Wendy Kai, owner of Pure Devotion Tattoo, works from a small room in the back of a local barbershop and considers herself a true small business owner.
“I posted on Facebook to friends that I’m deciding to go out on my own and own my business and I’ve decided on this name,” said Kai.
It never occurred to her that revealing that piece of information would be an issue.
“It was months before I opened, and I just thought I had time to do something like that,” said Kai.
As she prepared to open up shop and set up her website, she found that competitor High Priestess beat her to the punch.
“I was shocked, mainly because I had worked for them before and we had not had a falling out,” said Kai
Another Springfield tattoo shop had a similar experience.
“We had a customer come in and ask if we were now affiliated with High Priestess, which we aren’t, but they mentioned that when they tried to go to our website it redirected them,” said April Slater, owner of Memento Ink.
Memento Ink actually owns its domain name, but further investigation revealed that Momento Ink, spelled with an “o”, was owned by High Priestess.
In response, High Priestess provided this statement: “At this time, High Priestess does not wish to comment on a story that has been sensationalized by its competition. Priestess is a locally owned business who is a positive contributor to the local community and economy.”
But local shops question that and say High Priestess’s behavior speaks differently.
“Because we’re sort of niche industry, it doesn’t seem like there should be so much competition. It seems like we should be working to elevate each other,” said Slater.
Other local tattoo and piercing shops agreed with Slater. While most agreed that it is perhaps naive to not secure one’s URL in this internet age, it is by no means good business practice, especially if you are true supporter of small and local businesses.