Their new business, Conspiracy Tattoo, opened May 4 at 218 E. Main St., in a room behind Herb Nâ€™Legend.
The Perezes said they hope to change the narrative about what tattoo shops are like. Their space is well-lit, clean and quiet.
The tattoo industry has a certain reputation, they said, of being deviant, but stated that stereotype isnâ€™t exactly accurate. However, working at tattoo shops for the last decade, they met some resistance to their Christian faith, creating stress at work.
That was one of the reasons for opening their own shop, the Perezes said.
â€śI lift the customers,â€ť Tony said of his work. He has a particular love for helping breast cancer patients following mastectomies and people looking to cover up scars.
â€śI put myself in their shoes,â€ť Tony explained. He feels strongly that a tattoo should come from the customerâ€™s vision, and he works to ensure they are satisfied.
One way Conspiracy Tattoo approaches a customer focus is in scheduling.
â€śWe try to separate time from people,â€ť Christina explained. She prefers to schedule over the phone or via social media (@ConspiracyTattooMN) to limit interruptions to tattoo sessions. She also puts consultations at either the beginning or the end of the day for the same reason.
Although Conspiracy Tattooâ€™s hours are noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, the Perezes understand that in an agricultural community, working hours can be somewhat unpredictable. They will work with clientsâ€™ schedules as needed to accommodate farm life.
Tony said his personal favorite art style is surrealism, but he can do any style the customer wants.
â€śHeâ€™s a really well-rounded artist,â€ť Christina said of her husband.
Christina added that clients sometimes bring in samples of images they like, and Tony can use those as inspiration in creating original artwork for the customer.
Heâ€™s able to do this thanks to 13 years of experience. Tony began tattooing in a shop outside the U.S. Army base in Puerto Rico. After the base closed, he came to the U.S.
He and Christina have lived in many places over the years. His last tattoo shop job was in Sioux Falls, where he made friends with the owner of Herb Nâ€™Legend. When Tony started talking about opening his own shop, he learned about the space available behind Herb Nâ€™Legend, which turned out to be perfect.
Tony does all the tattoo art, and Christina is the store manager. She is also Tonyâ€™s apprentice and will soon be able to do some of the smaller projects.
Conspiracy Tattoo enjoys sponsorships from Organic Ink and Freak Factory Tattoo Supply.
Starting next week, the shop will offer its own CBD oil products for healing after getting a tattoo.
The Perezes are enjoying their new business so far and hope to outgrow their space within a couple of years.
â€śWeâ€™ve made some really great friends,â€ť Tony said of their experience so far. â€śEverybodyâ€™s special to us.â€ť
â€śWe treat everybody like family,â€ť Christina agreed.