Everything that I share in this book are the things that landed me a great apprenticeship with an awesome mentor. Everything I have said will get you a little bit closer to that coveted position. Every one of these little secrets will help.
However, there is one thing I did that I think was the icing on the cake when it came to getting tattooists to speak to me and offer me apprenticeships. When I used this secret weapon I got many call backs from prospective mentors and in then end was able to choose myself who I wanted to apprentice with. It certainly seemed to work well for me and I will share that little secret with you in this section of the book.
The thing you need to realise is that there are loads of other people looking for apprenticeships. That means that in order to be in with a chance, or even remembered, you need to stand out from the crowd (in a good way). Here’s how I did that…
MAKE A MINI PORTFOLIO GIFT TO LEAVE WITH THE TATTOOIST
My winning secret was to make a mini portfolio. Whenever I handed these out to prospective mentors they were intrigued and impressed. This resulted in many call backs, positives versatile and great contacts. It eventually was THE main reason I landed my apprenticeship. Here’s what you need.
AN ATTRACTIVE BOX OR FOLDER TO CONTAIN THE PORTFOLIO
I used simple brown paper gift boxes off eBay. It only needs to be small.
AWESOME PRINTED EXAMPLES OF YOUR WORK
You could print out your best examples on good quality paper, or if you have a bit more cash get them professionally printed as postcards. Remember to make sure your name and contact details are on each postcard as well as your website address. Make them something amazing that a tattooist might want to put on their wall.
Business card printers MOO allow you to print business cards with different images on each individual card. This works really nicely. You can create an entire set of business cards featuring your work which also has your contact details on too.
This is ideal to create a mini portfolio.
Check them out on https://www.moo.com.
However you do it, make sure you have a selection of maybe 5 or 6 different pieces of work and make them look slick and professional.
A COVERING LETTER EXPLAINING WHO YOU ARE AND THAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR AN APPRENTICESHIP.
Say that you would appreciate a chance to show the tattooist your portfolio. This is a good way of getting your foot in the door for a potential meeting.
A SMALL EDIBLE GIFT
Everybody like chocolate right? Chocolate makes people feel happy and have a warm feeling to whoever gave it to them. Play this sneaky mind trick and pop a couple of wrapped chocolates in the pack. Can’t hurt.
Altogether you need to make this little package look exciting and inviting. The tattooist has got to feel like they have received an exciting little gift to open. You need to make them feel like it’s a little bit like Xmas. The work inside needs to be excellent.
HOW TO USE YOUR SECRET WEAPON.
So there you go. You have a small professional looking package which you can leave with any tattooist you approach. How do you use it?
After I had made my list of tattooists to approach (as we talked about previously) I got set up with my mini portfolios and my main portfolio.
Some tattooists I approached by walking into their shop. I asked if they had time to chat about apprenticeships. Most often they didn’t as they were tattooing. That’s when I pulled out the mini portfolio and said “OK. Can I just leave you with this. Get back to me” ALL the tattooists I did this with got back to me and we organised them having a look at my work. Even if they couldn’t offer an apprenticeship they gave me valuable feedback on my portfolio and suggestions about other tattooists who may be looking for an apprentice. None were negative or unhelpful. They took me seriously. I approached a couple of tattooists at a convention and handed them a mini portfolio. Again this resulted in them contacting me. I also posted out a couple of boxes. This worked also. I think tattooists are so unused to being approached in this way that they are intrigued. Being organised like this shows initiative and makes you stand out from the crowd.
I eventually landed my tattoo apprenticeship from this method and my mentor commented on how impressed he was with the box and had to get in touch. There are so many people sending out crappy bits of paper with their work on that it’s really worth the effort to go the extra mile.