Tattoo shop opening

Heather Latter

Toni Cupp fell in love with tattooing 10 years ago and tomorrow she will open her tattoo shop, “Tonic Tattoos,” at 271 Scott Street.
“I am so excited to finally be able to open a shop in my hometown,” she enthused, noting it was 10 years ago that her boyfriend at the time handed her a homemade tattoo gun and asked her to finish colouring part of a tribal piece on his back.
“I did, and immediately fell in love,” she recalled. “I like watching the way it comes together. You don’t know what it’s going to look like until it’s all done.”
Since then, Cupp has been honing her skills, learning from anyone who was willing to give her some advice.
Then in October, she took a course on Tattoo Fundamentals and Cross Contamination to learn the tricks you can only pick up by watching a professional artist.
“It was good to learn the professional tricks as opposed to the kitchen table tricks I knew already,” she voiced.
She has been working on setting up her business since November.
“I’ve had a lot of positive feedback so far,” she enthused. “No one has said anything bad about it or tried to discourage me.”
Cupp noted she is able to do all different kinds of tattoos, everything from tribal to cartoons, in a variety of placements.
“I’ve done cover ups and am teaching myself to do portraits,” she voiced, citing she’s pretty much done every other style of tattoo already.
“I’ve got a lot of experience in a lot of different areas of tattooing,” she said.
“And I think I’m pretty good at it,” Cupp added, joking that it’s surprising due to her lack of artistic ability.
“I can trace really well and I colour in the lines,” she chuckled.
Cupp purchased all new equipment for her new business, including a “Tat Soul” chair that she is really excited about due to it’s ability to move into many different positions.
“It’s awesome—a piece of art all by itself,” she enthused.
And she is very focused on the cleanliness of the shop.
“Everything that touches the person will be thrown out,” she explained, pointing out she purchased disposable needles that are all individually wrapped.
“Everything else will be disinfected,” she added.
Cupp said she has 103 different colours of ink for people to choose from and plenty of “flash” (tattoo designs) for customers to garner inspiration from.
She also has constructed a screen for people who want privacy while getting their tattoo.
“Tonic Tattoos” will be open Tuesday through Friday from noon until 6 p.m., but she will also be taking appointments after-hours as well.
She will be charging approximately $75 an hour (minimum $50 an hour), but will do consultations for free.
“I want to know that what you want is really what you want,” she expressed, adding she is also willing to do custom work, which would cost more.
“But it’s worth it for a unique, one-of-a-kind tattoo,” she said. “You pay a little more for something no one else has.”
Cupp noted she will only be offering tattoos at this time, but noted she’s looking for a piercer to do body piercing.
“I’ve had a lot of people ask me about body piercing, so I’m going to keep my eyes open for one,” she said. “Tattooing and body piercing do kind of go hand-in-hand.”
Cupp indicated she feels a tattoo shop is certainly something that’s been missing in Fort Frances.
“There are people here who do tattooing in their kitchens or basement, but what’s lacking in town is a shop,” she voiced. “Since tattooing is becoming more professional and mainstream in society, I wanted to offer a more salon-type service.”
She noted some people would not want to get their tattoos done in someone’s basement.
“I’m hoping people will stay in town now to get their tattoos because now they don’t have to go out of town,” she remarked. “They now have an option here.”
Cupp indicated she’s ready to give her new venture a go.
“I can’t wait to make a living doing what I love and say goodbye to the kitchen table tattoos,” she expressed
“Tonic Tattoos” has a page on Facebook and a website at
Cupp will be holding an official grand opening for her business in a few weeks.