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With all the emphasis placed on the art and the artists and the clients and all the great stuff that goes along within the tattoo industry, it’s sometimes easy to forget that tattooing is a business and tattoo studios are places of business. That’s not to say that tattooing is only about chasing the almighty dollar, but for those artists out there getting set to open up their first studio with a partner or two, perhaps it’s best to keep the following in mind.
Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil has recently found out the hard way that sometimes you just can’t trust the people who you think you can. Neil’s two investments with an unnamed business partner have both ended up in the proverbial crapper after said business partner backed out of Neil’s Las Vegas bar and grill Feelgood’s as well as his tattoo studio, Vince Neil Ink.
‘”The problem actually started in August, right around the first anniversary of the club, because at the end of the year, I was out a lot of money. I didn’t take a cent to give the club a year to get on its feet. Normally, I would have been paid an upfront licensing fee and shared in profits. But when the year came around, my partner decided he didn’t want to be involved in the club anymore. So he brought in new managing partners.
“Then all of a sudden I was out, they were trying to take over the club without me and without paying me.”‘
The problems began with Feelgood’s but have now contaminated Vince Neil Ink to the point where Neil has had to temporarily shut down the tattoo studio. It’s a situation that will ultimately end up in court and cost all involved a whole bunch of money. It’s nothing new to see people who were in business together ending up on unfriendly terms – no one every thinks that the people they are working with will screw them over one day. I’m not suggesting that no one should trust their business partners, I’m just pointing out that this type of thing happens at all levels of the game, whether it be first time business owners or super rich wheeler dealers. Watch out for yourselves.