MUSKEGON, MI – Sei Bella Tattoo in Roosevelt Park is reimagining what a tattoo parlor can be from its staff of all-female artists to the design and decor.
Owner Chrissy Robison wanted to establish a space where people feel comfortable getting a tattoo.
“We created a safe space for people to come and get tattooed,” she said. “It feels kind of like a yoga studio more than a tattoo shop.”
Twinkling lights and pictures of Audrey Hepburn, an actress from Hollywood’s Golden Age, decorate the house-like shop with big windows and strands of ivy. A backdrop of greenery stands as a photo wall for newly tattooed customers.
Robison, who has been tattooing for two decades, noticed her clients at traditional shops often felt nervous and intimidated working with artists.
“I wanted people to feel comfortable,” she said about providing a tranquil and safe space. “They’re making a permanent decision on their body, so they should feel comfortable to make changes, feel confident that we have their back through those changes and that we’re not going to be annoyed or bothered by those things.”
Two years ago, Robison branched out and began renting a space at Healing Ground, a massage therapy business. She recently bought that building and launched Sei Bella Tattoo, located at 857 W Summit Ave, on July 2.
The former building owner, Jodi Ellinger, 61, retired from massaging to work for Sei Bella full time tattooing eyebrows.
A grand opening event for Sei Bella Tattoo benefited Every Woman’s Place, a Muskegon County nonprofit that provides support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
With a staff of eight women tattoo artists in a male-dominated industry, Robison hopes everyone feels welcome at the shop. Each artist has her own specialty, like florals, sacred geometry and thin line work.
Sydney Bernard, who apprenticed with Robison, is a first-year tattoo artist after working as a hair stylist.
“I don’t think I would have been a tattoo artist if I had to go a traditional tattoo shop. I think I would have not been comfortable. I would have been intimidated,” she said.
Bernard said the all-female team creates a supportive environment.
“All working together as women, we’re a powerhouse,” she said. “When you have a group of women together, it can almost go one way or the other. I think that we are just that full-on nurturing, comforting family type of atmosphere here.”
“I want to empower people to learn their own power, learn their own gifts within and heal with tattooing,” said Robison.
More information about Sei Bella Tattoo and its artists can be found at seibellatattoos.com.
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