walk-ins. The credit crunch hasn't affected us. We turn away 20% of people, those who want swastikas or genital tattoos. But we get all types: we've had a tattooed lady judge with a big dragon from her bum to her shoulder, and a Muslim woman in full burkha who wanted a saucy tattoo from a female tattooist. Tattooing has become a fashion accessory, with lots of tiny stars and 'tramp stamps' - really unoriginal. I tattooed my mum, a swallow on her shoulder. Now that was weird.