In the process of opening a business, once the location is decided on and the financial and legal aspects have been sorted out, probably the next most important thing is coming up with a name that accurately represents the dream. For Tim Sena, owner of Avail Tattoo Studio, it took a 24-hour drive with his wife from Nashville to Flagstaff to come up with the perfect moniker.
“The bottom line is, we wanted a name that represented what we wanted to build as a culture,” Sena explained.
The word avail means to help or benefit, and that’s the goal Sena set out to accomplish when he moved here five years ago. How to stand out amongst the competition though?
“From day one, when I first opened this shop it was just me, and so the hard part about being in a small town is that everybody’s already going to this shop, they’re already going to that shop, they already have their guy that they go to,” he said. “So when I moved here I had to gain the trust of the community.”
The shop will celebrate its fifth anniversary this coming July and has already accomplished a lot since it first opened, leading it to being named best tattoo parlor by voters in this year’s Best of Flag rankings.
The Avail team is made up of Sena, Bryce Duval and Cisco Saucedo, each of whom bring their unique talents to make sure customers are happy with the tattoos they get. All three artists have well-rounded portfolios covering a wide range of tattooing techniques from traditional and Japanese style of drawings with bright colors to realistic black and grey pieces. They offer pre-drawn flash images or can draw up custom designs to fit the person no matter what the customer is looking to get.
Everything about the shop is catered to customers and creating a comfortable environment. Within the first minute of someone walking in, Sena and his team aims to greet them with a smile and make sure that they feel like they belong there and aren’t belittled.
“The artists here are just naturally friendly, and so when people come in they automatically feel comfortable because we genuinely want to know about them, not just because they’re getting tattooed by us,” Sena said. “We love meeting people and having conversations with people.”
“Tattooing already carries this weird reputation of making people feel undervalued,” he continued. “There has to be a balance of trust, of comfort. … We try to create a culture of everybody being valued.”
When adding artists to the shop, he said he chooses them for their personalities just as much as their skill level. Duval began first as Sena’s apprentice, learning the ins and outs of the business before getting his own chair to work in. Saucedo on the other hand had already been making a name for himself in the tattoo community before Sena asked him if he’d be interested in joining Avail. Together, they’ve created an environment that fosters respect and creativity.
“These people that get tattooed by us on a regular basis, they come here not just because they’re getting a tattoo, they come here because they feel like they’re a part of our community,” Sena said. “Which they are.”