A Stoic Tattoo Studios Guide To Building A Stoic Business
Mr. Inkwells tattoo shop is the product of a love for tattoos and art, mixed with Stoic values. The goal was to make a tattoo shop that was better than the average tattoo shop, or average business for that matter, a tattoo shop that was built on virtue. This Stoic way of doing business has, over a very short time, made Mr. Inkwells the highest rated most reviewed shop in Southern California, where people come from around the country and world to enjoy the art, the culture, and the experience.
Running any business in a Stoic way, tattoo shop or otherwise, involves focusing on what you can control and accepting what you cannot. This means prioritizing ethical behavior, rational decision-making, and adapting to changes or setbacks without getting emotional or attached to outcomes. It also involves being grateful for what you have, treating everyone with respect, and recognizing the impermanence of success and failure.
Whenever I talk about having a tattoo shop built on stoic values, people inevitably ask,“How do you create a “Stoic” tattoo shop, or a “Stoic” business of any kind?”. I always tell them, the answer is simple, “ You build a virtuous business.” This answer leads to a flood of new questions about what virtue is, how you build a business based on it, and much more. That is why below I am breaking it down in terms that everyone can understand, Stoic or not.
The Stoics believed that Virtue was the goal of life and the only true good. They broke down virtue into four categories; wisdom, temperance, justice, and courage. I used these four virtues as the foundation for building Mr. Inkwells, and I will go into detail on how I did that below.
The most important thing in any service business is having highly skilled practitioners, this is even more true with tattoo shops because of the work we do.
That is why every artist at Mr. Inkwells is highly trained, not only in art, but in the art of tattooing or piercing respectively. They undergo not only formal training in art, but an extensive apprenticeship process to help obtain the skills they need to be great artists.
Not only that, but Mr. Inkwells leads the industry in tattoo safety and education, we even helped design the process to help tattoo and piercing shops reopen in California during the COVID 19 Pandemic. You can read more about our safety practices and more by clicking here.
We also use state of the art technology to make every part of the process easier and more effective for our customers and our team. Wisdom is a cornerstone of Stoic business, and of course, our tattoo shop.
At Mr. Inkwells we do not get overexcited about new things and are not overtaken by fads. We look at new ideas, technologies, and products, with a rational mind, and then, after weighing the pros and cons, decide if it is something we want to move forward with.
As a Stoic tattoo shop being temperate doesn’t just mean the business, it extends to our team members as well. They know to perform their best as artists that need to keep their minds and bodies in good shape. This leads to team members living more fulfilling, healthier lives, and in turn, better tattoos and piercings for our clients.
As a Stoic tattoo shop we know that justice in business practices aren’t just good for business, they are the right thing to do. That is why we have the Mr. Inkwells Guarantee, to give each and every client piece of mind that when they get a tattoo or piercing at our tattoo shop it will be a great experience. We do not haggle with pricing, every customer gets the same price and level of service no matter who they are.
Mr. Inkwells is a place where everyone can feel safe, respected, and at home, regardless of your sex, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else. We will always treat everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve.
We also work with our community to help those that suffer from injustice, by donating our time and money, and by creating programs for those that suffer from injustice can benefit from.
We have the courage to innovate, to do things a different way, and to forge new paths forward for the tattoo and piercing industries. We challenge conventional practices and dogma, and create better products and practices. This not only creates a better tattoo shop, this creates a better culture, where innovation is the norm, this is how brighter futures are built.
We also stand up for what we believe in, we do not hide when it is time to rise for our business or our team. We value virtue above profits, and we are willing to make sacrifices for the greater good.
The Opposite Of Virtue, Vice.
On the opposite end of the spectrum Stoics believe that you should avoid vices, and in turn, as Stoic tattoo shop we want to avoid vices too.
According to the Stoics, vice manifests in a number of different ways, including greed, selfishness, cowardice, anger, and envy. They believed that these vices were all rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of reality, and that they could be overcome through the cultivation of wisdom, self-control, and reason.
Some of the symptoms of a business with vices would be: Overcharging people, wasting profits instead of investing them back into the business, buying inferior products to save a buck, and so on. As you can see, these things that may seem tempting for some business owners, will eventually lead to a company's downfall if left unchecked.
On the flip side, avoiding vices can help your company flourish by creating happy customers, top of the line products, and investing back into the business to ensure future growth.
However, whatever path you choose none of these outcomes is guaranteed (more on this in the next section). What is guaranteed though, is that you will feel much better knowing you did your best to create a virtuous business.
Stoic Businesses Only Worry About What They Can Control
As a Tattoo Shop built of Stoic principles we realize the benefits of only focusing on what we can control. This means staying focused on our art, our service, our products , our virtue, etc.
We don’t let outside things cloud our focus, such as, the economy, the weather, etc. We just focus on doing the best that we can, and improving ourselves and our business at least a little bit every day.
And we know, even when we do our best, we can’t control the outcome. We can only control what we do. So we don’t let setbacks bring us down, and we don’t let success go to our heads. This leads to a level headed approach that ensures we are always focused on what we are doing, without clouding our focus with worries about the outcome.
A Stoic Business Is Cosmopolitan
As a Stoic Tattoo Studio we also believe in cosmopolitanism. At its core, cosmopolitanism is the idea that all human beings are members of a single, universal community, regardless of their individual backgrounds, cultures, or nationalities. And as such, should all work together to create a better world.
At Mr. Inkwells we are a modern day “Da Vinci’s workshop”, where each artist is an individual, but also part of the whole. That is also why we choose the octopus "Mr. Inky" as our logo. An octopus has an individual “brain” in each tentacle, but all of those tentacles also work in unison to help the whole octopus survive.
Not only do we help our own team, but we help our community with things like Toys Drives, Art Contests, sponsorships, and more. We also extend this help worldwide through educational articles like the one you are reading now, and many others.
This is the main goal of building any virtuous business, to give back to the world and help make into a better place. To help progress society, art, culture, philosophy, science, and more.
A Blueprint For Any Business
This Stoic way of running a business works for any business, not just tattoo shops. You can have a Stoic book store, a Stoic gym, pretty much anything but a Stoic political campaign (just joking, but not just joking…). You just need to start infusing Stoic values in your business, just like we have done at Mr. inkwells. It may seem difficult now, but the work will pay dividends, not only in peace of mind, but possibly financially too.
You see, people love excellence, they can sense it. They know when a business is authentic and doing things for the right reasons. This also attracts like minded people to work with you and build your business. It makes business simple, because you have policies in place that align with your virtue, so there is no questioning your next move. Does it help others? Do it. Does it harm others? Don’t.
We aren’t the first Stoic business, and probably not even the first Stoic tattoo studio, we are one of many. We are just trying to spread the word about how you can have a highly successful business by following Stoic principles. Hopefully this article will inspire you to run your business this way, and then your business will inspire others. Overtime we can build a better world, one business at a time.
See you soon!