A Tattoo Artist's Journey to Create a Lifestyle Business

Local tattoo artist Tony Wallace shares his story of coming back to the West Coast to start his business, Reclusive Art.

Born and raised in Kokatahi, West Coast, Tony moved to Nelson for 16 years before deciding to return home with his young family to pursue a more relaxed and affordable lifestyle.

Tony's journey to becoming a tattoo artist began five years ago when he started studying art. Besides his passion for tattooing, he focuses on high quality service and hygiene standards. He reinvests in his business, purchasing the latest technology from around the world to make the tattooing experience faster, safer, and of higher quality.

With support from Ministry of Social Development’s Flexi-wage Self Employment scheme, Development West Coast business mentor Zane Smith of Vation Limited has been helping Tony at the start of his entrepreneurial journey.

Zane has been impressed by Tony's professional approach to business.

“He chases the information he desires, eats it up then applies the new knowledge immediately. This has allowed him to create a high calibre operation from the process of his design work to the tattooing itself and includes a custom built studio with great décor and music. He’s got the clients personal experience and safety as the keystone of the business!”

Tony's main motivation for moving back to the West Coast was to make a lifestyle business that would allow him to work from home and spend more time with his family. He also enjoys living on the west coast as it allows him to pursue his outdoor hobbies like fishing and camping and growing his own vegetables.

“I guess the advantages of running the business on the West Coast is that the lifestyle is a little bit more affordable, a little bit more laid back and I don’t need to mass produce tattoos or rushing through multiple clients. I’ve got time to focus on personalised art pieces.”

Tony's story is a testament to the fact that the West Coast offers more than just stunning natural beauty; it's a place where people can build a fulfilling lifestyle and pursue their passions.

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