May 17, 2018
Story By Sergio Portela
Photos By Kat Petsalis
The constant buzzing of tattoo guns fill the air as you enter ‘Emerald Tattoo & Piercing Shop’ in Elk Grove, California.
You are then generously greeted by Operations Manager Jasmine Fuson making one feel like a real-life VIP.
That’s the customer service that ‘Emerald Tattoo & Piercing’ aspires to bring all those who walk into the first ever tattoo parlor in the city of Elk Grove. To make everyone feel special.
Emerald Tattoo & Piercing was a business created by local tattoo artist Josh ‘Red’ Hughes in 2008 in Lodi, California. Hughes brought the business over to Elk Grove in 2016 to add to his franchise and the local community. The Elk Grove location makes three, Modesto, California being the second. The Elk Grove shop currently houses five permanent tattoo artists and two that rotate between other locations.
“Red started his own shop and decided he wanted to take it further,” Fuson says. “He felt like he could get really good artwork out to different communities and bring a new level of professionalism to the community. That’s what he’s been working towards, building an empire.”
Fuson, 29 is the operations manager at the Elk Grove shop. She’s been there almost a year. She’s lived in California off and on for the past 13 years. Primarily Stockton, California where she currently resides. To her nothing can compare to the Golden State.
“I love it, I don’t think there is anywhere else like California,” Fuson says. “It feels weird going anywhere else and then coming back I feel like I’m home again.”
She has a strong relationship with her company being a client as well, and has a passion much like the business itself to help the community. The Sacramento Spotlight had the chance to speak with Fuson about her relationship with the shop and the city of Sacramento as a whole.
“I’VE GOT THE WORLD IN MY MOUTH. IT’S A POP ART PIECE DONE BY CASEY AT THE UNION TATTOO IN MANTECA, CALIFORNIA. HE’S A PART OF OUR COMPANY AND HE DOES A LOT OF POP ART REALISM AND THAT’S WHAT HE’S DOING WITH THIS PIECE.”
-Fuson, Operations Manager
The Spotlight: How did you get started in this Business?
Fuson: I come from a retail background. I worked 14 years in retail and I was burnt out. I was looking for something different besides the big box stores and the corporate world. Then I saw the ad for shop manager for Emerald. I had been familiar with Emerald’s work from my own personal experiences as a client and I thought it would be really fun opportunity. I interviewed and got started right away and been here about a year now. It’s been a lot of fun. Learning all the different things all the different artists. The clientele is a little different in every city. It’s been a lot of fun.
What makes your customers choose you over your competitors?
I think there are three things that are key in our company compared to others. One is that we are dedicated to our customer service. Every person that walks through our door they are a VIP. No matter what. Then we are dedicated to our professionalism, knowing our craft and being able to explain it to a customer, taking the time and effort to actually make sure they fully understand and comprehend what they are getting into and how to take care of themselves while they are doing it that is key. Also, having a good atmosphere. Having a friendly environment for them to feel comfortable is huge. There are tattoo places that you walk into and you feel almost intimidated and we don’t ever want to do that to anybody. We want everybody to feel like this is a good place to be. This is a good place to get beautiful artwork and you’re going to be taken care of before, after and during.
Is that how you felt when you came here as a customer?
Yes, I always knew I could ask any questions I had and I would never be made to feel stupid about them. And that if anything was going on that I was concerned about I can always come in and make sure that it was taken care of. Till this day, we always do that.
In what ways does your work contribute to benefit the community?
We actually have an Emerald Tattoo Foundation Fund. It’s a charitable fund that we’ve co-popped with a couple different companies, we actually set up a donation drive for the Northern California wildfires last fall. We were able to send out pallets of pet’s food, clothes and food. We had a truck and we sent it all out there. The community actually responded really well. We had about two rooms filled with donations. It took weeks to get it processed and out to them. We’re always looking for more opportunities to help out the community.
How does helping out make you feel.
Awesome! I never really thought that I could connect those two things. I’ve always loved being involved in the community. The world has come a long way from the community atmosphere standpoint. We really want to bring it back, everyone's all into social media and that’s another thing to use to come closer together and make sure that everybody is like ‘hey something’s going on let’s help out.’
What are your favorite qualities about Sacramento?
This City? Oh, my God! I love that there is always something to do, always something new, always events. It’s great for getting out and doing stuff. Like finding new food and finding the drive-in movie theater that’s still down here. There’s always stuff like that to find in Sacramento.
Why Sacramento/Elk Grove?
I know that Elk Grove specifically was chosen, partially because there wasn’t anyone here. So, we were like you know what let’s talk to people here let’s find out if that’s something they’d be interested in. I believe that Josh actually talked to community leaders for like a year back and forth figuring out what the expectations were and what we would bring to the table. Bringing a high-end tattoo place to Elk Grove I think is both great for the community and for us because they know they can come somewhere and be taken care of and get something beautiful. They don’t have to go to someone's living room or drive an hour and a half away to find a good artist because they are right here. I think that’s been a big thing.
Describe your perfect Saturday in Sacramento.
My perfect Saturday here in Sacramento, man it starts off with food. Its got to. There is a crepe place downtown that is amazing. They have the best crepes I ever had. Like starting off there then going through different thrift stores and checking out local clothing shops and junk stores and then finding more food. I like to eat and shop. Then going to one of the parks that are around and just chilling and looking through the goodies I’ve found and relaxing for the day, reading something. Relaxing for the day is my favorite.
I really like Midtown. I like going to the Roseville area as well, they’ve got some of the lesser known shops out there where you can find really cool stuff at the thrift stores. I love thrift stores. You can always find something really cool.
If I’m interested in a Tattoo, what’s the process?
So generally, we start off by asking a couple of very important questions. The main ones being what do you like? What visually appeals to you? What do you want to look at on your body for the rest of your life? From there we can start building an idea. Once we have that idea kind of built between you and the artist that we’ll match you up with based on your ideas and what you're looking for. You guys can come together and create a beautiful design and then set up your appointment. With the technology age we're able to gather references and build a visual story of what you’re looking to get done and create uniquely for whoever is interested.
Do you take walk-ins?
Yes, we do. We don’t have much time during the weekend, but if we have enough time to squeeze you in we will. We’re very good at that. It kind of depends what you’re getting and where and when. Bigger pieces are going to need a little more time, more study and stuff like that. So, we usually recommend appointments for those but if it’s something small that you and your friend want, you and your mom want we can generally get you in.
How has your experience been working here so far?
I’ve never worked with a group of people that was more interesting and more fun and kept it as lively as it is. I’ve worked in a lot of places with a lot of different kinds of people and we all make it work here in a way that I’ve never experienced. We’re here 10 to 12 hours a day together so it’s really becomes a family thing. We’ve all become very involved in each other’s lives, and I think it’s just a wonderful place to work and be.
You can book your future tattoo or piercing appointment with ‘Emerald Tattoo & Piercing’ on their website or walk in. You can also check out some of their artwork by following their Instagram @emeraldtattooelkgrove.