An artist pivots with help from the FCCDC
Ben Reigle has been a tattoo artist for 16 years. “I came from a street-shop environment, walk-in tattoos, small designs, many in a day,” he said in a recent telephone interview. Over the years, as he developed his skills, he kept seeking out higher quality, custom-tattoo-shop positions. “Being surrounded by positive, entrepreneurial people lit a fire under me as to what I could accomplish,” he said.
With a loan and business assistance from the FCCDC he opened his own shop, Great Spirits, on Federal Street in Greenfield, in 2016. However, a health scare in 2018 motivated him to shift the course of his career once more. He and his doctors called his near-complete recovery from two strokes within nine days a “miracle.” And while his cognitive and physical health has returned, he decided to add to his career in tattoo artistry, which can be hard on the hands, eyes, and back. Always a musician, he recently worked with FCCDC Business Assistance provider Jack Clemente to apply for an Empower Digital grant from Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp. Ben received $5,000 to buy a MacBook Pro to pursue a business in video and music editing and production, and for digital marketing assistance. “Ben’s reason for purchasing the MacBook Pro was to expand existing editing and production services to allow him to take on larger projects and deliver the work much more efficiently,” said Jack.
Several projects lie ahead for Ben, who now works at The Black Labyrinth Tattoo Syndicate in Easthampton. He’s helping Black Labyrinth build a more robust digital presence. With Black Labyrinth, he is also organizing a charitable event for 2023, possibly a block party celebrating Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary. He’s also working on brand redevelopment and video production for 1357 Recording Studios in Greenfield. And he is working to on a series of OSHA-certified videos for tattoo artists explaining how to prevent blood-borne pathogens and administer first aid and CPR.
“That’s the cornerstone of a good business,” he said. “Be clean, and make sure the client is safe and happy.”