What kind of tattooing do you do?
Currently, all of my work is hand poked (without a machine, AKA stick 'n' poke) using primarily black and gray ink. Sometimes I use white or spot color, but it really depends on the design. If this is something you are interested in, please mention it in your booking proposal.
What is your rate?
$175/hour with a $350 (2 hour) minimum.
My sliding scale rate is $150/hour with a $300 (2 hour) minimum.
Unfortunately I am not able to offer sliding scale pricing during guest spots because I need to cover the costs of travel expenses.
What is sliding scale pricing?
Sliding scale pricing is pay-what-you-can pricing. I offer this option for disadvantaged folks who battle adversities like systemic racism, hurdles associated with having a disability, and mistreatment for being LGBTQIA+. My goal with this is to help make tattoos more accessible to folks who have been historically barred from getting them. I do not require any proof or explanation of need for sliding scale pricing. Please take a moment to consider if this option is right for you prior to requesting and please do not take advantage of this offer if you do not need it!
How can I pay you?
Full payment is due on the day of the tattoo session. Cash is strongly preferred, but payment via Venmo is also accepted. All non-cash payments over $400 will require a 10% additional fee. This fee is meant to discourage non-cash payments and cover the costs of digital payment processing. Cash payments are VERY STRONGLY PREFERRED because they allow me to better manage my income and make a more affordable living off of tattooing.
Is tipping required?
Tipping for a tattoo works similarly to tipping at a bar or restaurant or tipping your barber or gardener: tipping is not required but is usually expected and it's a great way to show your tattooer how much you appreciate them. Tattoos can seem expensive, but a large amount of the money I make on each tattoo goes to the shop's cut and to paying for supplies. Tips help make my job more sustainable and help me live more securely, free of stress as to how I will pay rent next month. It's a good idea to budget for a tip when figuring out how much you can afford to pay for a tattoo. A standard tip is 15-20% and if you are a white cis able-bodied person who has a stable, high paying job, with regular expendable income, you should consider tipping at the higher end.
Where is your studio located?
I work out of a private studio in the Oakland/Berkeley area. To keep the space private, we do not publish the address. Booked clients will receive the address and location information 2 days before their appointment.
How long will the tattoo take?
This can vary widely based on the size, placement, difficulty, and level of detail in a piece. Tattoos around 2 inches square usually take 1.5 - 3 hours. Tattoos around 3 - 5 inches square usually take 3 - 8+ hours. Ear tattoos usually take 1 - 3 hours. But tattoos can take more or less time, depending on the factors mentioned above, as well as nuances in the client's skin and whether or not the client experiences twitching. However, the amount of time spent at the tattoo shop is much more than this because you need to account for breaks, making changes to the design, photos, bandaging, and preparing the station. It is a good idea to avoid making set plans for after your tattoo appointment.
Is your studio accessible?
I work out of a studio that is very secure and private. The space is 2 stories with a loft area up a flight of stairs. I typically tattoo in this loft area, but I can set-up to tattoo on the ground floor. If you are interested in working with me and need to be tattooed on the ground floor, please let me know in your booking proposal. The building's main entrance is not wheelchair accessible and has about 5 steps, but the building's side entrance is wheelchair accessible. There is a wheelchair accessible bathroom. During a tattoo session, clients' skin will be cleaned with alcohol, Dettol, and Green Soap diluted in water. Clients' skin will also come in contact with A+D ointment, stencil transfer gel, and nitrile gloves. Cleaners with strong smells are necessary for cleaning the shop and for tattooing. Our typical cleaners include bleach, Cavicide/Opti-Cide/Optim-1, Pine Sol, and Swiffer wet mop pads. I set my client chair very high in order to avoid back pain, which can make it difficult to hop onto for some clients, but I provide a stool to help get on. If you have accessibility needs that you would like help with during your appointment (including allergies to anything you may come in contact with during the tattoo procedure), please describe them in the idea section of your booking proposal. If my private studio does not meet your accessibility needs, please send me an email and I will try to figure something out!
Should I bring food for myself?
Yes! I highly encourage my clients to bring snacks with them, especially healthy sugars like fruit or juice. It is always a good idea to bring water. Every tattoo session of 3 or more hours will have a snack break in the middle. We have a mini fridge and microwave in the studio that clients may use.
