Tattoo industry hit hard by lockdowns

Sjeli Pearse tattooing in 2017.

The tattoo industry, like many others, have been hit hard during COVID.  Obviously not being an essential service, the pandemic has shutdown thousands of tattooers’ livelihoods.

Tattooing has grown to become a $3 billion industry worldwide, with 38% of Canadians having at least one tattoo.

Revenue growth for the Tattoo Artists industry is expected to decline 9.5% as a result of the pandemic and overall economic downturn.

All tattooers have been forced to close up shop during the lockdowns as their work requires close contact and sitting with people for prolonged periods.

Sjeli Pearse, a local tattoo artist who is currently living and working in Toronto, shares her experience with SaultOnline as she is currently closing up her studio.

“We recently made the hard decision to let go of our location,” Pearse shares that for more than half of her lease she has not been able to work in her rented space due to the pandemic, “it’s hit the community really hard in Toronto especially because the lockdowns have been so much longer.”

“At this point we really can’t trust that we will open, or that we will be allowed to stay open, or that clients will even have money to get tattooed.”

Although the tattoo industry usually weathers economic downturns well, COVID has stopped them from providing their services.

They already have to maintain sterilized work spaces and be extremely aware of their shop environment. Adapting their practice to COVID safety measures will be a necessity in order for tattooers to reopen and return to business.

Follow SaultOnline as we follow this industry going forward.


  1. Then you get certain female owned tattoo shops in Sault Ste Marie who prioritize only working with women and lgbt and turn men away, then complain about lost revenue.
    I won’t get any work done by her.
    “Get woke, go broke”

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