Why Choose 717 Tattoo?
Our take on how to operate a tattoo studio…
It is important to make a well rounded decision when choosing a tattoo studio, especially in an unregulated state. Pennsylvania currently has NO regulations or statutes governing tattoo and piercing studios, aside from requirements for tattooing minors. The federal government has no blanket laws for our industry. Some local townships are boroughs do enforce various tattoo codes. For the most part, shops are free to use any sterilization, cleaning, or hiring practices they like (or lack thereof). This means that the responsibility of education and awareness to fall on you, as a consumer. There are no health board inspections, sterilization standardization mandates, or training guidelines for any shop in PA, unless dictated by their local municipality. Talented and conscientious Pennsylvanian tattoo artists are only that way by their own choice, dedication, and hard work.
Every reputable shop has an autoclave. This is a hospital grade sterilizer used to decontaminate any reusable equipment. Dentists and doctors use these to sterilize their tools. It is important to realize that just having an autoclave is not enough. Just because a car will start does not mean it is road safe. At 717 Tattoo, our autoclaves are regularly spore tested. Spore testing is the process of guaranteeing through a third party laboratory that an autoclave is properly killing off any micro-organisms and bacteria.
We also send our autoclaves in for annual checkups, much like a car inspection. This is done by a local company who services many of the dentists and doctors in our area. These checkups are mandatory for the health care professional. We take advantage of their services by choice.
Ask your studio to view their spore testing and inspection documentation. Any studio that cannot provide these documents may not be using a safe sterilizer, and should be avoided. All of our needles are single use, and all of our reusable equipment is sterilized after every procedure. Our certificate of participation in this program is on file at our central office.
Blood borne pathogens are the microscopic entities that cause the spread of disease, infection, and viruses. Tattoo studios are at a higher risk for transmitting the spread of disease due to the nature of the art. Exposure to blood, tissue, needles, and the like create the necessity for the utmost care and precaution to be taken when practicing our trade. ALL of the artists at 717 Tattoo are required to take blood borne pathogen training and certification courses, and to have those courses renewed annually. Preventing the spread of disease includes properly taking off gloves, disposing of needles, cleaning any spilled fluids, and barrier protection, among many other practices.
Another standard at 717 Tattoo is the experience level of our artists. All of our artists must have a minimum of 5 years in shop experience to be employed. Exceptions, while occasional, rarely occur. These means you are in good hands when you come to our studio. Although quantity does not always equal quality in this industry, please take a look at our portfolios to see what we are capable of. Currently our 9 artists and 3 piercers have a combined industry experience of 100 years.
Shop cleanliness, since it is not regulated, is something we take very seriously here at 717. You will never be tattooed over a carpet, as they cannot be cleaned to hospital grade. You will never see us smoking in the shop, or eating at our tattoo stations. There are no shop “pets” at 717. Our autoclave is kept in a separate area at both of our studios. We maintain a rigorous weekly cleaning schedule by choice. We individually bag all of our machines and clip cords for each procedure, and wipe them with a hospital grade wipe in between tattoos.
During the course of your tattoo or piercing, many different tools and products may come in contact with your skin. Some of these items are considered to be contaminated bio-hazards once the procedure is completed. Since shops are not regulated, no local, state, or federal agency is monitoring how these items are disposed of. We have heard many stories of tattooers who simply throw their dirty needles in the garbage. Not only is this unsafe and unsanitary, it is also unethical and careless. 717 Tattoo uses a third party disposal company. All of our bio-hazardous materials are placed in marked containers. These containers are picked up by the disposal company and incinerated. Our certificate of participation in this program is on file at our central office.
717 Tattoo is a fully insured studio. Our liability policy protects both our business and our clients. Our insurance does not allow us to tattoo or pierce anyone under the age of 16. None of the 4 insurance companies we spoke to will insure a studio for tattooing or piercing minors younger than sixteen. If a studio does this, they are most likely either not insured, or they care more about the dollar than following their insurance companies guidelines. Either way, you may want to ask to see their insurance credentials. If they cannot provide them, reconsider patronizing their establishment.
717 Tattoo proudly adheres to the standards and practices outlined above. These practices increase our costs, lengthen our work day, and make our business less profitable. In return for the extra cost and time, we can proudly say we run one of the cleanest and safest shops in the area. Shops that are choosing to ignore safety practices will make more money in the short term. In the long term however, they will cause infections, spread disease, create unsatisfied customers, and put a stigma on the tattoo industry that cannot be easily removed. Any questions or comments, please ask. Hopefully this will help to educate you as a tattoo consumer in an unregulated state.
Thank you for taking the time to read this!