We had the good fortune of connecting with Maddie Pflugh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maddie, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I would like to talk about the success of my brand, Mad Ink by Stripes. While there are a million things that make a business grow and thrive, one of my biggest driving forces is my mission statement. Mad Ink by Stripes is a unique tattoo company built to help you express yourself to the world. Our custom designs and dedication to our clients, creates an incredible community that anyone can be apart of! We want to know you, know your story, and be a small part in helping you express yourself. This company was made so you can share your stripes, your pride, your creativity and your hardship with everyone. This idea alone helps me remember why I love what I do. The community I continue to create around my business has filled my life with new connections, hardworking friends, and a desire to express myself as much as my clients!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a tattoo artist and business woman. Becoming a tattoo artist is an extremely difficult process if you don’t already have your foot in the door with another tattoo artist. Its even harder if you are a woman. Usually artists start as an apprentice for 6months- 3 years. Then they can get licensed and tattoo professionally. That seems simple enough but this industry is build around the idea, if you have weak spine, you will be broken and never be an artist. Here is a short summary of what my apprenticeship was like: During apprenticeships you are usually treated horribly and sometimes not permitted to pick up a tattoo machine for years. You are expected to clean up after everyone, buy the artists food, cigarettes etc., and are usually made fun of, treated like trash and given demeaning nicknames. This is what it was really like for 6 months of my apprenticeship. I realized I didn’t want to be in an industry that starts by belittling everyone so they can get tougher skin. I made the extremely tough choice to leave my apprenticeship and basically have the door to becoming a tattoo artist slam behind me. I told myself that if I ever got to that place again, I would try my best to change the stereotype of this industry. Flash forward 3 years, and I have found myself working in an amazing studio with other artists who not only care about each other, but care about their clients. Our clients constantly thank us for kindly working with them, not scaring them away, and creating a space where they feel they can truly express themselves. Im thankful I walked away when I did because if I had not, I would have fed that toxic industry standard of selfishness and belittlement. That was my journey to becoming and artist. I am continually growing and working with my clients to get the word out that Mad Ink by Stripes is an open, fun, and understanding place to express yourself.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If a friend came to town we would hit all the neat places in the springs area. First, a morning at the cheyenne mountain zoo, then we would pop over to frozen gold and get some dairy free sundaes! After that we would go to the Colorado Springs Fine arts center to look at their new exhibitions then to the May museum of Natural History to look at neat bugs! To finish out the day we would get the most delicious Pho at Phonomenal, then star gaze at Garden of the Gods.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am so incredibly thankful for my parents and my spouse. I grew up in a family where learning whatever you could and independence were encouraged. In my past business ventures, my parents have always backed me, pushed me towards thing I never would have done, and gave me the guidance I needed to start and successfully run a business. Without the years of their understanding and wisdom, I would not be where I am today. My partner has also continued to support me through the stress and frustrations of staring and running a business full time. His words of affirmation and the constant reminder that Im a bad-ass business woman, gets me through the hardest days!
Other: Tiktok : @madinkbystripes
Photos of me tattooing : Paige Noelle