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‘My schedule is really packed’: How COVID-19 has led to long wait times for tattoos

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 has led to long wait times for Winnipeg tattoo artists' COVID-19 has led to long wait times for Winnipeg tattoo artists
Like nearly every business, Winnipeg tattoo parlours felt major effects from COVID-19 lockdowns, and many are still playing catch-up. As Global's Marney Blunt reports, that's led to long wait times for those looking to get inked – Oct 25, 2021

If you’re thinking of getting inked anytime soon, be prepared to wait.

Like nearly every business, tattoo parlours felt major effects from COVID-19 lockdowns, and many are still playing catch-up.

“(We lost) out on over $100,000 when I go back and look at my books of being shut down for three out of the nine months,” said Abby Boivin, owner and artist with Living Canvas Tattoo.

“We’re a small business. It’s hard.”

Boivin also said that while she was relieved to be able to reopen, getting back to business also meant a scheduling nightmare.

“When the pandemic hit, I backed my books up to only book for two or three months at a time just in case,” she said.

“But even backlogging three or four months of closure on top of an already three months that you’re booked — it was quite a headache to go back and get through to everybody and try to book everyone in again. I’ve never seen anything like that ever, where I’ve had to reschedule so many people.”

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Living Canvas artist Candace Reid had an average three-month wait time prior to the pandemic. Now, she’s booked until April.

“It’s pretty busy. My schedule is really packed,” Reid said. “(There’s) definitely a lot of demand for people wanting to get new work done.”

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The backlogs are a combination of new clients, and clients who booked before the pandemic hit, the artists said.

“For example, I completed a tattoo last weekend that was rescheduled each lockdown,” said Jodie Wentz, the primary artist at Albert Street Tattoo, in an email.

“The client’s original consult was in March 2020. We finally applied the tattoo this (past) Saturday.”

“Also, demand for smaller less complicated tattoos is very high,” she said. “As many artists who normally could have accommodated these projects quickly, are now booked by further ahead as well.”

Jennah Bullaro of Bluebird Tattoo said artists are putting other work on hold while they try to catch up. She also said cancelled tattoo conventions and not being able to do walk-ins during certain restrictions had an impact as well.

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“Everybody’s books are closed because of all of the lockdowns and all their appointments constantly being pushed back,” Bullaro said in an email.

“When any of their books do open, they usually get between 50 to 100 emails for new appointments.”

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