Evansville tattoo shop run by women aims to create inclusive space

Evansville tattoo shop run by women aims to create inclusive space
Published: Oct. 1, 2022 at 12:06 AM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Getting a tattoo is a personal, and even emotional, experience for many people. To ensure clients are comfortable, the owner of The Cherry Cherub tattoo studio in Evansville decided her place would be owned and operated entirely by women.

Dejae Cooley has been a tattoo artist for seven years. For five years she worked at other studios. Two years ago when pandemic restrictions allowed tattoo studios to reopen, she decided to open one of her own, with her own colorful spin.

“I wanted to create an environment that felt warm and welcoming,” said Cooley. “I’ve worked in a few studios where we did have black on the walls and it makes it feel small, closed in. It does feel intimidating. It’s almost the equivalent to a doctor’s office to me.”

Cooley says some potential clients weren’t always comfortable at other studios where she’s worked. To make her studio more accessible, she decided The Cherry Cherub would be owned and operated entirely by women, and they say it’s meant a lot to some of their clients.

“A lot of people are almost nervous to go to other places because they’re so intimidated, and that’s exactly the opposite of the environment we want here,” said tattoo apprentice Annabelle Turner. “We want it to be open and welcoming, so yeah we get a lot of women, but we do still tattoo men.”

Cooley says the environment has been appealing to members of the LGBTQ community, including transgender clients, who weren’t comfortable going elsewhere.

“There’s no fear of judgment for who they want to be,” said Cooley. “You walk in, you can be authentically who you are here.”

They say they do all kinds of designs, but they’re known especially for nostalgic, cartoon designs, as well as the occasional sour gummy worm.

The Cherry Cherub is moving into a new location, where they plan to open on Oct. 7.

Click here for more information on the studio.