Today, 40% of adults under age 40 have at least one tattoo and more are getting them everyday. That has made tattooing big business on the beach, resulting in multi month waits for tattoos.
If you walk in to Electroluxe Tattoo today and request artist Crystal Hayes expect to wait until November before she can fit you into her busy schedule. Crystal has clients who fly in from as far as Spain and next month, she is being flown to San Diego by a client who wants work done. Her popularity comes from 12 years experience and in that time, she has seen a big change in the tattoo culture.
"Well when I first began it was more like the bikers and now its anybody. I tattoo doctors and you know people you wouldn’t expect. Pastors, I’ve tattoo pastors and preachers and stuff," said Crystal Hayes.
Award winning Panama City Plastic Surgeon Dr. Adil Ceydil is one of those people you wouldn't expect.
"I've established myself as a plastic surgeon. I don’t think it offends any of my patients, if anything they are interested and they admire it. Some of my colleagues’ still, when they see me with my scrubs they will try to pull them down to cover it like they think that is is something bad. I'm on the opposite end; I’m trying to wear shorter sleeves because I’m proud of my tattoo."
However, tattoos still have a negative image to many. Job coaches at the workforce center, a not for profit that connects job seekers with employers, say tattoos can be the reason you don't get the job.
"If you have them on your arms, obviously if you wear a short sleeve shirt they are going to show. So if you are going into an interview or any kind of professional setting, we suggest you try to hide them the best way possible," said Amanda Dawn.
Electroluxe owner Steve Thomas says his tattoos have cost him jobs in the past. So, he decided to open his own studio-- however, even that was met with obstacles.
"There are a lot of ordinances about tattoo studios that classify them as adult entertainment so the places the business could have been located are very very slim," said Thomas.
In the end, his shop has been a huge success and with tattoos becoming more popular, Thomas thinks that success will continue to snowball.
"85 year old grandma's are coming in here to get there first tattoos, soccer moms are bringing the kids in here, and more and more people are taking the time to talk to these people, and realize that behind the tattoos are really great people."
Crystal Hayes originally set out to be an architect but gave up on that dream when she found she enjoyed her college job of tattooing more. She says it was right decision.