Popular Staten Island tattoo studio is expanding, celebrating 10 years in business

STATEN ISLAND, NY – When Frank Russo founded Ink Couture NYC in 2013, his goal was to create an upscale and chic destination where clients could receive premium tattoo service in a sophisticated and luxurious environment. Want a rare portrait or reproduction of a significant work of art? Russo gathered some of the best tattoo artists in the nation and moved them to Staten Island to accomplish this. Want to get inked sitting by the fireplace while sipping champagne and watching Netflix? He created a VIP room just for this type of personalized service.

But when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic threatened his livelihood in 2020 and forced his shop to close for six months, Russo could have given up on his dream of owning and operating one of New York’s most luxurious tattoo parlors . But he didn’t.

Frank Russo, right, is seen here with his son Michael, who helps run the family business. (Photo courtesy of Ink Couture NYC)(Photo courtesy of Ink Couture N

“We had a big loss in profits, but our customers were fantastic and loyal and eagerly awaiting our opening date,” Russo noted recently, describing what he described as the most challenging season of business ownership he’s ever experienced. “No one canceled, no one went to another artist who was still tattooing despite the restrictions. After that six-month hiatus, we opened up and were ready to rock and roll.”

So instead of closing, as many other businesses were forced to do, Russo found himself expanding.

Staten Island tattoo studio expands, celebrates 10 years in business

White marble floors, red walls and carpets, and sparkling chandeliers are part of the elegant atmosphere at Ink Couture NYC. (Photo courtesy of Ink Couture NYC)(Photo courtesy of Ink Couture N

“During COVID, several other businesses that were associated with us were unfortunately forced to close, and we were able to take advantage of this additional space,” Russo said. “In the last two years, we have doubled both our employment and our staff.”

Now featuring 2,200 square feet of designer space, the renovated Pleasant Plains store was designed by Brian Saban of B. Saban Consulting and features red walls and a white floor with crystal chandeliers throughout. A rare Moto-Guzzi motorcycle is perched between the artist stations on the right side of the lounge.

Staten Island tattoo studio expands, celebrates 10 years in business

A rare limited edition Moto-Guzzi motorcycle has landed between the artist stations at Ink Couture NYC. (Photo courtesy of Ink Couture NYC)(Photo courtesy of Ink Couture N

“Moto-Guzzi only made 400 of this particular model for the world, and we own number 337,” Russo notes on his website. “Just as rare and classic as this model is, Ink Couture NYC is unlike your average New York tattoo parlor. We are a rarity among thousands of tattoo parlors.”

Russo, who worked in corporate America for two decades before opening Ink Couture, credits much of his success in the tattoo industry to that business experience.

“I’ve been in the banking industry for over 25 years,” Russo said. “Never in a million years did I think I would own a tattoo parlor. But I think that no matter what industry you’re in, you need to provide impeccable customer service and a great product. I think we succeeded because I have that knowledge and experience.”

Staten Island tattoo studio expands, celebrates 10 years in business

The consultation room at Ink Couture NYC features black and white furniture and a flat screen TV. (Photo courtesy of Ink Couture NYC)(Photo courtesy of Ink Couture N

Russo, who has an extreme passion for tattoos and has amassed more than 30 of his designs over the years, initially started his business with just two artists and has since expanded to 13. A true family business, the tattoo enthusiast works alongside his sons Michael and Andrew and daughter Taylor to create a cohesive environment that is fully focused on exceptional customer experience.

“We have a really great fortress here in Staten Island,” he said. “If you look at our reviews, you’ll find over 1,200 – a documented mix of social media, review sites and internal scoring. The positive comments we receive on a regular basis are based on our cleanliness, our upbeat environment, fantastic customer service and exceptional quality artwork.”

His staff is a mix of talented artists from around the country and his work is not “assembly line”.

“We don’t do an assembly line where the first available artist gets the next client,” Russo said. “We guarantee a personalized service where the artist is matched to the client.”

Russo’s son Andrew, the head tattoo artist at the shop, currently has a one-year waiting list.

“We’re working on it,” Russo laughed, admitting that a year is too long to wait. “We have brought in equally talented artists in an effort to reduce that wait to 90 days. But I think following Andrew is a testament to how good his work really is.”

A recent social media post showing a client getting her ears pierced to celebrate her 90th birthday made Russo proud.

“She came here because we have a clean, friendly environment and we cater to all different types of customers,” Russo said. “Our customers are around 51% male, 49% female and tattoos and piercings – which were previously considered taboo and illegal – have become extremely popular. I believe the statistics show that 51% of Americans have at least one tattoo. Our goal is to make Ink Couture NYC the destination for these services in the tri-state area.”

The Ink Couture process begins with a consultation, during which customers list their wishes, share their ideas and show photos/images of the design they want. The artist then sketches a prototype and schedules a follow-up meeting to review the design.

“We operate during banking hours – 10am to 7pm – we don’t serve late night drinking hours,” Russo laughed. “And there’s no flash tattoos here, you can’t just point at something on the wall and say, ‘Give me this.’ Everything is original.”

According to Russo, this is why his store has such a large following.

“We are definitely unique,” he concluded. “Tattoos and piercings are important decisions. It’s our job to make sure the design and experience is absolutely perfect.”

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