We had the good fortune of connecting with Johnny Jinx and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Johnny, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
My business model was designed to help artists keep more money from their work by only charging a flat booth rental rate. Before I opened the Clover, I was handing over at least four thousand dollars to shop owners every month. It’s a shitty deal and it comes with no vacation days. I got a phone call once, The Call to “come say goodbye” before my step mother passes away. I called the shop owner and told him the news and that I wouldn’t be able to work for a week. His response, “yeah, just make sure you have someone to cover your shift.” The thought of going to others and explaining my situation again and again was devastate me. A year later, in a shop in Denver, a date picked me up from work and the next day my station was covered in nasty little post-it notes written by the owners saying foul things about this woman they had never met before in their lives. Later, it was explained to me it was an old school tradition not to let young artists date or mingle with people unless the shop owner approves first. In both situations, the owners had me working over forty hours a week and told me “we’re like a family.” When I had enough money to open my own space, it wasn’t to become like any of those creeps I mentioned earlier, but to provide a place for others who were tired of that traditional environment and system. I’ve had a lot of artists come and go over the years and I’ve had to adjust the model in order to maintain sustainability, but before I make any changes, I run it by my wife Shawna. She knows my vision and helps keep me on track with what I set out to do in the first place: help artists achieve their fullest potential.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
“When you love what you do you’ll never work another day in your life” is a saying whose tensile strength is tested to the extreme for small business owners. When I first started the company I had some pretty big ideas on how to get the company working without me and grow it into a chain while I stepped back to suck down mai-tais on a tropical beach somewhere while my bank account gets fatter. That’ll never happen. I’m a better Tattooer than a business manager and my work is one of the only redeeming qualities I have left. The few vacations I have taken were miserable, awkward affairs that left me hugging my desk when I retuned home. I don’t know what to tell the world about my brand or story without sounding painfully self-important, but you asked so here it goes…. the need to get a tattoo is real for people from all walks of life. When you come into our shop, no matter who you are or what you look like, you are welcomed and we will address that need first. If its something we can do, then we’ll talk about the tax like adults and you will know *exactly* how much a tattoo will cost before you agree to move forward. We don’t charge an hourly rate without mentioning a price cap. I know that sounds like no big deal, but you’d be surprised how many tattooers are reluctant to tell a client how much a project is going to cost.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would eat sushi every day of the week. Yoshimatsu has a real authentic feel I haven’t seen since I lived in Japan. Obon has good sushi too, but for reals, don’t make it complicated; order the ramen and save room for drinks at Cobra Arcade. My wife and I are big fans of their Mars Attacks pinball machine, but their old school Gauntlet game is a great way for you and three other friends to burn through twenty dollars of quarters. Desert Diamond and Del Sol have really stepped up their game since first opening. The rooms feel more like a resort than just a casino hotel experience and the brisket at Desert Diamond should win an award. The stuff melts in your mouth.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate this shoutout to my team members who have stuck with my company over these last eight years and to my wife Shawna. Its not always easy running a small business and I sometimes lose sight of my core values. Sharing my dream with others has helped me stay on track when it always wasn’t easy to do so.