Episode 29: Sean Herman from The Bell Rose Tattoo Shop

Transcript:

Welcome to podcast episode #29 of the Mobile Alabama Business Podcast with Sean Herman. My name is Marcus Neto, I am in Blue Fish Design Studio. We're a digital marketing and web design company located downtown on dolphin street. I'm the host of Mobile Alabama Business Podcast where we talk to local entrepreneurs and business owners about their businesses and how they got started. I'd like to thank you for spending time with us today. 

In this episode, I sit with Sean Herman of the Bell Rose Tattoo Shop in Daphne. What I was not expecting when preparing for this interview was Sean's depth of historical knowledge of this area. I think you will find it really interesting as he tells of legends and tales of the area. He is also one of the better tattoo artist I have ever seen and he stays booked out two years. Two years, what business owner would not want to stay booked out two years? Well, in this episode he talks about how he has done that and more, so let's dive right in with Sean Herman.

Welcome to the podcast, Sean.

Sean: Thank you, appreciate it. 

Marcus: Yeah. Tell us a little bit about Bell Rose Tattoo and Piercing. How did that business get started?

Sean: We bought the shop about a year, a year and a half ago. [inaudible 00:01:26] I worked together previously on another shop and grew up in Mobile and we're all from the same area and become really good friends. We were fortunate enough to work in the shops together, one in downtown Mobile, then one in Daphne. The owner of that shop then decided he want to travel and be with his family and do a lot of bigger things and we all respected that, we thought it was great. 

We bought the shop from him that we had established in Daphne. Somebody else bought one in Mobile. Because of the fact there's two different owners, we then changed our name so that there wasn't a confusion. That started the ball rolling for how we wanted the shop to be different to begin with. From there we changed the name to something that's more centered on our area with the Bell Rose Tattoo and Piercing. Bell Rose was a name that Daphne was actually referred to around civil war era. 

Marcus: I did not know that. 

Sean: Well, we've got Bell Rose Pier and then there was the Bella Rosa Hotel that the [Dialo 00:02:26] family started. The Bella Rosa hotel burned down about 30 years after it was established, the name stayed and whenever the plot of land that is now Daphne was sold on one of the little sheets that will have the property value and what property is, it said the Bell Rose property. 

Marcus: Interesting. Very cool. 

Sean: When I found it, that's when I was like, okay, that's got to be the name of the shop. The three of us owning it together decided that's what we wanted to do, from there changed everything I would say, to we're more centered, all the artists centered on the shop, more positive stuff. 

Marcus: You mentioned we and three owners, who are your partners in this?

Sean: Peter Anderson and Pony Stephenson. 

Marcus: Pony Stephenson. Very good. You mentioned being from this area, what can you tell us about, what's your bio? Let's start with are you from this area? And then progress, tell us how you got started in the tattoo industry. 

Sean: I'm not from here. I was born in Chicago. We moved around a lot when I was a kid. Oregon, Canada, Wisconsin, Minnesota, all around and ended up down here when I was about eight. Stayed here until I was 17. Graduated high school and the next day, left. I did missionary work in Memphis for probably about five months and then started college at Sanford in Birmingham. Two years in, I decided that that wasn't really the direction I wanted to go. 

Left there, ended up in Mississippi in the middle of nowhere rice fields, Mississippi, where the highway 61 the devil sold his soul type thing. Ended up there for a little bit. Got offered an apprenticeship finally back in Birmingham to tattoo. Went back to Birmingham, went ahead and tattoo. Then moved to Atlanta then San Diego for a little bit and then I just traveled around for about a year and then back here in 2008. 

Marcus: Nice. 

Sean: There's a lot of jumping. 

Marcus: Was the jumping because you were working in shops that had a specific focus and you were trying to get that skill or was it just because you had an itch that you just wanted to scratch by traveling around?

Sean: Probably both. The apprenticeship that I had in Birmingham was great. The people are amazing and I'm completely indebted to them forever. I was in Atlanta because I got offered something from somebody that I was like wow, that's who I want to learn from now, that's where I want to go in my youthful ignorance. 

I jumped into it really quickly. I should have thought about it more and I didn't. Jumped into it and realized in it wasn't the greatest situation so that's why I jumped again trying to get out of it. Eventually tried to find my way on my own and that led back here. In an odd way to take care of my parents but ended up finding a place I like here. 

