Michelle Yager-French and Adam French are the owners of Carmel Tattoo Ink, a tattoo shop located in Downtown Carmel. Open since 2010, they recently moved to a new location in the Arts & Design District. This new space has allowed them to realize their dream of offering a comfortable, spa-like tattoo experience.
Our decision to create a tattoo business in Carmel started out as a whim; we wondered what it would be like to put a tattoo shop in Downtown Carmel. At that time, everyone was watching shows like Ink Masters and Miami Ink on TV, making tattoos more mainstream than ever before. Michelle and I did not feel that the existing tattoo shops embodied our vision – a place where everyone felt welcome. The stereotypical “tattoo parlor” is dark with lots of gritty tattoo art plastered all over the walls. While that look suits many people, it can be intimidating to others. We wanted to create a tattoo shop where that other type of customer would feel comfortable. All different kinds of people no matter their age (over 18) want tattoos these days, and our shop tries to make every kind of person feel welcome. We have, it turns out, tapped into a need – our shop took off quickly.
The design of our original location on Main Street in Carmel’s Arts & Design District reflected the age of the building. We recently moved around the corner to a newer building which has allowed us to fully implement our vision for the look of our tattoo shop. It has a light and airy feel, with huge windows and 14 ft ceilings. Instead of tattoo art all over the walls, we represent our work in a virtual portfolio which can be accessed via our website or social media. We have found this functionality helpful in that anyone with a cell phone can access it and we can keep the vibe of our business clean and luxurious.
Our team consists of four artists at the moment with room for more, and two piercers. We vet our artists quite heavily before bringing them in, not just for their artistry but also for their customer service which is just as important to us. Our breadth of artistic styles means we can create practically anything a client requests, from the most complex pieces to basic designs, including portraits. The variation we offer can be seen in our portfolio.
Our Safety Protocols
One of the most important aspects our clients consider when deciding where to get a tattoo is hygiene. It is also our top priority. Our team follows the strictest guidelines set by the Indiana Department of Health. We undergo annual inspections and have never had the slightest hiccup. Our antiseptic practices are on par with ER protocols, with the highest regard to eliminating cross contamination. We go through sanitary gloves like tissues! All of our needles are single-use, pre-packaged, sterilized and disposable. Every surface is cleaned with the same solutions your doctor’s office probably uses. Finally, we only use the highest quality inks made here in the US, some of which are vegan-friendly.
What can our clients expect from their time with Carmel Tattoo Ink? Our process will depend upon what they are looking for. It begins with a free consultation where we determine the design style and match our client with the right artist. We also want to make sure their vision is possible – tattoo artistry is different than graphic design, painting, drawing, etc. Sometimes the limitations of the tools alter the original vision. However, we work with them to develop a design that they love. Next, the artist develops the line work and stencil for the tattoo which can take 1-2 days to 2 weeks depending upon the complexity of the piece. At the next appointment, the client is able to see the size of the tattoo and determine exact placement with the stencil. Then the tattooing process begins on one of our comfy massage tables or chairs.
Michelle and I feel the collaborative nature of Carmel Tattoo Ink is what makes us truly special. Our artists are constantly bouncing ideas off each other and sharing techniques. Each new tattoo on each new person offers the opportunity to share and learn. With over 50 years of combined experience in our shop, this team-based approach allows us to create unique designs that keep our customers coming back.
If you are considering getting a tattoo, Michelle and I hope you will consider us. We invite you to peruse our 680 plus google reviews and visit our website carmeltattoo.com to learn more about our space, our artists and our work.