Love At First Ink


Minneapolis Tattoo Shop prides itself on an inclusive environment and a friendly atmosphere. Photos by Chris Tarbox

Getting a tattoo is a highly personal decision. In addition to having your skin inked for the rest of your life, most if not all tattoos have a deep or sentimental significance to their owners, and when planning for your own personal pigmentation process, you need to find a parlor that not only values craftsmanship, but hosting a welcoming environment as well.

Minneapolis Tattoo Shop holds both principles in spades.

Rewind to April 2013. When Nikki Time saw that building space at 2211 Lyndale Ave. in Minneapolis was for rent, she decided to try her hand at opening up her very own tattoo parlor.

“I spent about three months renovating everything, and I opened up my doors on April 1, 2013,” she says. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to get anybody in the doors. I started out with three rooms, and within five years, we have been fortunate enough to buy the whole building. We’ve expanded to seven artists now, which is amazing.”

Half a decade after making the leap into her business venture, Time’s shop has become widely celebrated in the Twin Cities for its massively talented roster of artists, handsome shop layout, and its dedication to charitable and socially conscious causes. On top of that, Minneapolis Tattoo Shop proved to be the catalyst for another landmark in Nikki Time’s life: love.

About a year after opening the shop, Time encountered a customer named Jodie.

Minneapolis Tattoo Shop’s artists allow for a wide variety of inking styles to satisfy the client’s specifi c tastes.

“I’ll never forget the day,” says Time. “It was snowing, I was sitting up front, and this woman walks through the door in a big fur jacket. She fluffs her jacket off, and I’m like, ‘That is the prettiest woman I’ve ever seen.'”

“I still can’t get the picture out of my head,” Time continues. “She came in for a tattoo, and she kept coming back, and I was like, ‘You probably should stick around.’”

Before long, Nikki and Jodie got married, and Jodie now serves as a co-proprietor of Minneapolis Tattoo Shop. Jodie, who had an interest in tattoos for years and went to art school for photography, proved to be as integral to the shop as her wife. And as a married same-sex couple, Nikki and Jodie have made a point to make their shop as inclusive as possible, with the parlor becoming very popular with GLBT clientele.

“My biggest thing for the tattoo shop when I first opened it was that I wanted it to be a comfortable environment,” says Nikki. “Because you can walk into a tattoo shop and they can be pretty intimidating, especially if you don’t fit the stereotypical mold… That is why we have such a great clientele, because we’ve created a comfortable spot. On the forms, we have preferred names so we can touch all the bases.”

What also helps is that the Times’ crew of artists are so tight-knit that they practically operate as a family. The shop also offers an embarrassment of comfortable riches, including comfy leather tattoo chairs, tools and salves designed to minimize pain during the tattooing process, and environmentally friendly practices.

“It is a family work setting, where we are all very good friends (spending) 70 to 80 hours all working together,” says Nikki. “And there’s little details that we nurture, such as making sure that the client is comfortable, and using Lidocaine spray. We all use rotaries here, (which are) a little bit softer on the skin. And we use all-disposable tubes, which is a lot safer. We keep a very clean shop.”

Nikki and Jodie Time, both in front, flanked by their talented roster of tattoo artists at Minneapolis Tattoo Shop.

Minneapolis Tattoo Shop also participates in flash sales, catered either towards a fandom base—such as Star Wars, Harry Potter or Friday the 13th—or a charitable organization.

“We participated in a nationwide charity fundraiser event that was bringing awareness about people that have been sexually abused or have gone through trauma,” says Jodie. “We ended up working with the Sexual Violence Center of Minneapolis, and we raised $7,000 and donated it to the center.”

It’s that compassionate sense of community that earns Minneapolis Tattoo Shop its praise and accolades, alongside the top-notch ink work.

“(We aim) to give people the best experience in a comfortable environment, walk out with something they’re proud of, and we’re happy to be there for them,” says Jodie.

Minneapolis Tattoo Shop
2211 Lyndale Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN

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