I first met Shelby in 2017 when I went to have one of my first tattoos done. I was referred to her by my good mate Jono Bruton. Jono works with CN&CO’s partner EasyEquities and is one of the founders of Salty Hour, an awesome initiative giving kids the opportunity to learn to surf. When I went to get another tattoo done last year, I learnt about Shelby’s plans to open up her own shop. After a bit of planning and loads of effort, she launched SheKnows Ink. Following the opening of the shop, I sent Shelby a few questions. Here are her responses, be sure to check out SheKnows Ink on Instagram.
Tell us about the SheKnows Ink story? (Where did the name come from, etc)
I wanted it to be something unique and not the typical tattoo brand.
When I was a kid (and even sometimes now) I would say “I know” a lot, not in a bratty way, but almost as a sentence filler. Then during one of the trips back to my home town (East London), I was in the kitchen with my parents having a discussion about something, and my dad was telling me something but before I could respond, my mom said “She knows!” and the light bulb went on. And from that moment on, SheKnows Ink was born.
-What was your first tattoo and what does it mean to you?
My first tattoo was a quote on my arm saying “remember to breathe”. It means a lot to me, and as the years came it’s meaning started to evolve with my experiences. In general, it’s a reminder to take a moment in everything I do, take a breath, appreciate the moment that you’re in and ‘the fact that you’re alive. That everything will be okay.
-Have you ever tattooed yourself?
Many, many times. And still many times to come.
-What made you become a tattoo artist and did you always think that you were going to open your own shop?
I dropped out of varsity, and worked for a corporate company for a bit, it ate away at my soul, being a creative person I needed to do something creative. My mother actually suggest that I look at getting a tattoo apprenticeship. I always wanted to be a jack of all trades and master of none. I can happily, and proudly say, that now that I have found tattooing, this is what I want to do until I can’t anymore. Once finishing my apprenticeship, owning my own shop was the goal. I had made it my five year goal, and am happy to say that I accomplished it within three.
-Who is the SheKnows Ink team?
The SheKnows Ink team is a bunch of highly talented individuals. We currently have three tattoo artists (including myself), a handpoke artist, two apprentices, and a shop manager.
Each of us has a different style and the talent in unreal. If you’d like to see the talent, pop into the shop or check us out on social media to see all the talent.
-Any tips for anyone who wants to get their first tattoo but is nervous or unsure?
The most common thing I hear from first timers, or people who are unsure of getting a tattoo, is that they are unsure of what to get because they are scared they won’t like it after a few years. My suggestion is to get something meaningful to you, something that tells a story or has significance behind it, that way, even if in a year’s time you don’t love the imagery so much, you’ll still love the meaning behind it, and it will still be special to you. I would also suggest finding a tattoo artist that you are comfortable with, this will put your mind at ease, and also make you feel more comfortable and confident when getting our tattoo. Otherwise, just get the tattoo, we are all going to die someday so might as well just get it while you’re still alive to appreciate it.