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Sean and Thora Dowdell - What You Can Learn from an Upscale Tattoo Studio

Thinking about the customer experience is a huge part of building a successful business and brand. Sean and Thora Dowdell were able to take the customer experience to the next level and turn the tattoo and piercing model on its head. In 1995, Sean and Thora, along with their partner Chester Bennington started Club Tattoo. They now have six locations, two books, a consulting business called Business Game Changers, and are working on opening several bars in Las Vegas. Sean is the author of Tattooed Millionaire: Building the Club Tattoo Empire and Brand Renegades: The Fearless Path from Startup to Global Brand.

They decided to do things differently and create a new customer-focused experience at their elite tattoo and piercing studios. Every part of the customer experience has been planned out, from who greets the customers at the door to the art and music in the studio. They prioritized cleanliness and created their patented Interactive Tattoo™, touch screens that empower visitors to design their tattoos. They have multiple screens, so there is no waiting and no pressure to hurry up. The screens are also cleaned between each interaction, unlike the old-school tattoo portfolio binders.

We dive into building a unique brand and how any business can be made new and improved with innovation. We talk about how culture has changed when it comes to tattoos and piercings. Sean also shares interesting facts like their customer demographics, which aren’t who you would suspect. The best thing about this interview is Sean’s passion for branding and creating an unequaled customer experience. We talk about differentiating your brand, letting the customer choose what you will sell, being hyper-focused on what the customers are asking for, and thinking outside the box no matter what business you are in.

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Sean and Thora Dowdell thank you so much for being here!

Remember, you might be in business FOR yourself but you are not in business BY yourself.

Be your best self. Be proud and keep changing the world.

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Host Jeffrey Shaw is a Small Business Consultant, Brand Management Consultant, Business Coach for Entrepreneurs, Keynote Speaker, TEDx Speaker and author of LINGO and The Self Employed Life (May 2021). Supporting self-employed business owners with business and personal development strategies they need to create sustainable success.


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