Marcus: Two things. One, looking at your work. I think you have tremendous artistic skill. 

Sean: Thanks. 

Marcus: I think you're probably one of the better tattoo artist that I've ever seen. While I'm not deep in the tattoo industry. I've watch the shows on TV that they have and stuff like that. I've known, we've done some work way way way back in the day with David's counter culture when they were still a thing. I wasn't sure if that influence was shown in your work. The other thing that I was going to ask is really the only way to enter into the tattoo industry and be a tattoo artist is to have an apprenticeship, is that correct?

Sean: I would recommend that. Yeah. You're going to, if you don't ...

Marcus: It's not like you go to the school of tattooing or something. 

Sean: Unfortunately they have that. 

Marcus: Really. 

Sean: Yeah. People are trying to make money. Tattooing at this point that where everybody is trying to cash in on it because of television, because of all of these things. People are thinking it's an easy thing. The amount of clients tell me that they just want to dabble in it. I'm just like that's not how it works. 

Marcus: You can't dabble. Yeah. 

Sean: No, you can't. It's more than just learning how to draw. It's more than just learning how to tattoo. There's so many factors. It's the most stressful difficult thing I've ever tried to do in my life. 

Marcus: Well, you're basically you're putting something permanent on somebody's body forever and ever. 

Sean: You are and that's honestly, that's almost the least of it because technically in the art field, it's the most impermanent art, because it's only going to last at maximum 70 years. If you were to say that's any artist that's doing painting, that's doing anything else, if their subject's life is only 70 years, it's not permanent, super impermanent. I think for me, the stress is you have to worry about them healing, how they're going to take care of it. How it's going to age? All these factors that are every day life from there on out. 

Every client that you put something on, they have all that stress on is another one, is another factor, another factor to where you have like 100 clients, a lot of stress forever worrying about it. 

Marcus: Wow, I have a tattoo on my arm. I remember the guy I think his name was Matt, who did it. He said that one of the things that he has to take into consideration is well when you're sitting in a tattoo chair versus standing and how the skin holds and if it's on your arm and you flex your bicep or something along those lines, there's all kinds of different. It's not just a canvass. It is because you're putting art on it. 

Sean: I don't think it's a canvass, I'm weird about it. I think tattooing is a relationship. I don't consider myself an artist with tattooing, I think it's creating something for someone, very blue collar. It's not about me making something that expresses me on someone, I'm having to express them on them. I think it's much more of a relationship and that's all tattooing is in the out, is sitting down with someone. Learning about them and then putting something on them that reflects them, not you. I try to take myself out of the picture because I don't matter in it, I'm just the guy doing it.

Marcus: That's so awesome. 

Sean: Well, thanks. 

Marcus: You mentioned earlier your wait list. Which I think is just phenomenal. You said that you are basically booked out for about two years now. 

Sean: Something like that, yeah, about two years. 

Marcus: I think there's something to be said in what you gave is a reason. Why don't you tell that again for the audience and then we'll discuss that because I think that was very interesting. 

Sean: Yeah. I always it when people mention it that the only reason I'm booked out is because of the relationships I have with my clients. It's being nice and it's being thoughtful and it's putting them first so you develop this rapport, just back and forth to where they keep wanting getting tattooed. You keep the same clientele, they keep getting tattooed once a month then you add maybe two or three, two or three every six months. 
    
It eventually grows to that cycle. You have maybe only 20 clients but if they're getting tattoo by you every month then you're set for x amount of years. Most of mine stay pretty steady the whole time. I wouldn't say it's because of, I'll do a solid tattoo. I think it's the relationship every time, it's having that friendship. It's talking to them. You develop a rapport that is a lot more important than a tattoo. 

Marcus: The thing that I takeaway from that. This is a business podcast, this isn't necessarily a podcast about tattooing but as a business owner I listen to that and I'm like that is absolutely phenomenal because you have taken something that is a service typically somebody would come in and get a tattoo and you've built a rapport with that person so much so that they are coming back to you and basically creating a recurring revenue stream. That is so not how you look at that. [crosstalk 00:10:52] customer service that you must be providing these people is just absolutely phenomenal. 

Sean: That's what the whole shop, our whole mentality is, that's where we change. 

