June 22, 2002. It’s opening day at Lucky Rabbit. I turned the key to unlock the front door as I walk in, turned on the lights, checked my schedule and got ready to sign my clients in with a smile, a lot has changed.
20 years ago, I was a 26 year old blooming artist with a fierce dream to start a studio. A fine art studio that presented like an art gallery and housed tattoo artists and body piercers. It sounded edgy!
I‘ll never forget the day I accepted that challenge! I never knew for sure that Muncie would birth my dream, but when everything made sense, I made the commitment!
Opening a new small business is a serious undertaking. Nothing can prepare you for the amount of budgeting, accounting, legal, paperwork, learning and growth you will undergo for the following, months, years, well… who knows how long! All I know is, I’m still growing and learning.
Change happens slowly here. About 8 years after opening I decided to change the original color scheme of the studio from the “artsy” color palette of canary yellow, deep blue and eggplant to the warm brown and tan earth tones with medical blue accent walls. It felt clean and comfortable. The furniture progressed from very basic to the iconic red couch to the more relaxed grey couches and black leather bench seats. I would stay past close at night and envision what I wanted to happen next. Slowly, a piece at a time I decorated the interior. I like to create my own wall hangings, and art projects when possible. It would all come together very slowly.
Serving our clients through the day was our focus, but outside of all that, other operations are all running simultaneously. And meanwhile, updating the site, running the numbers, developing the plan, and revising that plan was revisited week after week. It’s the people that help break up the monotony.
The joy our clients bring, the gifts, the love, the random visits from clients. It’s the stories they share and the laughs we’ve had that have been special.
I love the fact that some clients have become very close friends through the years! Some who I haven’t seen in over 10 years, still hold a very special place in my heart.
Our staff has been a wonderful mix of people from all over the US. Each one unique in their own way, bringing their own flair to our studio. Managers, Guest artists, part time and full time artists and piercers. We’ve experienced it all. I just hope they feel comfortable, can be themselves and do what they love. And it’s been good!! We remember those busy nights at the shop when the people of Muncie would crowd into our doors, with barely room to sit down! My staff has grown to meet the demand when we expanded and… we’ve gotten smaller again when we downsized to a life that suits us better, like it was in the beginning. I really feel blessed at this point of Lucky Rabbit’s lifetime. We’ve overcome many obstacles and reached many new goals.
We’re fortunate that our customers are not just from this community, but we have kept our own community in our heart.
The reflection of the last 20 years, was spent looking at how friends have poured in and helped us get this far. Many friends over the years have helped build this place. Many people in our own community as well as clients all contributing.
I’ve reflected on the few dedicated souls who have gone through hours of tattooing to win trophies for their artwork at conventions or just to enjoy! They have given many months or years! Sometimes, I hear stories from a close relative of a client while I’m out in public. I hear the proud story about a piece a fellow artist had done. I am very encouraged to hear all about their experience and what people think about the tattoo enthusiast and their work!I’ve spread out news articles from the past on the floor and read them. Clients have also submitted their work in to be published all over the world. I’ve been thankful to meet some pretty cool actors along the way like Kane Hodder and Kristina Klebe because I’ve had the pleasure of tattooing a serious movie fan!
I gave thought to the many tattoo and body piercing pioneers who helped our industry grow. We’ve welcomed growth in that time. I’m thankful for the magazine editors and staff who probably go through 100 submissions a day, read about who we are and have decided to publish our work! I won’t forget the talented photographers and writers who would come to our studio and share their stories about their own experiences!
Some of the more tedious work accounting, bookkeeping etc. Lucky Rabbit runs well, because a woman named Deb who works out of a small office does all of our bookkeeping and accounting! Checking up on her month to month and laughing with her makes my life better in every way! Going to the bank and joking with the tellers as I make the drop or cash checks has been a solid break for me. Those ladies keep me smiling everytime! There are MANY more people behind the scenes who are a small part of our lives but absolutely give to us differently! Thank you for helping us to be our best!!
Some of my favorite memories, are spent out of the studio and in the community! I’ll never forget the times spent with youth or the sunny days of spring throwing a baseball with the kids on the ball diamond. In the 2018-2019 I was asked to help coach the Lucky Rabbit minor league baseball teams. Nothing in the world is as cool as those kids out their trying to do new and hard things, finding new friendships and falling in love with the sport I grew up to love and enjoy!
Sharing great food has always been a favorite pastime for me because of my family. It’s how we gathered. I just loved how the warm tasty aromas would awaken our curiosity as we had carry-in Foodie Fridays! I have also enjoyed hosting our anniversary dinners, birthdays, holidays and cookouts through the years.
The relationships I have built in our business community has been essential and I appreciate each one. They are friends who will always meet up for lunch and just relate, business owner to business owner. They know what it’s like to fight the good fight, while doing your best each day.
I think the best moments, believe it or not, are not that big at all. It’s the very small moments. It’s been helping others, maybe just listening to someone talk about their loss as I tattoo the name of a loved one. It’s been in supporting those around me in tough times and the laughter that serendipity makes room for always. It’s seeing people authentically and living life alongside of them. I can’t say it’s been easy, perfect or that I haven’t needed help along the way, I have! All I know is that 20 years has been worthwhile!!
All in all, through all the changes and growth, it’s everyone who gets the credit for the last 20 years. The friends who keep me “sane” and speak truth will always help me to relax and chill. Enjoying the ride is just as important!
After 20 years, turning the key to unlock the front door as I walk in, to turning on the lights, to checking my schedule and signing my clients in with a smile, a lot has changed. Not that much has changed… really.
Happy Birthday Lucky Rabbit! It’s been a beautiful 20 years! I’m thankful for each one!!
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