26 Oct 2011

On the Edge Body Art Studio thrives despite economy

Author: Sarah Bailey | Filed under: Business, Student Contributor

Manager Dennis Foust talks passion, business

By Sarah Bailey


Dennis Foust is a father of five, a regular church attendee and an artist of 200,000 tattoos.

Foust is the manager of On the Edge Body Art Studio on North Main Street in Bowling Green, Ohio.

While other businesses struggle in this economy, Foust’s trophy-decorated and portrait-covered studio is an example of a business that is doing just the opposite.

According to a story by U.S. News and World Report, tattoo businesses are not only doing well, they are growing. According to the report, there are now over 15,000 functioning tattoo studios, and about one new studio opens each day.

As the manager of the business for 11 years, Foust said he has seen the store grow while the economy plummeted.

“The economy hasn’t hurt us yet,” Foust said. “It’s actually boosted us.”

Realistically, the store was expecting a couple of bad years because of the economy, Foust said.

“We’ve actually had more customers, but I also credit the store’s customer service for our success,” he said.

The popularity of tattoos has recently increased, and the people who are getting them are changing too, Foust said.

“I think the tattoo business is becoming mainstream, 100 percent,” he said.

Foust said he has tattooed teachers, lawyers, and even a neurosurgeon from Toledo who has a large tattoo covering his entire back.

“Tattooing in general has really grown so much in the last ten years,” Foust said.

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, more than a third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 have a tattoo. An estimated 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 40 have a tattoo, the study said.

In any given day, Foust said the store sees around 150 customers, about 25 of which get tattoos and the rest piercings. Tattoos start at $25 and piercings start at $10, he said.

At the studio, a tattoo artist works with a customer to draw out their desired design, then an appointment is scheduled within the next few weeks for the customer to get the tattoo, he said.

The business is certified by the Wood County Health Department, and all of the tattoo artists are trained in first aid, Foust said.

Foust started doing tattoos in 1999 after he became tired of working as an engineer at an automotive manufacturer. He already had a few tattoos at that point in his life, and decided he was ready for a career change.

“I realized I had a passion for tattoos at that point, someone gave me the opportunity, and I went for it,” he said.

He said what makes the business different than others is the store’s loyalty to its customers.

“In this particular business, we just do good work and take really good care of our customers,” he said. “We stand by our work.”

Paige Fenner, a junior at BGSU who got her tattoo at the studio last year, described her experience as easy and informative.

“When I went through, the whole process was satisfying and as painless as possible,” Fenner said.

To assure that the utensils were sanitary, the tattoo artist showed her the packaged tools, opened them in front of her, and cleaned the entire area thoroughly before and after the appointment, she said.

“Everything was very clean, and they made sure I was comfortable the whole time,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”

In addition to satisfying customers, Foust said there are plenty of highlights he experiences from managing the store alongside Drew.

“Our perspective of how we do business and how we treat our customers translates down to all of the employees,” he said.

Ryan Nickens, who has worked at the studio for a year and a half, described his experience with Foust as a relationship built on respect.

“We’ve had a lot of good moments with each other,” Nickens said. “He’s kind of like the Dad figure around here.”

Customers can get in touch and hear about the studio’s latest news through different types of media, according to Joe Frias, another artist from On the Edge Body Art Studio.

According to Frias, the main forms of media the store uses are Facebook, MySpace, radio, and TV advertisements. An official website is in the works, he said.

Frias, who has been working at the store for five years, said he’s always believed as an artist there is room for improvement.

“Everyone has their own style, and I have definitely learned a lot from Dennis,” Frias said.

Foust was swift to recognize what his employees meant to him.

“I couldn’t ask for more. These guys are the greatest crew ever,” he said. “I’m truly blessed.”

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