It's not all the time you see a Black-owned business open shop so it is always a cause for celebration when that happens. This time, it's a new Black-owned tattoo shop coming to Austin this weekend and there's a soft opening from July
I caught up with Imani, owner of new tattoo shop, Nana's Prayer Tattoo. I was intrigued to hear her story and the inspiration for her business. Building a business in a pandemic is no small feat so a big congratulations to the latest shop owner in Austin for such an incredible achievement. Read her story below and check out some of her work too.
Can you describe the feeling of opening a new shop in Austin?
I can’t place a word to the feeling, but it’s a good one! I never thought I could be a tattoo artist, because I felt as if I didn’t fit society’s idea of one. Now I own a studio, which is wild. Hopefully that can show people that you can create a space for people that look like you in any industry that you desire.
How has the pandemic affected your business?
If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I would not be a tattoo artist. I was out of work. Since I had nothing else to do, I picked up my art again, which had previously been collecting dust. While I was creating, I had the thought of “Hm... I wonder if I can get some of these pieces on me”, and I started tattooing myself.
Who is your ideal client?
My ideal client is literally any client who loves/is inspired by my art. It means the world to me when people appreciate what I create, and how it gets translated on the skin. I also loveeee people who can sit still!
What was the inspiration behind your business?
My inspiration is my grandparent’s house, where I spent a lot of time growing up. We grew up with society’s odds stacked against us truly, but we had grandparents who put their everything into ensuring that we would turn out alright. Specifically, I remember my grandmother always praying for us. I truly believe those prayers delivered me to someplace rich, and I am ever grateful for how much she cared for us. Thus, I named the shop, “Nana’s Prayers”. It’s kind of ironic because she was worried sick when we started covering ourselves in tattoos, but I can tell she thinks it’s pretty cool that she has a parlor in her name!
We grew up with society’s odds stacked against us truly, but we had grandparents who put their everything into ensuring that we would turn out alright. My grandparents are my inspiration.
Do you love Austin? If yes, why?
I love Austin because the people I've met here, the places to lay outside, the dogs (which sounds crazy, but people have the coolest dogs here), there's even wild parrots here, and really great food. Politically, though, it needs a lot of attention.
Thank you to Imani for sharing her story. If you're interested in her work, please check out her page on Instagram @nanas.prayers.tattoos and support her however you can.