Marcus: That's where my follow on is. Is that a conscious effort? Obviously it is, tell me what is that, what goes through your mind when you think of well, Marcus is coming in, he's getting a tattoo. I really want ... Is there a process that you all have in place or is there some mentality that you have?

Sean: Well every tattooer, we have eight tattooer so everybody is different for sure on how they're going to address things, how they're going to look at things. That's great. Because if everybody was like one person, it would be horrible. If everybody was like me, it would be the most annoying uptight shop that's ever happened. Thankfully everybody is so different. You've got different ideas, different factors that come into it. 
 
The unifying theme is always going to be that the client is respected and happy. That's our first thought. Whenever let's say you come in and you want something, our first thought is going to be what can we do to make sure he leaves here feeling good about himself, about his decision, about whatever it is. Because you're going to have people coming in for silly tattoos, for "cool" tattoos and then you get the tearjerkers where somebody is like my son's dying of cancer and I want to get this because it was his last wish. 

It hits every gamut and the silly funny tattoos can be just as important as the tearjerkers when you look at the back story and you develop that relationship then you start to understand it. We treat them all the same. 

Marcus: For those that may not have heard anything about tattoos. Typically tattoos do have some back story. 

Sean: No matter what they do. Everybody has a back story. It doesn't matter if you got something because you were drunk and you were out on downtown or whatever. The back story in that is why were you drunk, what were you doing? Who you're hanging out with? What was the choice? Why did you get that? Then the after is what does that represent to you now because you look at it every single day, what does it make you think of, what does it associate with. 
 
No matter what, there's a meaning. It doesn't matter if it's not for TV show worthy which that TV show stuff is all ...

Marcus: Yeah. It's all for show. 

Sean: It's understandable. Producers needing to make money. You can't fault them. They've got to put food on their table so they're going to do whatever they can do for the sake of entertainment. Unfortunately they missed the bar because it's not honest. That's where I was going with the shop, if you're honest about your approach to business and you're not trying to sell, you'll achieve more. That was our main goal with Bell Rose was to be an honest shop on every front, every tattooer there knows everything going on with the business. 

We're completely transparent. We want to make sure that they're taken care of. They have everything they would ever want. We try to teach them everything we know to get them equipped if they want to go somewhere. If one of them wants to open a shop somewhere else or wants to move, we're going to support them, put everything behind them and give them the greatest recommendations. 
 
If they want to stay with us, that's great too. Then that goes into the client that we want to give them an honest product. That we've worked our hardest to give them because you can have ... The difference between a great tattoo and a pretty okay tattoo isn't very much in the sight of somebody that's on trade. The quality is important but I think the honesty in the product is way more important. 

Marcus: As someone who entered into the tattoo industry. It would have been very easy for you just to go and work at another tattoo shop. You obviously take care of your clients. You have had income for the rest of your career. What made you want to start a shop? What was the ...

Sean: I always said I would never open a tattoo shop. I didn't want to or didn't want any part in it. They make fun of me at the shop because closest thing I identify with is anarchism. I don't like capitalism. I don't like organization, a hierarchy in business, I don't like in government. I don't like in many things. It's definitely nothing I ever wanted to do, and then the situation came where the previous owner was leaving and he was selling the shop that was here that I had worked at for five years now. 

The two other guys Pony and Peter talked to them and it was one of those things I wanted to be a part of and I care about them and I care about the guys there. That's why I got involved. It actually had nothing to do with the business model. [crosstalk 00:15:46]. Yeah I didn't have to do it for the sake of business but I felt like I wanted to do it because I saw an opportunity to use talents I have to help. 

That was a lot more important to me. I wanted to see these tattooers be equipped and have the ability to do whatever they want because they're amazing great people and I'd rather they'd be able to take their craft around the world and do something good for those people and not just be stuck in one situation. 

Marcus: Normally I ask about what books or something along those lines that have influenced you as a business owner. I don't get that you're that kind of person. Is there, are there resources, obviously you own a business. You have to understand the ins and outs of cash flow and stuff like that. Is there anything that's been extremely helpful to you as you were starting, think of the person that's listening to this that may not own their own business yet moving into that. Is there anything that's been helpful to you?

