Interview: Pepper Baldwin of Pepper Ink Tattoo
Cecile Blackmore | On 06, Mar 2015
“The beauty of temporary tattoos is their transience, you don’t have to make a huge commitment and can go with your shifting moods and meandering thoughts,” We chat to Brisbane-based Pepper Baldwin about the business of creating exquisite temporary tattoos.
When you think “temporary tattoos”, you tend toÂ think aboutÂ dragons and butterflies from the two dollar shops of your childhood. These days, Pepper Ink Designs (available on Etsy) has a range of beautiful designs drawn up by local artists, from vintage flowers to geometric skulls – and you can even create your own. Seal the deal by purchasing Hollywood-standard “Liquiskin” to make your design last longer and your arms will be art in no time!
CD: How did Pepper Ink evolve from being an Etsy store to being a small business with a team of artists and stockists overseas?
PB: Pepper Ink grew really organically, we’ve just focused on making gorgeous designs that we love, and trusted that people would love them too! We grew with our range, evolving as we discovered new favorites and what our customers loved. We reached out to artists who we thought could produce the best results for our custom clients- the beauty of the internet is that it’s so easy to build communities and work as a team across oceans and timezones! When we were first contacted by stockists we realized that this is something that would reach more tattoo-lovers instore, so we put together a wholesale range and went from there.
Now, three years on, and from a corner of the dining room to a home office and assistants and working with people all over the world- I don’t think I could have guessed what would happen when I first wondered about making beautiful temporary tattoos!
CD: Why do you think people (and, more and more these days – women) love tattoos so much?
PB: Tattoos are so individualistic, beautiful, meaningful and inspiring. Everyone has stories to tell, things that are important to them, memories, dreams, style; and tattoos uniquely can capture so much of that. Different images mean different things to people, so when people see a tattoo design they construct their own meanings and how it resonates with their lives;Â like a moth to one person evokes memories of transition or metamorphosis, to another a reminder of night and the cycles of the moon- we try to create designs that have narratives and meaning.
Most of our customers are women, seeking to brighten their day, complement their style, illustrate their journey or try a unique custom design. Tattoos can mean so much, and let’s face it, they just look so darn good! The beauty of temporary tattoos is their transience, you don’t have to make a huge commitment and can go with your shifting moods and meandering thoughts.
CD: What’s your favourite tattoo to have had commissioned? Any that have made you laugh?
PB: Ooh this is a tricky question! We’ve created a tattoo for a birth announcement, tattoos for weddings, and tattoos for surprise parties. I love creating custom designs for people and hearing their stories and what’s inspired them, and several have gone on to get inked for reals. We also love seeing the photos after events of all ages rocking out tattoos! The most inspiring would be the designs used to cover scars, give courage in the grind of medical treatments or celebrate a difficult journey.Â One of the funniest would have to be the fellow who had a custom print of his friends face on a cartoon chihuahuas body for a joke, or the matching (and rather rude) set we did for a bachelorette party.
CD: Where do you go to look for inspiration for the prints?
PB: I adore vintage designs, especially florals, so a lot of our range is from vintage illustrations. This style also allows different designs to be worn together to make a tattoo sleeve, which looks awesome. Many of our contemporary designs are simply designs that I would have tattooed myself- interesting, modern, striking, multifaceted and unique.
CD: How do you like Brisbane as a place to live as a creative? Do you think it’s changing at all?
PB: I moved from Sydney and found that Brisbane has this lovely laid back unassuming creativity, found in pockets all over the city and suburbs. There’s so much to see and do once you start to look, and everyone in the creative community is so supportive and friendly.Â I think the creative entrepreneur culture, especially, is growing, and there’s supportive networking opportunities everywhere.
CD: What are you working on next?
PB: Â We’ve just collaborated with artists to offer custom floral, geometric, vintage and pet portrait illustrations; and now have DIY paper in store so you can print your own tattoos on the same high-quality paper we use! We also have a bunch of new designs coming out over the next few months, and perhaps even gold tattoos coming up…
For your own beautiful or badass design or custom piece, here’s where to go:
Images courtesy of Pepper Baldwin