Jesse Lucas aims to make her tattoo studio a warm and welcoming place
Running a business

Jesse Lucas aims to make her tattoo studio a warm and welcoming place

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the stories of the amazing women in small business that are conquering male-dominated industries and working to #breakthebias.

Name: Jesse Lucas

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Business: Lady Moon Tattoo

Lady Moon Tattoo

Why did you decide to start your own business? How did you get started? 

At a young age I started drawing and painting, and it was always my dream to be able to create my own space where I could make art while still being able to make a living. I started tattooing 17 years ago and worked at several different shops that really helped me grow as an artist. In that time, I learned what kind of an environment I really wanted for myself and my clientele. In 2016, I decided to finally open my own space where I’ve been able to create a warm and welcoming environment.

What is the biggest lesson you learned in the first year?

I learned that it’s best to take things slow and not rush into everything you hope to accomplish all at once. 

What was the most surprising thing about becoming a business owner? 

The amount of support from so many people. 

How does running your own business make you feel?

It makes me feel so many things but mostly empowered, motivated and grateful.

What are some of the challenges you’ve overcome or are working to overcome as a business owner? 

The biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome were the repercussions of 2020. Trying to make the best decisions to keep everyone safe and comfortable during the height of the pandemic. 

What are your proudest moments?

Hiring three wonderful people that I get to work alongside. I feel so lucky they chose to work with me and be a part of my space.

What are the next big plans you have for your business?

An online store for my artists and myself to sell prints of our artwork. 

What are three things that you feel have contributed to your success as a business owner? 

Keeping a clean, calm, and welcoming environment, building relationships with clients, and just simply being kind to people. 

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Earning respect was a struggle, but my confidence got me through it.

What challenges do you feel are unique to female small business owners? 

Gender inequality and struggling to be taken seriously. 

What is it like working in an industry that some might see as traditionally male-dominated? Have you come up against any bias? 

It has become significantly easier over the years, but was hard during the first five years of my career. In the small town where I first started tattooing, I was one of the only female tattooers at the time. I was faced with a lot of discrimination and judgment not only from customers but coworkers too. Earning respect was a struggle but building my confidence got me through it! 

Is there anything you want other women to know about working in your industry?

There is a lot of criticism in the tattoo industry, and it can be very intimidating with the amount of amazing and talented artists out there. But try not to let it discourage you. Instead, let it motivate you!

What advice would you give to other women starting their own business? 

Focus on providing quality service and building a relationship with your customers, clients, and community. Find a good support group of other female business owners. 

When you’re having a tough day, who or what inspires you to keep going? 

My husband, my daughter, and my second daughter—expected this May. 

How can female business owners support one another and their community? 

Share each other’s pages through social media. Spread knowledge about their business to your own followers not just on social media, but in real life too! 

What’s your “power song” and why? 

“Double Dare Ya” by Bikini Kill 

To learn more about Lady Moon Tattoo and support their business, visit their website or check them out on Instagram.

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