Sean: I'm very simple. That's what I always tell people. I have to break everything down to just complete simplicity. I think there's too many formulas. There's too many things that people try to get to get ahead. It's like that in my craft. It's like that in anything from dieting to whatever. I think breaking down simplicity is knowing what you have and who you want to have it. 
 
It's having an honest product and then whose hands do you want that honest product in? Starting there and figuring out how to do that bit by bit by bit I think is the most important thing. That's where you start to develop and do how can I get that product into people's hands, website, web presence, advertising, but there's still honest ways to go about that. 
    
Instead of having a formulaic strategy that looks very impersonal like we've all seen the website and the social media, that you can tell is not using social media for the sake of what it's there for. It's just trying to sell. I think using every aspect of honest way and not trying to just make money but trying to get your product to people because you want them to have it is what does that and is what makes the difference. The people that are honest are always going to get further. It's the people that just want to make money that gets stuck. They're just running in circles.

Marcus: Trying to chase the profit too much instead of worrying about helping others. 

Sean: Well, and it comes back to you. If you're going to do everything you can to be real and to be honest about what you want out of a situation or what you want to give people. There's no reason for it not to come back to you ten-fold, because you're not wanting just profit, all you're wanting is those people to have that and then you're happy and it's so much easier when you're happy than when you're stressing and freaking out about paying a bill. 

We've been so honestly very successful with the shop in just a year and there's not been a single time we haven't been able to do something. If the tattooers, we were trying to figure out space, so we have to move the drawing room when I was trying to figure something out. I just thought what if we built pocket desk in every station and then they can have their own light box, that's super thing, sleek light box, fold it up, go away and we're able to do that. Before, we weren't able to do that. 

Now after doing the business the way we've been doing it and trying to be honest and giving back. We're always provided for and we're always okay. I think that's the best way to run a business is in an honest fashion. It's important to know your numbers and know what you're doing, the financial side of it. You've got to pay attention and you need to make sure you record everything and know why you're doing what you're doing. 

You can't try to trick people into giving you money. They worked really hard for it. There's no tricking. If you're tricking them, you don't deserve to have their money. Money is a way somebody can tell you I worked just so hard for eight hours back breaking labor to give you this, here you go. If actually worded it in the way of what it is, it's now far more important not as a green piece of paper but as an act. If you use that act in that fashion then there's a respect level that's different. 

Marcus: You're trading pieces of your life for something whether it'd be widget or a service, like what you provide. It is a very conscious thing in my mind of ... especially because we operate in much the same fashion of we are trading hours of our lives to provide somebody with a service. We want to provide them with the best quality that we possibly can as well. What is an hour of my life worth?

Sean: Yeah. What's a monetary value on life? You can't put them on it. [crosstalk 00:20:46]. Really think about it. Because how much would you pay for that last moment with a dying relative? How much would you pay for that moment of your first kiss? How much would you pay for that moment of your first glance with the person you love? You can't put money on it. 

When people give you money that is a honest fashion that they've worked so hard on, you don't know what they might have missed out on. You don't know the things that happened in that, and if you don't respect that, you don't deserve to have that. You don't deserve to have people supporting you if you're not going to give them the same amount back. 

Marcus: All that said, is there an area of the business that you're putting a lot of effort into that you're focused on or is it pretty much?

Sean: There's just so many areas. I'm always spreading myself way too thin. The most important thing right now is the relationship with the customer. We'll figure out different ways to do that. We've done more with merchandising now than we have before but in that we're trying to still create something that's honest instead of just creating crap for people to have. The thing that's bigger and as we did Alabama and the Auburn church. 

My idea with that was to have just a logo of the shop on the back and then the front, elephant head, tiger head, team colors, but no words, nothing else. Somebody somewhere wants it that's not affiliated. They can order it and like it. Somebody here wants it, they can order it and like it, it's ambiguous. It's something people want and they get happy and excited about and it's supporting their teams, supporting teams for that. 

It's also giving us a financial revenue to where we can try to help support local charities that we work with, local groups and things like that to try to further our giving, or what we want to give back to the community. 

Marcus: Very cool. I find that many business owners are really focused on their businesses but they also have hobbies that allow them to stay balanced. What do you like to do in your free time?

Sean: Everybody make fun of me for my lack of free time. 

Marcus: Yeah. 

