Green, the color of envy, paints the walls. Large gold letters reminiscent of traditional knuckle tattoos sprawl across the door and windows spelling out the name of the shop. Meg Rataiczak, owner of Lady Envy Tattoo, opened those doors in early December of 2020, but her love for tattooing and her path toward owning her own business started long before that.
However, Meg will be the first to admit that she didn’t have career plans to grow up and become a tattoo artist. Originally, luck landed Meg in a tattooing apprenticeship while she was attending college studying fine art and graphic design. However, she quickly fell in love with the art while she was learning.
“It was entirely fate and circumstance that I started tattooing, but I fell in love with it very quickly. I have no idea what I would be doing if I weren’t tattooing right now. I have always kept an open mind and didn’t tie myself to anything, so it’s hard to say where I would be without tattooing,” Meg said. “I draw, paint, and create graphics a lot outside of tattooing. I also work with stained glass when I can find the time. Any art project I can get my hands on, I will.”
As Meg grew as a tattoo artist, she made invaluable connections with other artists in other cities which helped her to start to form ideas for how her shop would look in the future.
“Getting to watch and learn what others were doing has helped me shape what I want my shop to operate like. Also, Instagram has always been a huge help to me as far as making connections and marketing my own work as well,” she said.
I am so honored to be asked to put my art on people’s bodies for the rest of their lives and I am grateful every day to know that so many people want my work on their bodies.
Those connections continue into her clients too. Other than being able to make a living on her art, the connection she has with clients who respect her opinions and artistic background help her to grow as an artist.
“Return clients are my biggest reward. Artistic freedom with tattoos is another big reward for me. I am so honored to be asked to put my art on people’s bodies for the rest of their lives and I am grateful every day to know that so many people want my work on their bodies,” she said.
Thinking about the experience of being tattooed or pierced, Meg decided to open her own shop in Marietta. For Meg and the other artists in her shop (two other tattoo artists and one piercer), client experience is paramount. They work diligently to make sure their clients feel safe, heard, and comfortable.
“I needed to have a better environment for myself in order to do the same for my clients. Again, being tattooed is an experience, and I wanted to make sure my clients have a great one. Also, artistically, I have flourished since opening my own shop. Environment is everything,” Meg said.
After opening, there has been no shortage of people who want something by Meg tattooed on their bodies.
“Meg has always exceeded all of my expectations when it comes to her work. I’ve gone to her since her apprenticeship, and she’s literally never let me down. Her art is always unique, beautiful, and fun,” said Kyleigh Hawes, Parkersburg resident.
Meg chose to name the shop something that felt classy and strong and settled on Lady Envy Tattoo. She went through an entire notebook filled with names, but always returned to that one. After she decided on the name, her business grew rapidly.
I am very grateful to be working with three other people who care so much about treating their clients so respectfully.
“At first I expected it to be just myself, but before I could even open, I had gained two other coworkers who also needed a change of environment. Recently, we have even made room for a third artist who sought the same thing we did. I am very grateful to be working with three other people who care so much about treating their clients so respectfully,” she said.
Meg’s vision for her business continues to strengthen with each passing day. Meg believes that they have created a beautiful, safe space for their clients and has a deep pride for everyone who has contributed to that atmosphere. However, there are always challenges in success.
“Learning to say no has been the most challenging thing as a tattoo artist. Sometimes potential clients and the artist they reach out to don’t click, and that’s ok. Knowing that and recognizing it, as well as communicating it politely, is a really important step in making sure each client’s experience is as great as it can be,” Meg said.
Again, Meg returns to the client experience as the cornerstone for her business.
“The amount of clients who have specifically told us that they feel much more comfortable and relaxing in our new shop has been far more than I expected. That was my entire goal, but I didn’t fully realize how important it was until I started getting so much positive feedback,” she said.
I feel more appreciated, respected, and represented as an artist than I ever have in my entirely artistic career.
The positive feedback continues into Lady Envy’s support in the general community as well. Lady Envy makes a point to support local business through art projects like t-shirt designs, printing locally, and hiring local artists for projects that they can’t complete on their own. Meg also credits Marietta Main Street’s Public Art Committee with helping Lady Envy to reach out to other artists and locals with whom they trade and commission work.
“The support and growth I have seen since moving to Marietta in 2014 is astounding. Downtown is flourishing, and I feel more appreciated, respected, and represented as an artist than I ever have in my entirely artistic career. The locals here are all about helping their neighbors, and that kind of support and community is the reason I love living here,” she said.
When Meg transitioned from her previous studio to opening her own she relied on the support of the community and her clients to get her to where she is today.
“While opening my own shop, I was very grateful and impacted by how supportive all of my friends, family, and clients were. They were patient until I got up and running again, and I had a very large number of people offer to help us paint, find services, and clean to help get us up and running even faster,” Meg said.
Keeping the shop up and running in a manner that supports the happiness of all involved is important to Meg and how she structures her business model.
“Everyone at my shop operates separately, and we share a space. I am not their boss, they don’t have ranks, we all just share a building and encourage one another. We all work how we choose is best for our lives and mental health. Everyone being happy and healthy is inspiring to me,” Meg said.
Going forward, Meg has big goals for her shop and how she plans to manage it. Particularly, curating an artful space for the artists and the community.
Everyone that works at my shop right now creates art in several ways other than tattooing, and I’d really love to expand to add room for all of us to have access to art studios and bigger equipment.
“I see my business expanding, but not adding more workers. Rather I see it expanding to add room for other art forms. Everyone that works at my shop right now creates art in several ways other than tattooing, and I’d really love to expand to add room for all of us to have access to art studios and bigger equipment for making art like stained glass, pottery, vinyl printing, etc.,” she said.