Will it hurt?
Hand poked tattoos tend to be gentler on the skin than machine tattoos. However they often take significantly longer to complete, due to the slow and methodical nature of the process. Some people start to feel “tapped out” after a few hours of tattooing, even with a more gentle process. This can be a good time to take a short snack break and replenish your blood sugar levels. I can split a tattoo in to multiple sessions if the client desires. My top priority is my clients’ comfort and happiness! Also, there is a numbing product called Hush that works really well to help with pain from tattooing in sensitive areas. This is particularly helpful if you are prone to uncontrollable shaking or jerking while getting tattooed. I do not supply this for my clients, but you can order some here and I will be happy to use it during your appointment. Please let me know if you would like to use Hush, as it needs 1 hour to be fully absorbed by the skin before tattooing.
What is aftercare like?
One of the best things about hand poked tattoos is that they usually heal very quickly. The complete tattoo healing process can take from two to four weeks, but most of my clients report their tattoos being most of the way healed in about one week. However, it is still best to follow proper aftercare instructions for a full two weeks, to ensure that everything heals properly. Please see the aftercare page for more.
All clients are required to wear an N95 or KN95 mask due to the proven superior efficacy of these masks against COVID-19 compared to fabric or surgical masks and alternative face coverings. This means no scarves, bandanas, or single use surgical masks PLEASE. Since these masks can be expensive, we request that you bring a fresh one with you. If you do not have a fresh N95 or KN95 mask, we will provide one for you.
I continue to require that ALL CLIENTS MUST BE VACCINATED, having received their last dose at least 2 weeks before the tattoo appointment.
There will be no deposit penalty for rescheduling an appointment due to illness or exposure to a person who has covid. The health and safety of my clients and myself is my first priority and I don’t want anyone to be stressed about having to reschedule.
Do not bring guests to your appointment. I know how fun and reassuring it can be to invite a friend or loved one to visit you during your appointment, but we need to keep the number of people in the shop to an absolute minimum. The fewer people present, the safer everyone will be.
Cash payment is still accepted and preferred.
Policies for me:
I received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine shot on 4/6/21. I also received a Pfizer vaccine booster on 11/8/21, as well as another one on 5/10/22, and the updated Omicron booster on 9/19/22.
I will always wear an N95 or KN95 mask while tattooing.
If I test positive for COVID-19 or come in to close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, I will postpone all appointments until I receive a negative test result.
Deposits, Payment & Cancellation Policy
All non-cash payments over $400 will require a 10% additional fee. This fee is meant to discourage non-cash payments and cover the costs of digital payment processing. Cash payments are VERY STRONGLY PREFERRED because they allow me to better manage my income and make a more affordable living off of tattooing.
I require a deposit to secure tattoo appointments. The deposit goes toward the final cost of the tattoo (ex: if a tattoo is $350, the deposit is $100 and then the client pays $250 on the day of the tattoo). When doing multi-session tattoos, we will use $50-75 of your deposit for each session, with the remainder going toward the last session.
$100 for 2-5 hour sessions
$150-200+ for multi session projects
Deposits can be paid via Venmo @Alex-Rae-Phelps (Last 4 digits of my phone # are 5786). Please do not use the words "tattoo" or "deposit" in the caption. Just use some random emojis. Thanks!). All remaining payments should be made in cash the day of the tattoo appointment.
The deposit is not refundable in the event of cancellation or rescheduling. Clients can reschedule up to 14 days before an appointment without penalty. Clients who reschedule less than 14 days before an appointment are required to pay a new deposit prior to booking the new appointment. Clients’ deposits will not be affected in the event of rescheduling within 14 days of the appointment due to illness.
Tipping for a tattoo works similarly to tipping at a bar or restaurant or tipping your barber or gardener: tipping is not required but it’s usually expected and it's a great way to show your tattooer how much you appreciate them. Tattoos can seem expensive, but a large amount of the money I make on each tattoo goes to the shop's cut and to paying for supplies. Tips help make my job more sustainable and help me live more securely, free of stress as to how I will pay rent next month. It's a good idea to budget for a tip when figuring out how much you can afford to pay for a tattoo. A standard tip is 15-20% and if you are a white cis able-bodied person who has a stable, high paying job, with regular expendable income, you should consider tipping at the higher end.