Tattoos for a cause: We try to do a few things each year to contribute to the health and welfare of our community – The Spokesman-Review

Posted in Tattoo Shop on Dec 08, 2019

Among the tattoo shops scattered across the Inland Northwest, a handful periodically hosts charities. On Thursday and Friday, Electric Age Tattoo in downtown Coeur dAlene awarded its customers free tattoos from pre-drawn flash sheets in exchange for donations to the Childrens Village, a North Idaho nonprofit that offers residential housing for youth in need of safety from neglect, abuse or family crisis.

To qualify, patrons were asked to bring in unwrapped toys valued at $20 or more from a preselected list and either a kids winter coat or 10 food drive items. Having opened the studio on Nov. 1, the co-owners of Electric Age worked overtime to pull together the event in just 10 days.

We had so much support moving and rebranding, said co-owner Jake Sifford, whos been a tattoo artist for 14 years. We wanted to give back some of that support regardless of the time of year. The tattoo industry practically hibernates during cold seasons. People are covered up during winter, so tattoos are out of sight, out of mind, said co-owner and artist Christina Villagomez.

With such a new shop, getting the word out was challenging, Sifford said. It was last-minute, but we figured even if we didnt get a lot of donations, we could at least get a few. Despite seasonal disadvantages, the studio ran a successful drive.

Across two days, Villagomez, Sifford and fellow tattooer Jayme Goodson collected about 100 toys, 50 jackets and more than 1,000 food and toiletry items. Holding up their end of the bargain, the three artists tatted 55 customers across just 16 business hours. Sifford described it as madness, but he smiled as he said it.

Electric Age selected a childrens charity in part due to the holiday season. This season is for the kids, Sifford said. Were just trying to make sure as many people as we can have a good Christmas or at least get a present when they normally dont.

When I was a small child, my mom was laid off from work, and her former co-workers stepped in to sponsor our family for Christmas, Villagomez said. Ive never forgotten how relieved my parents were or how wonderful it was to know people cared about us. Were hoping this event raises future visibility for the Childrens Village year round.

The spirit of giving is prominent in other tattoo studios, as well. The Missing Piece in downtown Spokane is collecting donations for the Jewels Helping Hands warming center until March 31. Previously, the tattoo shop has run charities for the now-defunct Cancer Patient Care, firefighter relief and the Jonah Project, a nonprofit dedicated to helping victims of human trafficking in Spokane.

All our artists are contractors, theyre not employees we just house them, said Heatherann Woods, owner/manager of the Missing Piece. I cant make them give up their income for a cause, but they always do. Its not really the Missing Piece doing the events its the artists.

The studios charity for the Jonah Project was a 5-hour event on Oct. 14, 2018, with raffle prizes donated by local businesses and representatives from the nonprofit on-site. We had people lined up before we opened, Woods said. The artist would keep 10% to cover the cost of ink, and everything else was donated.

Many of the tattoos paid homage to the Jonah Project with prominent whale tail designs. The Missing Piece will host a fundraiser for at-risk LGBTQ youth in June for pride weekend, and the studio is eyeing the possibility of working with an animal sanctuary in August. We try to do a few things each year to contribute to the health and welfare of our community, Woods said.

The success of these drives can be partially credited to their convenient locations. The Missing Piece and Electric Age can collect and hold item donations in downtown areas. Electric Age Tattoo occupies the basement of Exchange National Bank, a space that originally held a bank vault and was a dance hall during Prohibition.

Its an ideal location the heart of downtown Coeur dAlene, Sifford said. We couldnt have opened Electric Age without the help of our friends and family or the support of the community, Villagomez said. It got us thinking, How can we say thank you to our clients and give something back to the area?

Wed like to do this yearly for the Childrens Village, Sifford said. Ive always wanted to change the world, but it has to start somewhere small, Woods said. I think it is our responsibility as small-business owners to care for the staff, the clients and the community as a whole.

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Tattoos for a cause: We try to do a few things each year to contribute to the health and welfare of our community - The Spokesman-Review

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