We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Lougheed and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
As a child I was always interested in art and creativity. I loved working with my hands to build and create new things, whether it be from clay, woodworking, paint, photography or mixed media. As a teen that creativity bled into forms of self expression with playful hair, makeup and clothes. I was often (politely) labeled as “unique”, or “marching to the beat of her own drum”. But I love the freedom that comes with the lack of defined boundaries and structure. Being a cosmetic tattoo artist allows me to use my love for working with my hands and creativity to help others feel confident and empowered.
What should our readers know about your business?
Soft and Natural Permanent Makeup has been my private practice in cosmetic and reconstructive tattooing for the last 14 years. My mission is to provide natural looking cosmetic tattoos that enhance one’s natural features, or restores the appearance of the skin that was damaged due to surgery or other skin conditions. While a slight majority of my business is permanent makeup, including brows, eyeliner, lips, freckles and beauty marks, I am most fulfilled when doing reconstructive work. Being able to restore someone’s appearance by creating a 3 dimensional looking areola and nipple after a mastectomy, or recoloring the skin for the treatment of vitiligo is an incredible honor, and allows me to be more creative in my art. This coming year I am excited to be bringing injectables into the practice. Botox and dermal fillers can soften or eliminate fine lines and wrinkles, correct for asymmetry and drastically reduce the appearance of aging. I believe it will be the perfect marriage with cosmetic tattooing. While color used to be my only medium to work with, I now will have volume and movement to use, which literally can create a whole new dimension. What sets me apart from other cosmetic tattoo artists is that I not only have a background in art and creativity, but I am also a physician assistant. Having a medical background gives me the knowledge of anatomy and physiology which is important when your canvas is the human body. My interest as a PA is in plastic and reconstructive surgery, as I love working with my hands as well as being able to restore patient’s confidence through their physical appearance. Running my own business has been something I have always just done. I started my first practice Purity Skin and Body when I was the ripe age of 18. Right out of high school I went to massage therapy school, where I made cheap business cards to hand out for people to come see me in the student clinic. Over the course of the 9 month program, I developed relationships with many clients where I not only got to know them personally, but I got to know their body and what techniques worked best for them. So it was natural that when I graduated, they wanted to follow me, and voila!- instant clientele. I sublet a massage studio 3 days a week, as I developed a referral program, engaged in networking and continued to build my clientele. I then went back to school part time to become an aesthetician and added skin care to the massage practice. I also took night classes at the community college, which eventually transferred to ASU for a degree in interdisciplinary studies in business and psychology. I’ve found that there is a lot of psychology and behavioral economics involved in running a service based business. Building positive relationships with clients and patients seems to be equally, if not more, important in their overall satisfaction than the actual cosmetic results that are achieved. While I pride myself on delivering the best possible results, I think a lot of my success also comes from the trust that is built with clients on a more personal level.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
One of the best parts of living in Colorado is enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Depending on the season, I would make sure ample amount of time was spent skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, camping and SUP boarding. In town, we’d spend time checking out restaurants, bars and art displays in RiNo and the Highlands neighborhoods, as well as hitting some staples like the Green Russel and Ophelia’s. Donuts from LaMars, tacos at Dos Santos, and a drink at Thin Mans are usually on the list, as is Avanti and the obligatory stop at little man for ice cream. To get our exercise in, a walk around Sloans lake, a Lagree pilates or climbing class at Fierce 45 or Transform Colorado would do the trick. The Denver Center for Performing Arts was always a place I would take guests prior to the pandemic. An afternoon doing arts and crafts while having a drink at Circus is fun, as well as doing a bicycle tour of all the local breweries. The list can go on and on, but that’s a good start for now.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would not have had the courage, confidence, trust and discipline to be where I am today if it were not for the love and encouragement from my mother, Colleen. I’m sure all parents tell their children they can be whatever they want when they grow up, but she truly believed that. Enough so that she even trusted me to tattoo her face when I was first learning! She not only gave me words of encouragement, but she modeled what it meant to be a strong, resilient woman and to have faith that you can overcome any obstacle. Her belief in me gave me the belief in myself that was needed to follow my heart. She passed away one year ago today actually, and I just hope she knew how much I attribute my success to her. After being in the hospital on a ventilator for 2 weeks, one day her nurse (without knowing what I did) casually said “how do her eyebrows still look so perfect”, which I know would have made her smile with pride.
Savannah Halboth @ Social Savvy