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February 12, 2011

Shop Talk : Snapdragon Inc.

Snapdragon Inc. 116½ Main St., Delhi Owner: Marguerite Established: 2001 Employees: One part-time

Shop Talk is a weekly column featuring locally owned and operated businesses. This week, we talk to Marguerite, who doesn't use a last name, who operates Snapdragon Inc., a tattoo shop in Delhi.

How long have you lived in the area?

I moved up here from Long Island in 2000, but I have owned property up here for more than 20 years.

Tell me about your business:

Well, it's a tattoo shop, so I do tattoos mainly. I do a lot of custom designing and do mostly freehand, fine-line work. At Snapdragon, I do what I call "resurrecting" tattoos that need some rework, cover-ups or simply need to be fixed. There is some cosmetic tattoo work that I do, but not a large amount.

Describe a typical day in your business:

I typically open the shop at noon and work till around 7 p.m. Since most of my customers come in by appointment, I keep a busy schedule, but sometimes I can fit in walk-ins. Setting up for customers doesn't take a lot of time, usually about 5 to 10 minutes _ I have my work area clean and set up after I am finished with every customer, so ink cups and the machine I use are ready. I open all sterile tubes and needles in front of customers so that they can feel comfortable that these instruments have never been used before. Some customers will come in just to talk for a while and look through my portfolio of work.

How did you get started in this line of work?

It's a funny story that begins with me wearing shorts on a ladder. I was painting a large sign and the person holding the ladder I was up on owned a tattoo shop nearby. He kept looking up and finally asked if I would be interested in painting the sign on the glass front door of his business. I ended up painting a design on that door and he suggested I try my hand at making tattoo designs. I believe that for most of us it is good to have a few bad jobs before you settle in to one that you love.

Where do you see this business in five years?

In five years I hope to still be able to do this work, that my hands and eyes are still working.

Describe a memorable moment in your workplace:

There may be lots of stories and memorable moments, but I don't think about them at all. When I am finished with one design and one customer I completely move on; I don't linger with past experiences very much. I do enjoy the sort of experience that I call "tattoo therapy," where I am talking with clients who are getting a tattoo or friends who stop in to look over designs.

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