Ever wondered what marketing is like for tattoo parlors? Jade Quinton, also known as Jade Sparkle to many of her followers and customers of her, is the owner and founder of the tattoo parlour, Potato Parlour. Having tattooed for 10 years, she is known in Singapore for specializing in realism tattoos and has amassed more than 11k followers on Instagram. Quinton started her business from her on 31 December 2019 and shortly after, COVID-19 hit. During the circuit breaker in Singapore, Quinton told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that she did not engage in any marketing activities as she was unsure when was the next time she could open up for appointments.
“We were only operating for about two months and then COVID-19 hit. I already had appointments lined up and had to postpone them. I didn’t do any marketing because I didn’t know when was the next time I could slot someone in, plus I had a backlog of two months due to the pandemic,” she explained.
Despite the challenges, Quinton pressed on, leveraging social media and word of mouth to showcase her work and draw clients for Potato Parlour. She is among the list of tattoo artists in Singapore that have taken to use social media as an avenue to raise awareness about her brand de ella.
“It was really difficult when I started. There was no such thing as Instagram but Facebook was popular. I was also partied a lot when I was younger and I used to go out thrice a week. Hence, I’ll meet new people. I was an apprentice at that time but my base grew from there because I was always out talking to people and growing,” Quinton explained. Find out how what mediums work for Quinton and what marketing in the tattoo industry is like as a whole!
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MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: During the 10 years that you have been tattooing, how did you grow your Jade Sparkle brand and market yourself?
Quinton: Marketing now wasn’t as difficult as compared to when I first started because back then there was no Instagram. While Facebook was a thing, it was just a place where you post statuses and accept new friend requests. For me, it was really word of mouth. I went clubbing a lot when I was younger, like thrice a week so I’ll meet new people. I was an apprentice at that time and my base grew from there because I was talking to people. My career also grew because I became a better artist.
Then, Instagram grew too and my number of followers increased. I was really lucky because a few of my followers put me in contact with magazines. This led to some articles being published and I also went to some brand parties as well. Thereafter, the brands contacted me for initiatives related to their brand so it snowballed from there.
The biggest channel for me was really word of mouth and self-marketing.
I don’t have the most followers on Instagram but when it comes to word of mouth, some of my customers talk to their friends about me and a few know who I am. And I think that’s because I’ve talked to so many people and I’ve done my best to be as nice to them as I can. I’ve also tattooed at events.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What are the challenges you face when it comes to marketing?
Quinton: My brand can be a little girly so when I do my marketing sometimes, I wonder if it looks too girly or if it’s “castrating” the guys that work in the shop as well. So I try to stay as neutral as possible. Personally, I’d still like things to be cute but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and I find it a little difficult to market just that.
My brand logo used to be pink previously but I changed it to black just because it’s easier. When it comes to businesses like mine, I’m not like the big companies where I can run bus ads and a tattoo is also not something everybody gets. So even if I were to do bus ads, I’m not sure how much traction that would get either. So I’m finding it very difficult to identify what works and what doesn’t.
Right now, everyone is on TikTok and there is a certain formula behind it to go viral as well, but you’re also unsure what that exact formula is. So yes, that’s my struggle with marketing right now, even though I know there are more things I could do, but algorithms change all the time, for example. And I don’t really like to invest our time in remembering what works right now. I feel it’s very difficult to keep up with what is working for everyone.
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