Sean: The shops a lot and tattooing is a lot. It's three businesses because tattooing is one, shop is another that I do, The Serpents of Bienville project which is the third business. 

Marcus: Describe that a little bit because we haven't talked about that yet. 

Sean: It's a story telling project that we're building into a community. It started whenever we were coming up with the name of the shop. One of the names that I wanted that I was thinking of that I'm so glad Pete and Pony shut down because it was not a fit was sacred of, the amount of times those guys have led me in the right direction and been willing to be like that's not going to work is enumerable. I love those guys for that. 

I got the idea from looking at the Bankhead tunnel. We've got the iron statue that's got the Bienville, that's a native of Bienville and then a hand and a serpent and I was just like, what is that? That is the most occult crazy looking thing I've ever seen and start to research and look into it, and it was that Bienville was heavily tattooed with snake tattoos or serpent. 

He got them from the Mauvilla Indians that was the Indian tribe that was in the delta. He did it in order to align himself with those Indians or native and get them on his side in a way. Depending on how you do the research, some people believe that he became really into the Indian culture, fanaticized about it. They called it the Indianization in the 18, 17th, 16th century travelers. 

It's primarily French, it's really weird, it's a French explorer that really went through this. Henri Lautrec who is one of the, Henri Lautrec I would say. One of the explorers who come to this area described Lautrec being heavily tattooed and going into the Indianization and how, I think Lautrec saw it was like he's becoming a savage type thing. 

Other sides of it are the fact that he needed allies in order to fight against the English and the English were getting Indian tribes on their side. You've got this weird aligning of native and Europeans to then fight where the natives did not fight before. That was not, they did but not in that fashion. 

In our area, specifically Daphne, was an area that was a holy ground, you weren't supposed to fight there. Indians natives did not believe that that was an area you could fight. It was an area where you could come together, you'd talk peacefully, figure something out. If you're going to fight, you're fighting somewhere else. 

The fact that he started to do that and they warred near and around I think shows more of probably why he was getting heavily tattooed. Either way it aligned him with those Indians and it became something that was a big thing, that people would talk about all the time in all kinds of different books, all kinds of researchers, like papers and all these things, about him being super-tattooed. 

I was thinking to myself as I go through it. Tattoo is in other words, usually if you're going to make a tattoo, you're making an oath to somebody so we'll just call the shop sacred oath. Very glad, they said no but that stuck with me, and it stuck with me with Bienville and this idea that he made an oath with the Indians by getting tattooed. 

He made this oath with them that he was going to be one of them. One of the research papers I was reading was talking about the Indians and it compared their death and their leaving of the areas, they left in ashes and fire and never to be respected and revered again. Another paper I was reading was talking about Bienville and how he passed away which he left the Gulf Coast after 41 years of being here. 

He left by begging them to let him leave. He was just done. He was tired of it. It was 40 years of, it's just not working. Things are not working. He's trying. Everything is working against him. His brother got exposed for stealing money in the entire times that they've been doing the explorations and he died of yellow fever after taking up whole island hostage in Cuba. There was no actual reverence or love or respect for Bienville anymore. They became almost like a joke. 

 Came back to France and he was given a small apartment. He was given two people to help him out, servants basically. He passes away and they have his body not buried because they couldn't fit anybody anymore in France, so it's just in one of those mausoleum type things. The church burns down and they lose his body. 

 This book that I'm reading talks about that through fire and ash his body's remains are lost forever to not have the reverence and respect served. When I saw the correlation, that was the first thing, I was like, okay, I've got to ... We got to do something bigger with this. This is too good of a story of how he aligned himself in the sacred oath with the natives and suffered the same faith. 

 A bigger question is in this area, is this something now that we're always going to deal with. Because when you talk about this area, everybody always talks about bad luck or comparison to Birmingham or Atlanta, we missed out on this. We just missed this or we made this decision so we didn't get to experience this. Even down to the Maritime museum. 

 Taking the amount of time that it's taken to get it done, you have all kinds of people that are like, well, it's just a bad luck of an area. Just a bad luck. It starts to make you really wonder when you look into the history of it, why and how long has this happened. Is there a reason this happened? Is it because he had this oath? Is it because Dauphin island was a burial ground that got disturbed and completely disrespected. Is it the fact we wiped out an entire generation of peaceful Indians that were trying to be here? 

