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Dakota Lee is not just an ordinary tattoo parlor, they are a lifestyle. Not only do they tattoo the masses of Johannesburg, they can also be found at the bar making friends at any of the many events they hold.
Dakota Lee hopes to change the way people think about tattoos and the stigma surrounding the industry. They strive to offer top class service in a friendly five-star environment. Owner, Ryan Lee was inspired by the rapid growth of the tattoo industry and aims to make the shop approachable by giving you a taste of international flavour on your South African doorstep.
Dakota Lee currently have a tattoo studio in Sandton as well as in Kyalami, with many more planned to come.
Tattoo Addict met with Meghan from the Kyalami Dakota Lee branch to find out more.
The next one we are opening is in Dainfern square, in March. We will be doing the shopfitting in February. The goal this year is to open another 5 stores, some in the Pretoria area, the East Rand, maybe the South and then definitely branching down into Cape Town.
Talent is critical. It’s the most important thing and what attracts us to somebody. They may have a particular skill or a certain style, maybe something a little bit different. Another thing we look at is a good work ethic. That is extremely important to us. So even if they are talented but have a bad attitude or do not present themselves in a classy manner they will not fit with the Dakota Lee culture.
If we find someone who is a very good artist that would like to convert their skill into tattooing, we like to give them an opportunity in a training role. The more senior guys teach them the ropes. There are many guys that have been around for many years, and they are very talented with a lot to offer the industry with regards to mentoring. We then assess whether they are ready to enter the industry. We get a lot of success out of that because they become integrated into the culture of Dakota Lee.
The Rock Box is another one of Ryan’s different business ideas. It is a mobile tattoo studio that you will find at alternative events. There will be the combination of some live music, a bar, and then the opportunity to get a tattoo. There will be an area will people can sit and watch the bands, if people want to get tattooed, the environment inside will be sterile and clean, if not we will be showcasing some work. The Rock Box will have a presence on the road too. People are going to recognise it when they drive past. When it’s at the event it’s going to grab people’s attention and create a great vibe. We believe that sometimes it is important to go to your client instead of having them come to you. It’s a way for the event industry and the tattoo industry to meet half way.
We want people to remember that getting a tattoo is a memorable experience, and we will make it something special that you will never forget.
We are still waiting to confirm the first place where we will be launching the Rock Box. Keep an eye out on our social media for more details.
We really like the relationship we have with Tattoo Addict. I think supplier relationships are extremely important and Tattoo Addict has been there for us from the very start. There is a sense of being able to depend on each other and rely on each other and we know the quality of the products are good. We have never had an issue with the quality of the supplies. It’s easy to order from Tattoo Addict online and the website is user-friendly. Our staff really likes Tattoo Addict. They enjoy the get-togethers like the boerie day. I think that really breaks down the barriers in the industry. Suppliers like Tattoo Addict are bringing everyone together and that’s how it’s supposed to be. We shouldn’t be shy to learn together. There is enough work to go around for everyone and we need to stand together to put the South African tattoo industry on the map.
Dakota Lee culture is going to change the way people think about tattoos in South Africa, very exciting stuff! Be sure to watch this space for the launch of the Rock Box, and don’t forget to look out for it on the road! “Let's be Different together”
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