Small Business Q&A: Family Tradition Tattoo

This Marietta artist creates permanent body art and offers piercing service, possibilities for memorable bonding experiences with relatives this holiday season.

Family Tradition Tattoo owner James Tuck’s tattoos start with cyan swirls that run the length of his right bicep and forearm. He doesn’t have a count on the designs that rest under his skin, and he doesn’t show them off, at least not while at work in his small shop in an understated plaza on Shallowford Road, just west of Trickum Road.

Tuck is also a tattoo artist, a craft he’s been practicing for 16 years. When not using an electric needle to create, the Marietta High School Class of 1988 graduate writes dark urban fantasy novels and novelettes. Deacon Chalk: Occult Urban Bounty Hunter, is Tuck’s series published by Kensington Press. Two new releases are scheduled for first quarter of next year.

Readers can find tastes of Tuck’s imagination on his website, including this microfiction:

“Yes Sire.”
“Never bow. Come quickly when I call you but never bow again.”
“Not even in the presence of your father the Sultan?”
“Especially not then. Better to die.”
“By your example Sire.”

The act of defying the status quo goes along with Tuck’s passion for tattoos; he cites a photo in a biker magazine as his first attraction to the art form. The picture was of a man wearing black boots and a black leather vest with bare arms exposing a tattoo sleeve.

“I was 10. And, I wanted to be THAT guy. It’s the concept of a biker that I identify with,” Tuck shares.

Tuck prefers hot rods over motorbikes and acknowledges his father’s small tattoo as an early influence.

The shop employs two other tattoo artists, Kevin Dobbs and Melissa Capo. Both are subcontractors.

Dobbs is Tuck’s "brother;" the two went together when they sat for their first tattoos at the age of 25.  

Tuck says that most of Family Tradition clientele have one to three tattoos. He sees many house wives and mother-daughter sittings. Word tattoos are trending according to Tuck.

Georgia law requires persons getting a tattoo must be over 18 years old. Tattoo design, size, color choices and where the art is placed determine cost. Tuck says that the ballpark cost for an artist is $100 an hour and most tattoos fall between $50 and $80 to create.

As a shop owner, Tuck is responsible for "keeping the doors open," accounts payable, ordering supplies and business development. Tuck relies on word of mouth and social media for marketing.  

Q. What's the best thing about your job?

A. I like every bit of it. It’s a weird job, either you’re suited for it, or not. I like people. (Smile.) I get to come to work at noon.

Q. What is the best thing about Northeast Cobb?

A. It’s a nice part of town. People who live near here, families, walk past the store. I don’t worry about crime. The people who come in here are nice. People around here have money and know how they want to spend it.  

Q. Why did you choose to open your business in Northeast Cobb?

A. I grew up not too far from here. I’ve always worked around this area, so my clientele are localized around here.

Q. Why did you pick this kind of business?

A. I want to own a shop to have future security. As owner, a shop will provide income.

Q. What are some of the services you offer that people may not know about?

A. Melissa does fine art prints and commissioned designs.

Q. When did you start your business?

A. March, 2009. I was working at a shop in Acworth and Kevin was working retail full time and I scouted locations. I like the area. We worked to build the space out from about ten, p.m. to eight or nine in the morning. It only took us four days to finish.

Q. Do you have advice for anyone who'd like to start a small business in this area?

A. This is a great area to be in. Start a business. When you do, watch your paperwork. Make sure you have all the licensing and certificates. There’s a lot of paperwork, and fees.

Q. Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know?

A. Come get tattooed. You know you want to. Come and do it. We’re closed on Thursday, so we can be with our families on Thanksgiving. After that we’re open every day except Sundays and other major holidays.

James Tuck, artist/owner

Family Tradition Tattoo (Website)

2300 Shallowford Road, Suite12



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