Marcus: This has turned into a history. I loved it though. I'm just sitting here listening to you talk. You know more about the history of this area than I think anybody that I've spoken to in the 10 or 11 years that I've lived here. 

Sean: Well, thanks. I love living here. I love being here. I left in that high school way of I'm never coming back, screw this place. Well, yeah, just really involved in punk rock. Really involved in this idea of "progressing" of being just liberal or left. All the things that you hear people make fun of the south. [inaudible 00:29:27] bunch of racist rednecks. 
 I was one of those kids. I was like screw it, I'm out of here. Coming back and growing up. No, that's not how things work. It's not, a whole area is not one thing and people everywhere suffer from these things. Instead of just associating and de-associating and trying to leave, why not go to the root, and go to the history, try to learn horrible atrocities took place here, that gives us all the more ability to learn from them to become better people and not better in a sense of good or bad but better in the sense of educated to make decisions that are not going to allow those things to happen again. 

Marcus: With a full understanding. 

Sean: Yeah. The Serpents of Bienville community project. The idea is that we're trying to present these stories. We've now presented almost 40 different stories to different degrees, sometimes it's paragraph, sometimes like with mine, I'll do a critical analysis, that becomes more like a sociological paper. My wife is a phenomenal story teller, so her stuff is just this beautiful elaborate stories that engage everyone. 

 If she wasn't part of the project, I don't think anybody would even pay attention because she's such a engaging author that everybody loves it. That's what everybody tells me all the time. Yeah. Serpents of Bienville, your wife's writing is really ... I'm like I know my wife's writing is really good. Thanks. I did do some stuff with this too. 

 I thank her for the fact we can do that. The idea is that how people get engaged, to learn the history instead of just trying to say yeah, that was terrible and almost ignore it, and pushed to the side, full embrace it, watch the car wreck, see what happens, understand the people died and its horrific, where do we go from here? 

 I think it's important to analyze these stories, these myths, these folk lore, and not just, man, it's just a racist folk lore and say go, why as it racist, what was happening in history. Specifically why is it a bias in this structure in this direction, misogyny is a really big one that you're going to find in a majority of the folk lore myths. 

 You have to ask yourself why was misogyny such a big thing. Was it even known that it was a big thing? Because there are native myths that are just the most misogynistic, horrific things I've ever seen. One of the ones I read about and a piece called the harbinger of death is the [inaudible 00:31:52]. The myth is that she is ... Husband and wife, she is preparing dinner and he's going to go off into the magic circle tribe thing and they're going to gather. It's only the men and they're going to do these things. Women aren't allowed. 

 She ask to come, and he says no. You can't come, this is our secret, this is our thing. Men are thing, women are here, sealed. She goes, she wants to see, she wants to know. She sneaks out after him and hides in the trees. It's a cold night so she's wearing a hide of a panther or some sort of a black cat and she's watching them through the trees seeing them say these magic rituals and all the stuff. 

 The medicine man makes eye contact with her and sees her. She in fright can't look away, and he starts to say a couple words, and she can see him mouthing and next thing she knows, the panther is attaching itself into her flesh and so as they become one and she becomes this hideous monster, howling and screaming in the night, running away until she's finally half cat, half woman. 

 It becomes an open, a harbinger of death, that if you hear her running through the woods, trying to get her body back and her life back and her humanity back, you'll die within three days. That was the story. I was like man that's sucks for that woman. 

Marcus: It's kind of a downer. 

Sean: Wow. It's one of those campfire stories, the more I looked into it. Well, what is this myth saying, it's saying that men do this, women do this, women can't do this and women have to say over here. It's the misogyny in it that's latent that were taught is okay. Well, yeah, men do this, women do this, this is how it is. No, it's not okay. It's not okay to, if somebody is a feminine and now say they're lesser than or less powerful. 

 Somebody acts a certain way, they're now this certain thing that's more negative. I think a lot of this mythology and folk lore would push that and keep going with it. It's one of those things that we don't realize consciously it's happening and then people will continue it. Even words like pansy of specific vernacular that we use, that's supposed to be a negative term. 

 [inaudible 00:34:08] because others are far more colorful and terrible. All these are used in a derogatory way for something a person not being masculine, if you de-masculinized someone out, they're lesser than. When that's not true. [inaudible 00:34:27] society existed for so long as a Matriarchal society before it was destroyed, Matriarchal society that had no centralized government, that had no negative things. 

