Kristen Brooks: Collector of Tattoos & Antiques, Vice President of Alger Electric, Mother of Bella.
How did you get into getting tattooed?
“I didn’t grow up in a family of tattooed people, but when I was in high school I did have a boyfriend who was old enough to get tattooed and he was getting worked on by Vinnie Myers in Westminster. I was so inspired by the quality of the art that I knew I had to have one, too.”
How old were you when you got your first tattoo?
“I waited until I was 18 to get it even though I knew what I wanted for 3 years. I’ve added to my tattoo collection quite a bit over the years and it’s so encouraging to see other professionals, in many different industries, with lots of visible tattoos. It’s become so much more acceptable now, it’s no longer just society’s fringe groups with tattoos, it’s become the norm to see young women with full sleeves. As a tattooed person, a Mom, and especially as a tattoo shop owner, I feel that such an important decision is best made as a legal adult. That’s why we decided to not do any tattoos on anyone under the age of 18 at Westminster Tattoo Company.”
What was your first tattoo?
“I got my very first tattoo in 1995 at Little Vinnie’s Tattoos by Matt Presti. It’s an image of 2 hands holding the world and it serves as a reminder to me that I can do anything or be anything I want in this world, I just have to go out and do it.”
What do you like to do?
“I run my family’s commercial electric business full time as well as raise my teenage daughter. She keeps me busy and we travel a lot together. I’ve visited many tattoo shops in both the US & abroad. Seeing so many people expressing themselves around the world in so many different ways is amazing and really beautiful. When I was married, I had a side business dealing antiques in Ellicott City. I still love collecting them and I’ve brought some very unique pieces into shop to decorate, including some Victorian furniture and taxidermy from Steve Irwin’s ranch in Australia. Obviously, I also like getting tattooed. I’ve been getting tattooed by Beth Kennedy for the past 4 years. She came highly recommended, I sent her an email for a consult, and the rest is history.”
How did you get here?
“I never thought I’d be owner of a tattoo shop, it never entered my mind, but here I am and I’m so excited about it! I’m so happy to have something that is truly my own, and to have a great partner to do it with.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
“I see our shop growing to the point where in 5 years our neighbors will have moved out and we’ll need to expand to the left and right. We have a very bright future here, I’m excited, it’s going to be amazing.”
Got any advice for someone who wants a tattoo?
“My advice to anyone looking to get tattooed is this: You definitely get what you pay for when it comes to tattoos and quality work doesn’t come cheap. Reputations are important and so is experience. In the case of our shop, we are brand new on the block, but all of the artists that work here have an average of 25 years experience in the industry. Do your research and ask around, being spontaneous can be fun, but tattoos are forever and worth the wait.”