 Then you set fashion where it comes to food rations, when there's no warring, [inaudible 00:34:42] peaceful society destroyed by a patriarchal society that came through testosterone [inaudible 00:34:51] to where here was nothing recorded and there was nothing there. It's the same type of thing I think we have happened here where if something is a certain thing, it's wiped out and we see it time and time and time again. 

 I think if we don't acknowledge it and pay attention to it then we won't be able to do something about it. I think this area instead of people saying screw Mobile, screw this, no I love this area. I love the people. They're amazing people. I think it's just educating them. I think if they know, they'll do something about it. 

Marcus: Well, you have a lot of stories and stuff were posted online, give us that domain name. 

Sean: Serpentsofbienville.com. We're on every social media. Every day we do a social media short story and picture that's a local Alabama thing. Then we do larger longer blogs and then also I have art prints that are up on that that I do that are 11 by 17 stippled by hand handprints. If you want, you can purchase them and the money goes toward the project to be able to continue to do it and grow. 

Marcus: That's cool. 

Sean: On the site, you can see the myths explained for every single print. You can know if it's something you're into and identify with or not and then shirt, all the other crap if you want to support it. 

Marcus: Along those same lines, where can people find out more information about your shop? 

Sean: TheBellRoseTattoo.com. At this point, because of Kyle, amazing man who's been helping us out with all of our advertising, designing, all of the stuff integral to the shop, you can also just Google it and it'll be the first thing that comes up.

Marcus: Very cool. Phone number?

Sean: It's 251-447-0499. 

Marcus: Are all the tattoo artist there as booked as you are?

Sean: They're not but they are definitely as talented. It's I think the only thing about booking is because of my years of doing it. I've been doing it for almost 13 years. The rest of them are phenomenal. There's somebody there that can definitely take care of anything that you want to have done. They're all amazing people. That honestly would do something better than me. There's always someone there that I would be like, no, they'll do that way better than me. You don't want me to do it. All amazing people. 

Marcus: Yeah. Somebody maybe listening to this and thinking that they want to give you guys a shot, but not want to wait two years to get on your list.

Sean: They can walk in and they can get a beautiful tattoo that day if they want to and piercing, our piercer, Aaron is amazing and he's honestly the best piercer I've ever seen. Typically in a tattoo industry, that's kind of the thing that poke fun at. In the business, the piercer is the one they're like, oh God, I had to work with a piercer. Then there's Aaron who's just dedicated, amazing businessman, amazing person. We're very fortunate.

Marcus: Well, I want to thank you again for coming on the podcast. To wrap up any final thoughts or comments you'd like to share?

Sean: Thank you guys. I just really appreciate that you guys are doing this for something local. I'm excited to see the amount of people that are trying to do something in this area, that love this area. I would say that I have ever want to share is maybe more positivity, if that could be the thing that we could get as a relationship in the local culture business, all of it, I think we could make a bigger impact. 

Marcus: Yeah. That is the driving force behind this podcast is to show the positive impacts that people like yourself are having to this area. There's a lot of information out there about the larger organizations like [inaudible 00:38:31] whomever are bringing to this area. I think when I had talked to somebody like a CEO of the chamber of commerce and they say 80 or 90% of the businesses that are members of their organizations are 10 people or less. 

 What that tells me is that there are a tremendous amount of businesses in this area that really drive the economy. That are providing the jobs for people and that are keeping the engine, the economic engine of the Mobile area going. It's not an easy job. I just love sitting down and hearing stories from people like yourself and hearing what motivates you and how you got started and things like that. 

 We want to bring those stories out. We want to share that positive message. We want to encourage, most of all, we want to encourage those people that may not have gone down that path, that they can. They can do it, it's not easy, but they can do it if they really want to. Anyway, I do thank you for your time today. 

Sean: Thank you guys. 

Marcus: Really appreciate you coming on the podcast. I am going to want to sit with you again and hear more about the history of this area and where you found that out because that's actually been something that I've been trying to find. I'm very interested in your sources and stuff, I do appreciate you coming on the podcast. 

Sean: Thank you guys, appreciate you guys. Thank you guys so much. Appreciate it.